Hello there! My name is Lew Newmark, and I've been reading comic books from DC and Marvel comics for most of my 64 years of living.
Hello and welcome to my article about a story that I think defines the relationship between the Dark Knight and his most dangerous adversary/Rogues Gallery villain The Joker.
The story, of course, is "Batman: The Killing Joke."
DC Comics finally gave this story the treatment it deserves in a 30th Anniversary Absolute Edition!
The DC Absolute Treatment
So right now, if you're just the run of the mill comic book fan, your probably saying to yourself "Lew why should I care about an absolute comic book?"
Well, let me explain why...you see the absolute comic book is more than your average, run of the mill item that you just go and grab off the rack at a candy store or a favorite specialty comic book shop.
No, this is an altogether different animal dear hub reader. Let me expand on this...DC's Absolute Editions aren't published as just another hardcover or softcover story compilation.
In the case of The Killing Joke what you get is...
- A Slip Cased Edition of the darkest Batman story ever Batman: The Killing Joke.
- Two Different Colored Versions of the story...the Original Colored Edition, plus artist of the story Brian Bolland's Recolored Story.
- Scripts for the story that have never been published...Until Now.
- Bolland also provides different drawings of Batman and the Joker for this absolute edition.
This absolute edition collects all of the following to give the serious collector everything he could ask for in a hardbound edition of the original story written by Alan Moore, and the incredible pencils of Brian Bolland including an extra story by Bolland...
- Batman: Black and White #4.
- Batman: The Killing Joke.
- Countdown #31.
- Cover Story: The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland.
- Joker: Last Laugh #1, #6.
- Joker's Greatest Stories Ever Told.
- Who's Who in the DC Universe #13 and Wonder Woman #96.
Just One bad day: One of the Many Origins of The Joker
His is a familiar story...maybe we see it in a person you work with on the job...maybe one of your friends...or just maybe, it's a reflection looking back at you in the mirror. Life isn't always fair, is it?
A dead-end job, making just the bare minimum to live on, certainly not to support two people...let alone a baby on the way soon...what do you do?
Well, if you're an out of work comedian you either try to find more paying gigs...or depending on just how desperate you are, and just how bad your present circumstances are...you try other ways to get your hands on some fast cash.
Finding Gainful Employment
I just had a fight with my pregnant girlfriend...I gotta find a way to make more money! So you leave the apartment the two of you live in, determined to find another job, a job that's going to set the two of you and your baby up for life.
So you go to a local hangout that you know of, a place where folks with questionable ethics hang out. You enter this place, and in a dark corner are two guys waiting for you, to discuss a big job they want your help with...to pull off.
Enter the Red Hood
Before I go any further with this part of my review I want to clarify this one important fact about this Joker story...his identity has never to this day been revealed to us...other than in the Batman movie from 1989 where Warner Bros. takes a smidgen of liberties with the whole Bruce Wayne/Batman story by giving a name to the killer who shot and killed Bruce's parents...instead of Joe Chill.
And that man's name is Jack Napier, and this short sentence from Bruce Wayne/Batman to Jack Napier/The Joker would forever tie their paths together..."Yeah, I made you, but you made me first! "
In the comics, as well as the 89 film, Batman is responsible albeit quite by accident of causing the "Nameless" any man who reluctantly wore the "Red Helmet" and posed as the leader of the Red Hood Gang to fall into that vat of chemicals and several minutes later eventually become The Joker.
From Comedian to the Clown Prince of Crime
When you just happen to fall into a vat full of chemicals, with a Red Helmet on, and sometime later find that your skin has turned clown white and that you have a "Rictus Grin" that's never going away, well what's a guy to do but just lose it totally!
And then you start to laugh and then laugh a little more, and then you laugh outrageously as you lose your sanity!
And this is the moment that the Joker is born!
A Compelling Story that Deserved an Absolute Treatment
So dear reader of comic books, if you've never read Batman: The Killing Joke, I urge you to treat yourself to this comic book as an Absolute Edition and here are a few reasons why...
- A story deserving of an Absolute Hardcover Bound Edition.
- The quality of the paper itself that this is printed on.
- A story coming from the mind of one of the most respected writers in comic books Alan Moore.
- Brian Bolland is one of the most respected comic artists in the industry. His artwork in comics not only includes this formidable story, but also for Judge Dredd, and Camelot 3000, as well as covers for series including Robin, Vertigo's Jack of Fables, and Wonder Woman.
- A compelling tale that also gives the reader, us, a look into the twisted relationship between Batman and his most twisted and insane comic villain foil.
I really wish I could say more about the story, but if I do, then you won't go and buy it and see for yourself the brilliance of this story now will you?
But I will leave you with one of the most shocking images I'd ever seen in a comic book that still resonates with me today when I see it!