In the second half of the 80’s Frank Miller gave the Batman universe definitely a new feel with The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. But Alan Moore created around the same time the iconic The Killing Joke, on Batman’s most illustrious enemy (The Joker). Not to forget that his Watchmen is a likeminded reflection on the psychology of superheroes.
A strange parallel between The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke is Bruce Wayne’s obsession to fund a rehab program for the deranged. A unique Moore touch however are the gray flashbacks, i.c. on a failed comedian finally derailing. Completely. The sort of information on a past, an identity that the best detective in the world could kill for. The sort of detective that really can’t finish anything by the book. Moore’s layers.
Tim Burton gratefully adopted some ideas on how The Joker chemically came to be in his first Batman movie (1989). But it took nearly 20 years more before Christopher Nolan brought the terrible madness of the character to the big screen, in The Dark Knight (2008).
That madness is intensely illustrated in The Killing Joke. A suicide course. Drizzly rain, from beginning to end. Until The Joker’s last joke turns out to be a real killer. The fool prince of darkness.
My Deluxe edition has the recoloring by graphical craftsman Brian Bolland, and an epilogue that he wrote (a teaser? a dream?) to turn all upside down again.