Written by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland, Batman: The Killing Joke was originally published by DC Comics in 1988 and went on to become one of the most influential and timeless stories for not only Batman in general but also made a long lasting statement that is still being felt in comic books today.
The story gave an alternate background to The Joker as he leaves his job as an engineer only to struggle as a failed comedian. He stumbles around as the Red Hood, attempts to support his pregnant wife Jeannie, and eventually becomes the maniacal, pale-skinned and green-haired Joker after being exposed to chemicals at the plant he used to work at. Joker then kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and tries to drive him insane by stripping him and putting him on display at a freak show in a dilapidated amusement park. The Killing Joke also features the monumental moment when Joker shoots Barbara Gordon and paralyzes her.
Mark Hamill recently revealed the first image from the animated version of “Batman: The Killing Joke.” This will be a full-length animated feature that DC is considering giving the R-rated treatment. Hamill will return as The Joker and fan favorite Kevin Conroy is back as Batman. Also joining the cast is Tara Strong as Batgirl and Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon. Hamill had this to say about joining the project:
“The chance to work once again with Kevin Conroy, my favorite Batman, in what some consider the definitive origin of this iconic villain is a dream come true for me. I am beyond thrilled to return as The Joker in ‘The Killing Joke!’”
Kevin Conroy had this to add:
“I’ve had the great privilege of voicing Batman for more than two decades, and some of my favorite moments in the recording booth have been alongside Mark Hamill. Mark always enables me to be a better actor. I’m thrilled that we’re both back to bring these characters to life in one of the most heralded Batman/Joker stories of all time.”
While the cast is outstanding, it’s going to be interesting to see how director Sam Liu chooses to take a 48-page one-shot graphic novel and expand it into a full-length film that is 60-75 minutes long. Liu is the protégé of animation artist Bruce Timm who is largely responsible for the greatness that is “Batman: The Animated Series.” It was revealed by concept artist Phil Bourassa that an animated adaptation of “Batman: The Killing Joke” was in development by Timm and Warner Bros back in 2009 but was shelved after the underwhelming box office of the R-rated live-action version of “Watchmen” had at the theater. Now that “Deadpool” reignited the interest in R-rated comic book films, “Batman: The Killing Joke” has the opportunity to live again.
Sam Liu’s “Batman: The Killing Joke” is set to debut at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and should be on store shelves by summer of 2016.
Sources: comicbook.com, screenrant.com, batman-news.com