The Killing Joke is one of the more notable entries in Batman comic book history, offering one of the most sadistic versions of the Joker to date. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s book is one of the more divisive among fans, who either love it or despise it, and in further proving their commitment to the darker side of superhero stories, DC is taking The Killing Joke and adapting it… into an animated feature, of all things.

The news comes straight from DC at Comic-Con 2015:



An animated feature doesn’t exactly sound like the correct platform to adapt The Killing Joke, a story that  features the controversial crippling of Barbara Gordon at the hands of the Joker. The book was a one-shot from Moore and Bolland, who offered an alternate origin story for the Joker as a failed comedian and former chemical engineer who is driven insane by one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day: his wife dies in a household accident, and when his plans to assist a robbery at the chemical plant are thwarted by Batman, he finds himself horribly disfigured in his escape attempt.

Driven mad by the events of that day, he takes on the Joker persona, kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, shoots and paralyzes Barbara, and shows Gordon photos of his naked, wounded daughter — that latter part is what inspired controversy among fans, by the way.

So yeah, it’s not exactly the stuff of animated films, unless that animated film were targeted at a more mature audience. It’s hard to imagine DC adapting the property into a cartoon and still using the more divisive, violent elements — Moore himself has even admitted regret over the handling of Barbara Gordon’s ordeal. The involvement of animation legend Bruce Timm on the project gives us some cause to be optimistic.

Mark Hamill, who has famously voiced the Joker in his animated iterations, has long hoped to participate in an adaptation of The Killing Joke, so now it looks like he’ll have his chance.

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