Has any one person meant as much to the DC Universe over the past 25 years than Bruce Timm? When the animator and TV producer co-created Batman: The Animated Series with Eric Radomski back in 1992, he and his team at Warner Bros. offered a fresh take on an iconic character, finding a balance between the breezy fun of the ’60s Batman and the darker Dark Knight of the ’70s and ’80s. Timm then went on to co-create one of the more entertaining versions of Superman in another animated series, debuting in 1996; and in 2001 he carried the lessons from those two shows into Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, which together comprise some of the best superhero television ever made.
The Killing Joke
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s classic and controversial Batman: The Killing Joke is making waves once again after the the animated adaptation debuted at San Diego Comic Con and reportedly doubled down on the damseling and objectification of Batgirl. Without spoiling the changes (you can read about them here), Barbara Gordon’s reliance on men’s approval is a big theme of the film, and only serves to give Batman more angst when the events of the comic play out.
Fans of The Killing Joke will often defend it by pointing out that without the story, Barbara Gordon would not have become Oracle, the Batman family’s computer whiz and one of the most prominent disabled superheroes in comic books. However, crediting The Killing Joke for the creation of Oracle is wholly inaccurate and does a disservice to the true creators of the reinvention, John Ostrander and Kim Yale.
Thanks to leaks coming out of San Diego Comic Con, we now know more than we wanted to know about the upcoming The Killing Joke animated movie. The movie was much discussed when it was first announced due to its planned R rating. Everyone assumed this rating was to allow for the level of violence found in the original comic, and specifically the Joker's sexual assault of Barbara Gordon. But now we've learned that the movie has made considerable changes from the comic that may also contribute to that rating. Spoilers follow.
Batman: The Killing Joke is notable for being an adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel and for adapting that work without losing any of the brutality of the source; it was the first Batman movie to be rated R by the MPAA. Sadly, that’s about all it looks notable for based on this new trailer, which looks pretty awful.
After teasing that they were planning the movie with an R rating in mind, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has confirmed that the upcoming animated film Batman: The Killing Joke has officially been rated R by the MPAA.
The Killing Joke is one of the most divisive Batman stories of all time. Alan Moore’s graphic novel remains a thorny topic for some fans, who feel as though Barbara Gordon’s treatment is despicable, while others have lauded Moore’s work as an iconic installment in the ongoing saga of Batman and The Joker. Further raising a few eyebrows is DC Comics’ animated adaptation of the story, which now has an official teaser along with a 12-minute sneak peek to show you how they brought this particular tale from page to screen.
From humble beginnings in the UK small press scene, to his work on one of the most iconic Batman and Joker stories of all time, and his instantly recognizable covers on a range of titles, legendary artist Brian Bolland has blazed a trail through the last forty years of comics history.
While rumoured for several months, it has been officially confirmed via CBR that Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill will both return to their iconic roles as Batman and The Joker in DC’s latest animated feature, an adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke.
Hamill also unveiled the first look at the film’s animation style on Twitter, which seems to eschew an adaptation of Brian Bolland’s art in favour of the more generic style that has become popular with DC’s animated division. Tara Strong reprises her role as Barbara Gordon from Batman: The Animated Series, and Ray Wise will voice Commissioner James Gordon.
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’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.
Perhaps in an attempt to alleviate any worries about Mark Hamill not reprising his role as The Joker in the new Batman: Arkham Origins, the hosts of Saturday's New York Comic-Con panel on the game asked the new actor in the role, Troy Baker, to demonstrate his grasp on the character.
They didn't ask him to read any old lines, either. Baker read The Joker's ominous monologue to Commisioner Gordon about madness from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke, and he more than held his own. He got a full-on standing ovation. Check out the video of his reading after the jump.