Released in 1988, “The Killing Joke” remains one of the most influential stories in Batman history. “Watchmen” writer Alan Moore approached the Joker’s origin story as a way of demonstrating the similarities between the Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight, ultimately helping to popularize the now-ubiquitous notion that the two are opposite sides of the same coin. The graphic novel influenced everyone from future DC comic book writers to directors Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan, and contains the famous genesis of Barbara Gordon becoming Oracle, after being shot by the Joker, who then takes pictures of her victim as she lies helpless on the ground. .
“The Killing Joke” was certainly not a children’s comic, then. Which is why when he was tapped to produce the 2016 animated adaptation, Bruce Timm was apprehensive. He had been given a lot of creative control on “Batman: TAS,” but to stay true to Moore’s story, the film was always going to risk an R rating. Timm, however, was used to making content for adults outside accessible to children. That point was not lost on him when the adaptation of “The Killing Joke” debuted at Comic Con 2016.
Things did not get off to a very auspicious start when, during a question and answer session, writer Brian Azzarello confronted a fan, later confirmed to be writer Jeremy Konrad, who took issue with Azzarello’s inclusion of an original story. who saw Barbara Gordon sleeping with Batman. In Konrad’s eyes, this addition “ended up being about the men in her life” and led Azzarello to call Konrad a “b****”, kicking off the film’s debut in an inelegant fashion. Which was appropriate for Timm, since his entire experience with adapting the story had been a struggle.