So I Bought the Killing Joke Novel (and it’s awful)

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by KingArthur, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    As it said in the title, I purchased The Killing Joke prose adaptation off of Amazon.
    upload_2020-9-4_22-26-28.jpeg
    Now, some backstory is needed; I heard it was bad. In fact, I heard it was TERRIBLE. But that’s the thing; I wanted to see for myself, and offer an honest review of its 300+ pages here.

    And what was the result? Did it plunge to the depths people said it would?

    Yes. Most assuredly.

    THE GOOD:
    About 130 pages cover the actual story of TKJ, and thanks to the co-authors’ past as noir writers? It shines. The psychological motivations behind the characters, in both the filler (oh, we’ll get to THAT) and the main REASON YOU CAME HERE, are believable and understandable. The explorations of the psyches of the Joker and Gordon shine in particular, but even the straight up AWFUL characters (i.e. Batbitch and Maxie Zeus) are interesting at times, and believable people.

    THE BAD:
    Listen. There’s something I have to establish.

    Batgirl is terrible. The entire Bat-Family is, but her especially. If you like Robin, or Nightwing, or any of Batman’s conspicuously-colored sidekicks, first of all kill yourself and secondly you MAY enjoy the filler sections of the book (I promise, we’re getting there).

    Now, why is she so bad, outside of this book? Well, for the reason they all are. Let’s face another tough fact: Batman is the penultimate edgy teenage male power fantasy. It’s meant to be grimdark. So when you add wisecracking, “fUn AnD wHaCkY cHArAcTeRs” to that mix that are basically carbon copies of one another (that in turn are literally like Spider-Man, but utterly unlikable), you essentially ruin the tone of the story, or at least have to change it.

    And this is where both the Killing Joke movie and prose novel falter. The original Killing Joke is a grimdark psychological eval essentially of the man called the Joker, and his philosophy that a single bad day could drive anyone as mad as him. It’s dark, it’s compelling, and in some places it’s literally SOUL CRUSHINGLY SAD. All that emotion? It was done with a minimum of WhAcKy SiDeKiCks. They’re UNNECESSARY. By adding Barbara’s alter-ego to both the film and the book in an attempt to make her crippling more impactful, you create the opposite effect and make her crippling a fucking cathartic relief (have I mentioned I despise Batman’s annoying sidekicks?)

    See, the prose novel and the film are under the impression that Barb has to be the protagonist.

    She fucking doesn’t.

    The thing that makes TKJ comic an oddity, and a fascinating one, is that you can spin the Joker into the hero. In an odd way, depending on how you interpret the 48 page masterpiece (and its ending panels), the Joker is either right about everything, or a miserable failure who simply was weak enough to crack under pressure. THAT’S A GOOD STORY. Barbara isn’t the focus or her crippling even the focal point; the Joker’s tragic backstory is. The man who now is known as the Harlequin of Hate is what holds that comic together, and his philosophy is the delicious cream filling.

    By taking the story away from him and giving it to Barbara, you change the very dynamic of the story, even more so than the whacky and “”””””funny””””””” sidekicks usually do.

    You completely change the point.

    While still a look into the Joker’s brain, it’s not the same, because now we have to “”””””””mourn”””””””” the clipped wings of the female bat. It’s cold and calculating, but Barbara was simply a means to an end in the original Killing Joke, for both the Joker and the story itself. Why change that?

    THE UGLY:
    200. Fucking. FILLER PAGES. Mostly related to Batbitch. I’ve already gone over why that sucks, but what may surprise you is that some of it... is good? The parts focusing on Gordon actually harken back to the co-authors’ noir roots, and are honestly a lot of fun; it’s like reading a good episode of Gotham in parts. This is, unfortunately, offset by the Batman-Batgirl filler, which is a literal, painful slog filled with unnecessary references to the Justice League and general DC fan service, all intercut with Barb’s obnoxious “”””””””banter””””””” with Bruce and shitty little quips that make me want to jam rusty tent stakes into my urethra. Oh, and it clarified certain aspects that the comic left ambiguous, turning the whole thing into a fucking farce when you really think about it.

    THE VERDICT:
    I’m not going to lie, this book shines at parts. At times, I GENUINELY LOVED reading it, and considering I got it in the mail today, my speed-reading should be a testament to the fact that the good parts motivated me to slog through it.

    The problem is just that. It’s mostly a slog. On repeated readings, it’d be best to just skip through most of it. Joker in his cell, skip 30 pages to Alfred struggling with almost killing a thug, skip a bit more to Gordon, etc. As much as the authors are talented, the filler unfortunately is mostly utter shit and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The fact that the book also clarified some things left ambiguous in the comic... well, that adds to the layers of fecal cake.

    All in all, it’s a 2/5. Save your money, unless morbidly curious.
     
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  2. Aurelius Of Phoenix

    Aurelius Of Phoenix Unoriginal; Pseud; Talentless; Racist

    550
    Mar 9, 2018
    Well the comic was shit... and the animated adaption of that comic book was shit so I would imagine a novelization of the comic would be shit as well, color me shocked.
     
  3. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    Autism levels: CATASTROPHIC
     
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  4. Aurelius Of Phoenix

    Aurelius Of Phoenix Unoriginal; Pseud; Talentless; Racist

    550
    Mar 9, 2018
    Wow, Joker that was like a super emotional story, so even though you bisected my protege's spine how about we just sit here and have a good laugh. Batman is such a bitch, he's responsible for everything his villains have done after he initially catches them, he's just a sad little boy beating up bad guys to work out his issues. Also Alan Moore is a hack and fuck anything he's written. From Deepone's jerking off on some slut to faggot Mcsad clown over here.

     
  5. Paladin Hank

    Paladin Hank Still Mildly Glowing

    231
    May 6, 2018
    Have you ever heard of Watchmen and V for Vendetta?
     
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  6. Aurelius Of Phoenix

    Aurelius Of Phoenix Unoriginal; Pseud; Talentless; Racist

    550
    Mar 9, 2018
    You mean those mediocre and overrated comics? Yeah.
     
  7. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    upload_2020-9-5_21-37-0.gif
    Next you’re gonna say Preacher and Frank Miller’s Daredevil run are overrated.
     
  8. Aurelius Of Phoenix

    Aurelius Of Phoenix Unoriginal; Pseud; Talentless; Racist

    550
    Mar 9, 2018
    Those are fine.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  9. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    Oh thank God
     
  10. Aurelius Of Phoenix

    Aurelius Of Phoenix Unoriginal; Pseud; Talentless; Racist

    550
    Mar 9, 2018
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is better than anything Alan Moore ever made. Turtles beat snake man any day... especially a drugged out hermit of a snake man.
     
  11. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    So my question now is: do you dislike Alan Moore in particular, or the philosophy behind his pieces? Take Watchmen, for example. What didn’t you like about it? (I’m not attempting to shame you or anything, I’m curious)
     
  12. Aurelius Of Phoenix

    Aurelius Of Phoenix Unoriginal; Pseud; Talentless; Racist

    550
    Mar 9, 2018
    I find most of his work to be trash like necronomicon or just overrated like killing joke or watchmen. Watchmen tries so hard to paint every one of his main characters as these anti-heroes who are so mature and edgy that it comes off as comical. I also find it funny that his attempt at swinging at Steve Ditko and Rand in the form of Rorschach backfired because he's the only thing people remember and like from that story. The killing Joke just felt like a redo of the death of Elektra with some sad clown mixed in (which eventually went on to become the character known as deadpool). I like swamp thing though, that was cool.



    I find his views political or philosophical to be that of a freeze dried 'rebel' from the sixties. Combined with the fact that he can't seem to keep that out of every fucking comic he writes, does in fact sour me on him, yes. It's fine to make a comic to show your views on things or if it fits with the character but he can't do that. Snake man is an example of someone coming off of an lsd trip more duller than he was going in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  13. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    I can understand that. But in regards to Watchmen, I’d be willing to argue that even if Rorschach was a poke at Ayn Rand’s philosophy and its followers, he won in the end.

    I know I’ve discussed this with @Paladin Hank and @TheOtherManInTheRoom, so both of you feel free to give your thoughts, but yeah. At the end of Watchmen, it’s implied that Rorschach’s journal is found. Yellow journalism aside, whether or not people believe it or even care aside, thanks to Rorschach the story (we assume) gets out there, and Ozymandias, savior from WW3 though he might be, is arguably revealed as a fraud.

    Whatever your feelings on all that, I’d also argue that a piece of media that can be debated as such, even if you don’t necessarily like it, is well done, simply on the premise that its subject matter and storyline are interesting enough to warrant true philosophical debate.

    You don’t have to agree with Moore’s beliefs, I don’t always agree with Moore’s beliefs, but I still find his work good, again because thought provoking conversation can be started from it. Actual philosophy, that I sometimes agree and sometimes don’t agree with, goes into most of Moore’s work and I honestly, unironically appreciate that.

    As for TKJ... it’s kind of the death of Elektra Nachios? I dunno, like I said in the initial post, Barbara being crippled isn’t as significant as the impact it has on the other characters, mainly Gordon. It’s a plot device, not a focal point. I felt like Elektra’s death at the hands of Bullseye was one of those things where the death is meant to be the impactful event, rather than the fallout from that death specifically. (It is worth noting that while Elektra’a death also serves as a plot point in many ways, it’s certainly more of a main focus in and of itself than Barbara’s being crippled is, at least in the original Killing Joke comic).
     
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  14. SquidVan

    SquidVan Pirate and Bankrobber

    Jun 1, 2018
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  15. TheOtherManInTheRoom

    TheOtherManInTheRoom Watchman

    152
    Mar 28, 2018
    And that's just cause I was mentioned.

    Not getting into this, however, despite my avatar indicating a disagreement.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  16. Paladin Hank

    Paladin Hank Still Mildly Glowing

    231
    May 6, 2018
    Watchmen and V for vendetta are awful comics and Alan Moore is a hack. Prove me wrong.
     
  17. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    I respect that decision. I just mentioned you because I figured you might want to contribute.
     
  18. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    Thinking about it I always liked Batman when he was dealing with crooks or the occasional loon with access to some kind of experimental doodad. I don't like when he fights zombies, ghosts, goblins, lizardmen or some stupid shit like when Poison Ivy went from a eco-terrorist to a fucking plant wizard, made of plants, who can makes plants grow 100 feet tall in seconds and controls them with the power of plant think.

    that is just silly.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  19. KingArthur

    KingArthur Yeehaw Johnny Reb

    Jun 25, 2018
    Same here. Batman is at its best as a series when it’s grounded, not making JLA references and featuring weird robots and shit. It’s why I prefer earlier seasons of Gotham to the later ones, and why I kinda hate Ra’s Al Ghul. Give me my society clown, cat burglar, and pig-masked serial killer (Professor Pyg is a great villain fuck you). Throw in Two-Face if you wanna get really weird. But for the love of GOD leave the superhero shit and borderline-magical tech out of Batman.
     
  20. SquidVan

    SquidVan Pirate and Bankrobber

    Jun 1, 2018
    Batman wins every fight against any other hero and villain as long as "he gets prep time." The other hero or villain gets no prep time while Batman gets as long as he needs to invent gadgets to take them down and he also has omniscience about their weaknesses and fighting styles. Batman vs God himself? Well, Batman wins with enough prep time dumbass.