Its one of the bestselling Batman books of all time, Alan Moore and Brian Bollands Batman: The Killing Joke, an iconic book best known for being the story of Barbara Gordons crippling by the Joker - that is until this week. In the latest episode of Kevin Smiths podcast Fatman on Batman, Grant Morrison talked about his love for Batman: The Killing Joke, being the last Batman and Joker story as, on the final page, Batman kills Joker.
Did you get that? Batman KILLS Joker.
The Killing Joke is one of the few Batman books that non-regular Batman readers read as well as Batman readers and as such has been read, at this point 30 years later, probably millions of times - but how many readers understood the final page?
Batman and Joker are stood in the rain, Joker starts laughing, Batman says heh and smiles, then, in silhouette and still smiling, Batman reaches over to Joker as the viewpoint slides down to the ground and the laughter suddenly stops and goes silent. Batman has killed Joker.
As Morrison explains, this is why the book is called The Killing Joke, because this is Jokers last story and the book where Batman finally snaps. But Moore wrote it in such an ambiguous way that its unclear that Batman broke his only rule and is the reason why so few readers picked up on this. Smith speculates that this would make The Killing Joke an Elseworlds book, a series of DC books that took place outside of continuity, but Barbaras crippling has been a big part of DC continuity up until 2011 when DC launched the New 52. So did the Joker die and another Joker take his place? Or did he die after all? Did Batman just cart him off to Arkham Asylum as so many readers (myself included) assumed?Below is the page in question and the audio from the interview between Grant Morrison and Kevin Smith. Let us know what you think - do you think Batman killed Joker or not?