Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reader's Diary #1301- Alan Moore (writer), Brian Bolland (artist): Batman The Killing Joke

Two things that need to be said upfront:
1. I'm not a big fan of Batman
2. I think Alan Moore is overrated

On that note, if anyone resents that I'd bother reading The Killing Joke when clearly my mind was already made up, you best be moving along.

I like reading landmark titles in comics, and it's hard to get away from either Moore or Batman. Even now, in the Batman camp I should probably read The Long Halloween and eventually Batman '66. In Moore's camp, I still need to read Swamp Thing.

I don't really get the appeal of Batman. An elusive, brooding rich guy with no superpowers? He's far from charming, doesn't even try to be funny. An all around dud. I suppose I did like his portrayal in The Killing Joke. Though this is often considered the Joker's comic, not Batman's, there's an interesting angle that perhaps Bruce Wayne is as crazy as his enemies. Him and Joker might simply be two sides of the same coin. Okay, that's at least something.

As for the Joker, yeah, he gets a more complex picture than is typical, complete with backstory. And while many questioned if we're meant to believe the backstory, it at least works to make a more compelling character. If anyone's used to him being too cartoonishly evil, Moore sets him up with a level of sympathy but then, sadistically, makes his evil big, and ugly, and real.

Interestingly, Moore doesn't come across as overly proud of this particular book but I actually thought it better than a lot. I have found in the past that he likes to through a lot of self-indulgent and convoluted ideas into his stories, whereas this one was more straightforward.

Bolland's art is great. There's a lot of wordless panels that pace the book superbly and the colouring (newly done for this Deluxe version) was cool.

It's still far from the best thing I've ever read, but considering I was reading it more as a chore than anything else, I enjoyed it more than I expected.

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