Friday, January 6, 2012

Response to The Killing Joke (by Karri Wheat)


  1. I would say that the artwork for The Killing Joke is realistic and “grungy” at the same time. Unlike Batman Year One, this book’s artwork feels more recent – the artwork gives a feel that this could have happened in the present time, whereas the for Batman Year One gives more of a retro vibe. The dark shadowy colors contrast with the reds, greens, and purple of the carnival and the Joker.
  2. If this story was translated to a novel, you would lose the color contrasts and the scenes where the Joker is being reminded of his “past”. The flashbacks are in black and white, except for the occasional objects that are in red and the chemicals in the water that are green. As a movie, I feel this would be a little too comedic, and may not be taken seriously. Many things would also be held back in a film. For example, when Gordon is naked on the carnival “ghost train” ride, the Joker flashes images of Barbara (his daughter), naked and bleeding on the floor. The images of her are as the “HA HA HA” of the Joker’s laugh. As a novel or a film, this image would be lost and you would lose that sense of insanity.
  3. The book allows the reader to see the story through three perspectives: the Joker’s, Batman’s, and Commissioner Gordon’s. When you see things through the Joker’s eyes, you also see his “tragic past” and you also see how it mirrors his actions in the present. When it switches to Batma, we not only see how badly he wants to keep the Joker locked up, but also how he has slight sympathy for him. When looking through Gordon’s perspective, we see how he is horrifically tortured and humiliated in attempts to drive him insane, but we also see that even in one of his most darkest hours, he is strong and able to still do things “by the book”.
  4. I think there are two scenes in this novel that stands out the most. The first is when James Gordon is being held captive and is forced to ride the ‘ghost train’. The first frame we see is him going through a corridor of pictures on huge screens of a woman, naked and bleeding. The third frame shows Gordon screaming out his daughter’s name when he realized what the Joker has done with her. The images of Barbara are scattered in the frame. There is even one positioned in the “gutter”. They look as though someone just kept taking picture after picture, like a Polaroid camera, and jut let them fall to the ground. The hues of the pictures are red, but the actual blood is black. This image of Gordon and the pictures is the center of the page. The last frame, which takes the complete bottom, is the Joker, obviously on a screen just like the photos. He has interrupted the red pictures. Now the most noticeable colors are purple, green, red, and white. The Joker’s chine, bow tie, and the curls of his hair are overlapping off the frame and into the gutter, just like the pictures of Barbara. Also, the teeth of Gordon, Barbara, and the Joker. Even though they are all open mouths, they are to different emotions: fear, pain, and insanity. Yet, they look almost all the same. The second is of Batman and the Joker after the Joker’s defeat. They are both laughing at the Joker’s joke. Of course, the Joker has lot it, laughing hysterically, but even Batman let’s out a laugh and chuckle. The fourth frame of the last page is of them both smiling and chuckling. They both almost look like two madmen, which is an argument that Batman can become just as crazy and chaotic as the Joker. But they also look like two friends laughing together. The fifth frame, Batman has the Joker by the jacket, they are silhouetted, the only visible features are Batman’s eyes and smile, and the Joker’s face. The famous “HA HA HA” all around the Joker, in different spots in the frame. They spill over into the sixth frame. Showing that in a moment of sanity, he has let go of it. The other thing leaking across the other frames is the “VWEEEE” of the police cars approaching with their sirens on. I think these three frames show how the law sees Batman and the Joker. They are pulling up on the two as they laugh. To us, we see them both dark in the light (or, the “eyes”) of the law, except Gordon. They are both nearly the same. But the Joker’s face is in the light. I think the reason for this is because we know why Batman, or Bruce Wayne, does the things he does. But, despite the memories we were shown, we still know nothing of the Joker. He is still more of a mystery to us.

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