Animated movie adaption of “Batman: The Killing Joke” set to be released during summer
By Chris Skarnulis
Arts and Entertainment Editor
The most iconic villain in all of superhero comics, the Joker, has plagued the most famous superhero in all of comics, Batman with his thirst for anarchy and idea of corruption to reign throughout all of Gotham City since the creation of the comic book hero Batman in “Batman #1” released in 1941 by creator Bob Kane. To this day, the super villain has appeared in all forms of media bearing an unknown identity; he only appears in comics as the Joker.
However, for the better part of half a century and even to this day, fans have speculated as to how the Joker became the diabolical mastermind that he is famed for. A number of origin stories have been released based solely on how the Joker came to be the empathetic, psychotic and diabolical clown mastermind, but none of the stories have been confirmed as the actual Joker origin story. That all changed in 1988, with the release of the graphic novel, “The Killing Joke” the most renowned Joker origin story.
The Batman villain origin story that took the world by storm sees the “World’s Greatest Detective,” Batman, and the “Clown Prince of Crime,” the Joker, go head-to-head in the most popular graphic novel of the 1980s, “Batman: The Killing Joke.” Considered by fans and critics as the best Batman comic ever published, it gained notoriety as the most definitive origin story of Batman’s most notorious and diabolical nemesis, The Joker. The novel was recently announced to be in development as a film adaption, titled respectively.
The original novel follows an unnamed chemical engineer who quits his job at his chemical plant to pursue his dream of being a stand-up comedian, only to perform miserably. The man, now in financial ruin, with no income to pay off his mountains of debt and all the while having to support his pregnant wife, Jeannie, becomes in making income through his affiliation with the mob. Two criminals agree to pay the man, just so long as he guides them through his former employer’s chemical plant to rob the building next door. After getting into an altercation with security, the criminals are gunned down in a shootout, just in time for Batman to arrive to investigate the disturbance. The man, fearful of being imprisoned for his involvement, jumps into a vat of chemicals and is presumed dead at the scene. After being washed out of the sewer line, the man emerges with a completely new look; skin bleached white, hair now a shade of light green, and lips stained ruby red. The man begins to laugh maniacally, and evolves into his persona, the Joker. The second half of the novel focuses on Batman’s first encounter with this new nemesis, and the battle that ensues.
Development for a film adaption of the graphic novel has been in talks for the past few years. In 2013, animator and producer Bruce Timm, co-creator of the popular television show, “Batman: The Animated Series,” expressed interest in directing a film adaption of the novel, however stated it was only a possibility. Fans were greeted with delight when Timm made the formal announcement that the film was in development and slated for a 2016 release at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con. Shortly after, several original castmates of “Batman: The Animated Series” made announcements that they would return to reprise their roles for the movie. Actors Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong and Ray Wise confirmed to return to reprise their roles of Batman, Joker, Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and Commissioner James Gordon respectively.
Recent developments confirm that the film will open with a 15 minute prologue, not included in the novel, which revolves around Batgirl’s significance in the evolution of the Joker. It has also been confirmed that the in April, Warner Home Video confirmed that the film will be the first film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series to receive an R rating from the Motion Pictures Association of America. The movie is slated for a July 2016 release, with the world premiere screening being held at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con. The movie will be released straight to DVD shortly after.