Recolored ‘Killing Joke’ Compared to Original

Rick Marshall

Rick Marshall was Online Managing Editor for ComicMix before joining MTV's SplashPage. Previously, he was Online Content Manager for Wizard Entertainment. He has written for several daily newspapers, alternative weekly newspapers, trade magazines and online media, and was named "Writer of the Year" by the New York Press Association in 2005.

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15 Responses

  1. Glenn Hauman says:

    Very interesting. I think it's also a good way to highlight coloring techniques available at the time. In the mid 80's, drum scanning was cheap enough that you could take a picture of a page of black and white line art, print it in blue ink on a flexible paper like you'd use for watercolor, color that page, scan it, and then have the line art overprinted in black. This tended to produce very saturated colors, and it was difficult to go back and add highlights, desaturate colors, and so on.

  2. M. Sean McManus says:

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I like the love the new colors, so much more than the old, but… I don't know. I'm not sure if it's a moral dilemma, or if I'm just being a square. Is there a reason to go back and change it? I don't know.

  3. Rick Taylor says:

    It's like when Lucas went back to his old films and added current technology footage.When is done DONE?

  4. djoser fortunado says:

    I like it- it looks like a grayer mood, more fitting to the story.From an artistic perspective, it looks alot less 'comic-booky', which in my eyes, is a very good thingfor an Alan Moore story.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought that the black and white was to signify the Joker having, say, flash-backs. Not to add a "grayer mood". Although, of course, I could be wrong. :P

  5. Russ Rogers says:

    I'm still angry about how Batgirl got shot and paralyzed in "The Killing Joke." I found her portrayal to be TOTALLY out of character. First, she allows herself to get shot. Not very smart, canny, vigilant or heroic. And then no attempt at escape is shown to be made by her while the Joker seemingly rapes and tortures her. No, Barbara Gordon's only dramatic role in the story is as a foil to see how the male characters will react. Her crippling was crass gimmick by Moore and the DC editorial staff to make "The Killing Joke" more meaningful to the readers. This affected continuity! Barbara Gordon is completely objectified by the Joker and by Moore and DC.And the climax of the story has Batman and the Joker seemingly share a fraternal moment over a joke. This is supposed to bring insight into the characters of Batman and the Joker. I found it all contrived, like the coda on some kind of amoral morality play.The Killing Joke is, "clumsy, misjudged and [devoid of] real human importance." Those aren't my words, those are Alan Moore's! I was surprised to find that quote from the book, "The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore," on Wikipedia., Oracle has become a better character than Batgirl. But Alan Moore wasn't responsible for Oracle, ComicMix writer John Ostrander created Oracle for Suicide Squad.

  6. Russ Rogers says:

    Does the original colorist still get paid residuals on sales of the recolored Killing Joke?

  7. Mark Behar says:

    I thought colorists don't usually earn residuals, just a page rate…

    • Sergio Lopez says:

      I doubt colorists usualy get royalties and such for reprintings. In any case, Brian Bolland recolored this himself so I'm pretty sure the original colorist wouldn't get paid residuals either way.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      Nods. Does the original colorist at least still get a credit in the book? Like, "Original Colors by John Higgins. Recolored for this edition by Brian Boland."

  8. Alan Coil says:

    Easy, Russ. It's only a story.To rebut: Nobody 'allows' themselves to get shot. And after one is paralyzed, it's pretty hard to effect an escape. And I,too, found the ending "joke" comradeship to be completely out of character for Batman.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      Gotham is supposed to be one of the most dangerous, urban cities in the world. In THE KILLING JOKE, Barbara Gordon has no peephole or chain on her door. She blindly opens the door without any second thought and (yes) 'allows' herself to get shot. She doesn't act like the hero DC had spent the previous 20+ years creating. The whole business was SO out of character; it just smacks of poor writing and even worse editing. Barbara Gordon didn't do anything in the story except open a door. Even a paralyzed person can do something, even if it's just finding a way to call for help.I'm not the only one who finds this troubling. Check out John Ostrander's comments here:…Batman was paralyzed. It took him, what, a year to escape that effect. Superman was killed, it took him about a year to escape that effect. Supergirl was killed, it took her nearly 18 years to make her full return. I don't count Matrix as Supergirl, unless you are willing to say Steel was Superman. Obviously DC has different priorities when they are dealing with their flagship characters than when they deal with their female spin-offs.

      • Alan Coil says:

        Russ, I know you didn't mean it that way, but it reads as if you are saying it is the victim's fault when something bad happens to them.And it's still just a story. Sometimes people do stupid things in stories to advance the plot. It's called bad writing. Look at how many stupid things happen in movies today just so that the story can advance. That is pretty much why I seldom go to the movies any more. And I haven't re-read The Killing Joke since it came out: I just didn't like it very much.

        • Russ Rogers says:

          Alan, you're right. It's just a story. I shouldn't be this emotionally invested, especially twenty years after the fact. One of the reasons I'm so disappointed by THE KILLING JOKE's poor writing is that it came from the pen of Alan Moore, one of comics greatest. This story came on the heels of THE WATCHMEN, one of the most carefully crafted, well written comics, a true classic. THE KILLING JOKE, especially in comparison with WATCHMEN, was such a let down.

  9. Eric says:

    I think the "one bad day theme" is as relevant to real life as any of the socio-political themes of Watchmen, V for Vendetta or Real War Stories Vol. 1. The story worked for me. But I wish that it would be acknowledged that the idea to maim Barbara came from Alan Moore, regardless of whether DC put TKJ in continuity or not. Alan Moore may be the best, but he is not without blame.