The Killing Joke by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips : At Least They Tried

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Can we all agree that Batman:The Killing Joke is one of the most original, amazing and satisfying graphic novel of all times? ❤ Try to imagine having the pressure of novelizing one of the most popular storyline ever in Batman history. Not only you have the pressure of the die-hard comics fans, but the expectation to be nearly as good as the original medium. I have to admit, it’s tough.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that I found this book disappointing.  

I would expect the author to bring something new to the story or even, as a book medium, to  give more insights on the character’s perspective, playing on the psychological side. But I got none of that. What I got is a retelling of the same story in the novel form and a clumsy, amateur writing style. It drags on and on to introduce us to a set of characters that we all know so much about. To be honest, most of people picking up this book is because they’ve heard about the graphic novel and not the opposite. So why writing it as if we are totally noob about The Joker or Batman universe? Is the main point of the DC Comics Novels is to target a new public, a younger audience maybe?  If so, why choose The Killing Joke as the first novel as an introduction? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

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I would simply tell you to go ahead and stay with the graphic novel.

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Did you read the graphic novel yet? Did you read the book?

Thank you to Titan Books for providing me a with a copy for review. 

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9 comments

  • I didn’t even know they turned this into a novel, but the graphic novel was the first Batman story I ever read in the comics. I’ve got a hardcover copy. Not only is it among the best Joker stories of all-time (and considering the Joker is pretty much universally considered Batman’s greatest villain, that’s saying a lot), but it was fairly bold in how dark it got. A lot of good stories came out of the The Killing Joke’s aftermath. I also can’t help but wonder if DC or Marvel would ever let anything this dark or harsh get published today. That’s another reason why it works so well.

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  • Why would they even try?! There is literally nothing to improve on from the original GN. I enjoyed your review! I think I’ll be giving this one a miss and rereading the original instead. 😀

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  • I’ve not read a lot of graphic novels, but even I’ve heard of the brilliance that is The Killing Joke. However, I had no idea that they’d made a novel out of it and the fact that it’s basically re-telling of the original story is baffling. If the novel introduced a different take on the story then I could get behind it, but if it’s basically a carbon copy of the original then why bother.

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