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* BrokenBase: Arguably one of the most contested Batman stories ever written. There's many a debate over the merits of Barbara Gordon getting fridged and whether or not it actually lives up to the hype. For good or bad, it's become of the most iconic and influential stories on the Batman Mythos, [[CreatorBacklash something that Alan Moore has actually come to regret.]]
* CompleteMonster: Joker, as usual.
* EpilepticTrees: During a 2013 podcast with Creator/KevinSmith, Creator/GrantMorrison argued that the end of ''The Killing Joke'' in fact has Batman killing Joker, carefully interpreting the panels as evidence. He admitted that it was done in a way that was left to viewers. A very dark interpretation of the story but not unexpected from Moore. Artist Brian Bolland disagrees though, the comic's inclusion in the mainline DC canon clearly indicates it didn't happen, and the script for the comic says Batman and Joker just collapse helplessly in laughter. Though considering Moore's own ideas expressed in ''ComicBook/WhateverHappenedToTheManOfTomorrow'', the fact that it's canon or not would have little impact on his own vision for the story, which as of now is not known.\\\
Others [[http://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/2013/08/some-interpretations-are-fascinatingly-wrong-others-just-plain.html have argued]] that Batman killing Joker goes [[ComicallyMissingThePoint against the point of the story]] and Moore's stated regrets about the story. Moore wrote the story hoping to provide a psychologically compelling and grounded perspective on Joker's origins and his conflict with the Batman but [[DidntThinkThisThrough realized later]] that [[IndecisiveDeconstruction the fact that Batman and Joker are comic-book characters]] in the sense of being long-running serial characters, there can never really be a resolution to their conflict. The Joker will never be able to be cured because doing so would go against the function of his character and Batman won't kill because he wouldn't be a hero. The story and the title is a meta-commentary on the endless Batman-Joker rivalry and about the fact that there's no end to it, which both Batman and Joker realize at the end and laugh about. Alan Moore confirmed the satirical interpretation himself in [[https://www.goodreads.com/author/3961.Alan_Moore/questions a recent online question-and-answer, and states that he didn't intend Batman killing Joker]] at all:
--> ''...my intention at the end of that book was to have the two characters simply experiencing a brief moment of lucidity in their ongoing very weird and probably fatal relationship with each other, reaching a moment where they both perceive the hell that they are in, and can only laugh at their preposterous situation.''
* HypeAversion: As it usually ranks highly on 'Best Batman Story' lists, this is bound to happen with some. Though interestingly it seems even Alan Moore himself has a touch of this too.
* JerkassWoobie: Believe it or not, the Joker in the final scene. Physically and psychologically defeated, he kneels on the ground, listening to Batman's [[LastSecondChance offer of rehabilitation]] and, in one {{Beat}} panel, appearing to seriously consider it, before saying sadly that it's "too late for that. Far too late," suggesting that there's a grain of sanity and humanity in there somewhere, albeit [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption not enough to make a difference]]. Thus, the work shows the Joker at his single most sympathetic and ''humane'' moment.
* MagnumOpusDissonance: Moore is reputed to consider this the ''weakest'' of his DC works, as he believes that the aesthetics of ''Watchmen'' were a poor fit for a "mere" Batman story. He later explained that ultimately Joker and Batman were intended to function as comic-book larger-than-life figures and are entertaining as such, but attempts to introduce realism would end up making the story nasty but without being as fun as a superhero comic. This later informed his attempts at {{Reconstruction}} of superhero comics in ''ComicBook/{{Supreme}}'' and AmericasBestComics label.
* MisaimedFandom:
** There are those fans who, even if they think he is still a sociopath, believe the Joker when he says that one bad day is all it took to drive him over the edge (and by extension, that one bad day could drive ''anybody'' over the edge). Not only is this arguably disproved by the end of the story, since he fails to break Gordon, [[note]]though possibly because Gordon's day was several measures less bad than the Joker's [[MultipleChoicePast might have been]] - we don't know how he would have reacted had Barbara been killed outright[[/note]] it's suggested by Batman that his failure and behaviour mean that the Joker was not even right about himself, and by extension needed help ''long'' before his TraumaCongaLine. That's not even getting into his MultipleChoicePast claims.
-->'''Batman:''' So maybe ordinary people don't always crack. Maybe there isn't any need to crawl under a rock with all the other slimey things when trouble hits. Maybe it was just you, all the time!
** The larger point that Moore regrets is that his origin was intended to deepen and complicate the rivalry between Batman and the Joker, and humanize the Joker by giving him a sympathetic backstory. Instead all people take from the comic is the Joker can be even more violent and sociopathic while using MultipleChoicePast as an excuse for readers to accept and tolerate him as an entertaining villain, and this paved the way for later events of Joker committing acts of greater gratuitous violence with the usual StrawNihilist spiel.
* MoralEventHorizon: What the Joker does to Barbara. Of all the crimes the Joker has committed - even the murder of Jason Todd - this is the one that haunts ''the whole DC Universe''.
* NeverLiveItDown: [[TheWoobie Poor Barbara]]. Most writers who use her just can't seem to look past [[DesignatedVictim that one hellish moment]] of her life. [[http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/3/17/1426598380568/Batgirl-41-joker-variant--012.jpg This image]] proved to be the last straw for many fans.
** There's been talk of [[http://comicbook.com/2016/03/08/has-the-killing-joke-been-removed-from-dc-comics-continuity-/ retconning the whole story out of existence]], which upset even more fans. Some thought it was just pandering to the same people who hated the ''Batgirl'' cover, others felt it was one more slap in the face to anyone who liked Barbara as Oracle, while others still just wish the writers would do something original with the character.
* NightmareFuel: Yes.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny:
** Was pretty extreme when it first came out, even after ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'' and ''Comicbook/TheDarkKnightReturns'' intensified the comic book medium. Nowadays, the whole attack-a-woman-to-spite-a-man plotline has been done to death, with stories like ''Comicbook/IdentityCrisis'' and ''Videogame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs'' milking it dry.
** ''The Killing Joke'' was the first time Joker attacked someone close to Batman's personal life. Several months after the release of this comic, there was the famous ''A Death in the Family'' story that killed Jason Todd, and much later, ''No Man's Land'' where Sarah Essen Gordon was killed by the Joker. This trickled into adaptations, where in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/{{Batman}}'' [[spoiler:Joker is made into the thug who killed Bruce's parents]], and killing Bruce's LoveInterest in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' and ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'', while his torture of Batman's ally into insanity became an element of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker''.
** Creator/BruceTimm has even said that despite the book still getting a mature readers tag in reprints and the 20th anniversary special edition, times have changed and [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheKillingJoke the animated adaptation]] could've possibly gotten a PG-13 rating before it was rated R.
* TearJerker: This is one of the very few Batman stories that can make one feel sorry for ''SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker'', even after the horrible and nightmarishly evil things he's done this time.
** Especially the scene towards the end, when Batman chases him. The Joker's face as he asks "Why aren't you laughing?" just breaks one's heart.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodLineArt: Brian Bolland's opinion on the original version. He subdued the color palette considerably and added a few extra color details for the 20th-anniversary edition. Which in itself divided the fandom, with some arguing that the garish, acid-trip colours of the 80's original contributed to the nightmarish feel of the book. Tellingly, DC continues to publish reprints of the book with its original colouring.
* UnfortunateImplications: Website/TheAgonyBooth [[http://www.agonybooth.com/agonizer/How_The_Killing_Joke_Ruined_Batgirl.aspx was very critical]] of its StuffedIntoTheFridge treatment of Batgirl, who serves only as a helpless victim to the story.
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