Grant Morrison was recently on Kevin Smith’s Podcast, Fatman on Batman, and he had some very interesting ideas as to how the ending of the Alan Moore’s amazing Batman story, The Killing Joke, actually went. And rather then just pull the quote, we’ll let you listen to the pair discuss the idea right here.


Quite the interesting theory there. Especially considering the more amicable endings most people usually go with. Either way, your thoughts are wanted in the comments section, so think away.

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  1. M. Walsh
    August 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm — Reply

    I don’t see it that way. For one, going by Morrison’s interpretation, Batman just threw Commissioner Gordon’s plea he bring the Joker in by the book out the window.

    Another, the ending of Batman & the Joker–for a brief moment–recognizing the endless, absurd cycle they’re stuck in and sharing a mutual laugh is, in my opinion, a far more effective and poignant ending than Morrison’s suggestion of, “HA HA HA HA HA — *snap*

    Now, having said all that, I’m not one to deride alternate interpretations, but I find it extremely obnoxious of Morrison to declare he knows the “real” ending and that “no one else gets it.”
    F**k off, prick.

  2. Vishal
    August 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm — Reply

    Completely agree with M Walsh.this is just another example of Morrison trying to be subversive for the sake of it, it’s prevalent in his writing. Sometimes it works mostly it doesn’t.

  3. Ray
    August 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm — Reply

    Nope. Didn’t happen. Batman doesn’t kill, not even the Joker. It’s not what he does. It’s a great interpretation to an ending. But much in the same way Dumbledore was gay in Harry Potter, It didn’t read that way when I read the book. Since the story continues in the canon of Batman, with Babs rolling around as Oracle, and Joker has made appearences Post the publication (And post the Spinal Severing) it simply CANNOT mean his death. Sorry Grant, DC sold you out on that.

    • Brian
      August 18, 2013 at 7:21 am — Reply

      How does “gay” read? You mean there were no feather boas, sequined hot pants or Donna Summer albums in Dumbledore’s room?

  4. Sean
    August 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm — Reply

    I for one like the idea. It really makes you look at the story in a whole new light. Adding a whole new subtext and making it way more complex then it originally was. Is it accurate? Probably not, and I wish Moore would come out with an answer as soon as possible. It works very well for the story, especially if you go with Morrisons view of Moore writing the last Batman story. Killing Joker, finally going crazy, and proving the Joker correct would be a great last story for the Bat.

    I for one am looking forward to the time when that story is finally told. Even if Morrison is wrong, at some point someone will write the story of Batman killing the Joker. Batman is slightly falling back into that very grim way of being again, and it’s only a matter of time before someone says, “@#$^ it, we need to make him a villain for a while. Give Dick the cowl back.” There’s a great story of Batman going nuts and or evil. A DKR format of 4 issues and 50 pages long. It’s one of the possible ending for Batman I want to see told.

  5. J_Michael_T
    August 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm — Reply

    Well it certainly makes me want to read it again (what are my plans tonight?) …

    If true, it also explains why Moore is so groughy. No one gets his stories! :)

  6. comicfan1974
    August 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm — Reply

    I love Morrison, but it is a bit contradictory to say “Batman kills the Joker” is the definite ending and then say that it’s the very ambiguity of the moment that makes it interesting. I would agree that it is precisely the ambiguity of the moment that makes it compelling (and I never thought that was happening, but continuity be damned…it becomes something more in that moment than just another story taking its place in the history of the DC universe…

  7. Sean
    August 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm — Reply

    hope this gets discussed on the next podcast.

  8. DudeX
    August 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm — Reply

    I just call B.S. on it. It’s just Morrison taking advantage of a stoner. Next he’ll say that Robin never existed and Batman’s mind imagined him the entire time.

  9. August 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm — Reply

    I’ve actually always read it as he was at least strangling the Joker. I think Morrison has in point. He mentions it’s ambiguous, and I think “The Killing Joke” works as both a canon piece (which leads to Oracle) and a stand-alone.

  10. Oldcomicfan
    August 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm — Reply

    I don’t particularly care for ambiguous endings. One anime series I liked is “Lucky Star” but the last episode left me scratching my head. The girls are on stage, preparing for their performance at the school ceremony, the curtain lifts to reveal a bright light, and that’s it! I had to think really hard about it before I realized that the director chose to end the series up in the air, and the curtain rising and bright light symbolized a bright future of unlimited possibilities – a good end, yes, but horribly out of place in a comedy piece. As much as Grant Morrison annoys me (the man deserves a swift kick in the pants for bringing Batmite and Ace the Bat Hound, etc. back into continuity and also for never finishing All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder) I do like his interpretation of the ending of the Killing Joke. It really does change up the story. But, until Alan Moore says Batman really did kill the Joker, then you’re free to interpret the ending any way you like. That said, since most of The Killing Joke has entered continuity (at least pre-New 52 continuity) and The Joker is still around, then I’d say that the official DC response is that Bats didn’t off the Joker in the end.

    • N
      August 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm — Reply

      Wasn’t All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder written by Frank Miller? “I’m the g-damn Batman”.

    • August 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm — Reply

      The official DC response seems to be “READ OUR NEW STUFF, PLEEEASE????”

  11. Nr. None
    August 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm — Reply

    It IS an interesting interpretation. That being said, Batman doesn’t seem to be reaching for the Joker’s neck, unless the Joker keeps his neck in his sternum. It looks more to me like he’s grabbing his arm or lapel.

  12. Oldcomicfan
    August 18, 2013 at 9:57 am — Reply

    Oh, you’re right. My bad. I sometimes confuse the two of them because of their radical approach to storytelling. Hey, someday you’ll be pushing 60, too, and I hope your memory holds up better than mine does. I agree with Mr. None, though. In my copy of the Killing Joke, Batman’s hand is resting on the joker’s shoulder, and isn’t anywhere near the throat…

  13. August 21, 2013 at 3:18 am — Reply


  14. Jason
    August 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm — Reply

    I love this book, but my hang up has always been the choice of dialogue Batman uses when he talks with Joker at Arkham. It works very well when it is repeated near the end and the action either mirrors or diverges from it. But it is very awkward sounding and not something I expect to hear Batman say.

    To then add Batman killing Joker might push this book to far for me since, as M. Walsh has already said, Batman doesn’t kill and it goes against Gordon’s wishes. As to the image of Batman’s hands on Joker’s shoulders, the next panel could easily be moving hands to throat–or a headbutt, or swift knee.

    But, yeah. Killing Joker would be an interesting but unsatisfactory ending for me.

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Rob Rasmussen

Rob Rasmussen

I'm Rob. Gamer, geek, student, friend. I'm Trebor Srarcinth, Blazankar Mristari, and Bor, Immortal. You know one, but do you know the rest?