Rant: The Killing Joke 2016 -- or -- How to Screw Up Barbara Gordon in a Single Leaked Image
Let’s talk the Killing Joke for a second.
The Killing Joke, for those of you who don’t know, is my favorite comic of all time next to Superman: Red Son, The Long Halloween, Watchmen and Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted. I consider it to be a masterpiece and a work of art on its own that really brings an interesting take on my favorite villain of all time, and one of my favorite characters of all time: The Joker. So you bet when I heard they were making a Killing Joke animated feature, I was really REALLY excited for it. But then…then I saw the leaked image of Batman and Barbara having sex on a rooftop…
Let’s be honest, if you’re a fan of the comics or just a fan of Batman in general, do I even NEED to explain why that’s just plain disgusting and repulsive?
No. No I don’t.
However, I just want to bring some things up real quick that nobody has really brought up that I feel needs to be said.
Now, some of you on here have already stated that you already hated the Killing Joke before this, but now this is just adding fuel to the fire. And while I understand your frustration now, I’m going to defend the source material for a second. Specifically on the question of was the Killing Joke sexist? Absolutely not.
Barb getting shot in the comics and her remaining crippled, from what I’ve read from those who hated the comic before this whole shit-storm began, was that Barb’s strong character was whisked away in a single instant as she was immediately crippled. To that I say, no. The event of shooting Barb by the Joker wasn’t some edgy thing that Alan Moore wrote to show off Barb’s tits in some weird carnival ride straight out of Willy Wonka, nor was it reduce Barb’s crippling injury to a mere plot point. It was quintessential for one specific thing. Showing just how little the Joker cared for human life. The fact that he’d do such terrible, horrendous things to someone just to prove a point. But to be fair, some of you might say that that in itself is reducing Barb’s role as character to something that moves the plot along, but again. I say nay. If anything, it showed the strength of her character to persevere. Even though she got shot by the Joker, even THOUGH she was trampled over and stripped naked by him and his lackeys in an attempt to drive her father insane—SHE CAME BACK. She refused to sit on the sidelines and became Oracle. An asset that has kept Bruce alive many, MANY times.
Is it dark? Yes. Controversial? Absolutely. But let me ask you a question that recently has entered my mind as of late.
Would the Killing Joke had been better if the roles of Jim Gordon and Barb were reversed?
Like Joker shot Jim, after he somehow figured out who Batgirl was through some roundabout way, and put her through the carnival of insanity? Obviously it wouldn’t follow the exact same plot points. You could still have naked images of her father, bleeding and dying on the screen; but you also add a couple new things that’d really get her to go nuts.
I don’t have the answer, but it’s a question I ask all the same.
BUUUT that’s a whole different rant for a whole different time, as I’m noticing that my rant is kind of losing focus. The point is, I don’t think that the Killing Joke is sexist…that is, until I saw that goddamn image from the animated movie.
Aside from the obvious creep factors this clip adds on its own, as well as the lack of need for this kind of relationship at all, it is very obvious about what the creators are trying to do. They’re trying to raise the stakes for Batman. Make it more of a personal thing for him…LIKE IT WASN’T ALREADY?!
I’m sorry, but that excuse has to be the laziest goddamn excuse I’ve ever SEEN.
Bruce would ALREADY care about Barb because, 1) she’s the daughter of Commissioner Gordon—his best friend, arguably; and 2) She’s a part of the goddamn BAT FAMILY. EMPHASIS ON FAMILY. Meaning he sees her as a kind of DAUGHTER.
Making her a love interest does exactly what people who argued that the Killing Joke comic did before! OBJECTIFY BARBARA GORDON. She just becomes a very specific fuel to Batman’s fire to stop the Joker and add onto that good ol’ damsel in distress trope. A woman for Batman to avenge. So. What makes this different than the original? As I said. In the original, Bruce already DID care for Barb. There was a long line of history there that spanned, arguably, decades.
But this makes her feel…lesser.
As though the only reason that the writers had for Batman to care about her is because they fucked on a rooftop. Because they share a physical relationship.
…WHAT?! And don’t get me STARTED on how creepy it makes Bruce look.
Granted, one could argue that it’s Ok because it happened in the comics one time in Batman Beyond, but to that I say this. Just because it happened in the comics, doesn’t mean that it’s good! This is something I’ve found myself repeating over and over again when it comes to adaptations and new comics that mimic the old arcs. Comic writers aren’t holy untouchable men who write the word of law. Take Frank Miller. Everybody and their mother loves the dude for The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, but have you seen his other work? Have you READ Holy Terror?! You shouldn’t—the man is INSANE. He goes on this anti-Islamic, racist tangent that’s frankly as disgusting as it is appalling. And in the case of the time where Barb and Bruce had sex in the past…yeah, no. That was a stupid move too. It was only done to explain why Dick isn’t as close to Bruce anymore. Again, turning Barb into an object for the men to fight over.
And that in itself, is the problem I have. By doing this, rather than raising the stakes (which were the writer’s intentions, no doubt) they in fact, lessened them because you’ve turned a beloved character into a trope. And I know that seems odd, since I’m saying this after seeing a singly scene from a movie completely out of context but…it’s hard to read it any other way! As I said, the reason I’ll defend the Killing Joke comic is because it shows the strength of her character. But by doing this, you’re compromising it. But who knows. Maybe it makes sense in the movie and I’m not seeing it in context, as it was meant to be seen. But…I can’t shake the feeling that there’s no way you can put that in context and make it Ok. I’ll see the movie, mainly for Mark Hamill’s sake, but I go in skeptical. And if it turns out that my rant on objectifying Barb rings true, then I have one thing to say.
Shame on you, DC. If Batman v Superman wasn’t bad enough, you had to come along and forever taint my favorite comic of all time.
A security video from a McDonald’s in Ohio shows a woman punching two restaurant employees and smashing a drive-thru window because she couldn’t get Chicken McNuggets.
The tantrum caught on tape in Toledo earlier this year shows the customer reaching through the drive-thru window, slugging one worker and then another. She then grabs a bottle out of her car and tosses it through the glass window before speeding off.
It happened early on New Year’s Day. Police say Melodi Dushane was angry that McNuggets weren’t being served, because it was breakfast time.
Dushane says she was drunk at the time. She was sentenced to 60 days in jail last month and ordered to pay McDonald’s for the broken window.