The Killing Joke
One bad day. All that separates the sane from psychotic.
I often think about this line. Its from the 1989 comic ‘The Killing Joke’, written by Alan Moore. Its one of the most vaunted origins stories for the Joker, which, as time has progressed, are now somewhat ubiquitous and mainstream. People get Academy Awards for their ability to portray a person pushed into the realm of psychotic behavior.
I’m standing in the queue to check in. He’s standing three or four people in front of me, wearing a dark three piece suit, buttoned up. He probably my age, maybe a bit younger and has shoulder length black hair. He’s wearing his sunglasses inside the the terminal building and in his teeth he’s clenching a short (unlit) pipe.
I glance casually at his passport, which he’s gripping to together the hardcover comic book he’s reading. Every so often, as the queue shuffles forward, he nudges his carry-on along the floor with a pointy boot. Italian. The passport I mean. Although the boots are probably too.
I snort derisively and instinctively my lip curls up into a half snarl. Not because his Morpheus-tic attire seems like a poor choice for the African climate, each to their own…
He’s reading a Justice League comic. Which I suppose, after some consideration, is a classic… but certainly not one of the ‘good’ classics. Its pure anathema to someone like me. Analogously, its like pulling up next to someone in a open topped Jeep with big mud tires and they’re jamming to… Strawberry Lips by Indecent Obsession. (its the first cringy late 80’s/early 90’s tune I could think of).
On the plus side I appreciate the fact that he clearly does not give a fuck what anyone thinks about him. Also, I am a little jealous that he has hardcover comics…
I have over the years, in an effort to infuse some sort of minimalism into my life, moved away from buying paper books and comics in favor of Kindle and Comixology etc which I read on my iPad. After some years of trying to ram this square plug into a round hole I’ve decided I don’t actually like this medium. I miss actual books and actual comics.
My friend Michelle does this with an Owl… I think I should leave it to her though.
In any event, The Killing Joke is one of the few comics I still own in a hardcover format. I was loathed to give it away. And while I thought the lastest Joker movie was ‘okay’… its not as good as the Killing Joke.
I’m one of those people that is very difficult to please when it comes to screen adaptations of books and comics. Although to be fair I don’t hate everything. *thinks* I liked ‘The Lord of the rings’. Okay, mostly liked. Elves at the Hornburg was quite a departure… and so far I’m neutral on the Locke and Key series on Netflix, having only watched one episode. Joe Hill (the author and Stephens Kings progeny) apparently had a hand in the screenplay… so I’m inclined to be hopeful.
And hope anchors the soul. Or something like that.