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Batman: The Killing Joke From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Batman: The Killing Joke Cover to Batman: The Killing Joke. Art by Brian Bolland. Publication information Publisher DC Comics Format One-shot Genre Superhero Publication date March 1988 Number of issues 1 Main character(s) Batman The Joker James Gordon Barbara Gordon Creative team Writer(s) Alan Moore Artist(s) Brian Bolland Letterer(s) Richard Starkings Colorist(s) John Higgins (original) Brian Bolland (Deluxe Edition) Creator(s) Alan Moore Brian Bolland John Higgins Editor(s) Dennis O'Neil Collected editions Batman: The Killing Joke ISBN 0-930289-45-5 DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore ISBN 1401209270 Batman: The Killing Joke - 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition ISBN 9781401216672 Batman: The Killing Joke is a one-shot superhero graphic novel written by English author Alan Moore and drawn by English illustrator Brian Bolland. It was first published in the United States by DC Comics in 1988 and has remained in print since. Set in the fictional U.S. city of Gotham, Batman: The Killing Joke provides an origin story for the Joker, an established comic book supervillain. It depicts him as a failed stand-up comedian who agrees to aid a gang of criminals and is thwarted by the superhero Batman before being disfigured; in doing so he is driven insane and attains his supervillain persona. Created by Moore as his own take on Joker's source and psychology, the story became famous for its origin of the Joker as a tragic character; a family man and failed comedian who suffered "one bad day" that finally drove him insane. The story's effects on the mainstream Batman continuity also included the shooting and paralysis of Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl), an event that laid the groundwork for her to develop the identity of Oracle. Many critics consider the graphic novel to be the definitive Joker story and one of the best Batman stories ever published. The comic won the Eisner Award for 'Best Graphic Album' in 1989 and appeared on The New York Times Best Seller List in May 2009. In 2006, The Killing Joke was reprinted as part of the trade paperback DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore. In 2008, DC Comics reprinted the story in a deluxe hardcover edition, which features new coloring by Bolland, with a more somber, realistic, and subdued palette than the original. Elements of The Killing Joke have inspired or been incorporated into other aspects of Batman media, such as films and video games.