‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Reunites Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy

Holy origin story, Batman!

Batman: The Killing Joke, one of the best loved graphic novels featuring the Caped Crusader and the Joker, is officially getting animated. Batman: The Killing Joke was initially released in March 1988, and Mark Hamill, who voices the Joker in the movie and in the Batman animated series, told Comic Book Resources it is the “definitive origin of this iconic villain,” and he is excited to take on the Joker’s clown face again.

Batman: The Killing Joke has a 4.4 star rating out of a possible five stars on Goodreads. While users of the site have suggested the story is best for those 15 and up due to the graphic nature of the book, the animated one-off novel could get anywhere from a PG to an R rating.

For his part, Kevin Conroy, who plays opposite Hamill in the Batman animated series as Batman himself, said he was also excited to participate as Batman in one of the most-loved Batman/Joker stories.

“I’m thrilled that we’re both back to bring these characters to life in one of the most heralded Batman/Joker stories of all time,” Conroy said, according to Batman News. Conroy added that working with Hamill had enabled him to become a better actor because of the relationship that the Joker and Batman shared; apparently, Hamill feels the same way about working with Conroy.

It is anticipated that the animated film version of Batman: The Killing Joke will be thoroughly hyped at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, with the film hitting stores later during the summer.

Batman: The Killing Joke has long been considered the “true” origin story of the Joker. According to DC Wikia, the story starts when Batman visits Arkham Asylum to tell the Joker that their regular encounters need to stop, as they will ultimately result in one of them murdering the other. Readers then learn exactly what has driven the Joker to become the man he is, incredibly violent and definitely insane. Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara also feature prominently in the story, and throughout The Killing Joke, the line between justice and morality consistently seems to blur and shift.

Given that the voices behind the two main characters are excitedly making their joy about the film adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke known, it should come as no surprise that the fans are also excited.

The Killing Joke joins a long list of movies adapted from comic books, but this is likely the first time such a beloved Batman graphic novel is being adapted for the silver screen, or at least Blu-ray and DVD. It is definitely a bonus to see Mark Hamill so happy about the news; the actor has had a stellar year, between the reawakening of the Star Wars franchise, the coming Star Wars: Episode VIII, and news that The Killing Joke is being filmed.

One of the most compelling storylines throughout the entire Batman franchise is likely the one that is featured in Batman: The Killing Joke, and while in some respects, one might get confused about what ultimately drives the Joker over the brink of insanity, the story portrays the Joker as a more sympathetic character in some respects. Regardless of whether you are watching The Killing Joke to see one of your favorite comic books brought to life, or because you are genuinely curious about the excitement this film might offer, it doesn’t matter. The Killing Joke is going to be well worth the DVD or Blu-ray purchase price when it is finally revealed.

[Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images]