The 80s were a great time to be a Batman fan. After being lost in the creative wilderness for years 1986 saw the release of "The Dark Knight Returns" which aggressively yanked Batman out of the kid-friendly universe and set him down squarely in the world of thinking adults where actions had consequences, people got hurt and everyone was prone to moral and ethical compromises. Following the earthquake that was TDKR came 1987's "Batman: Year One" and right on the heels of that "Batman: The Killing Joke".

Alan Moore's story delves more deeply into the origins of the Joker recounting his days as an engineer and his subsequent attempt to become a standup comedian. Failing miserably at that and desperate to support his pregnant wife he agrees to help a couple of crooks in their plan to rob a card company next door to the plant where he used to work. But when Batman intervenes he attempts to flee the scene by escaping down the company's toxic waste pipeline, only to discover when he emerges that the chemicals have irrevocably altered his appearance, and the Joker is born. Throughout the story we're shown how Batman and the Joker's personalities tend to mirror each other in subtle yet disturbing ways and in the end the Caped Crusader himself seems to come to a deeper understanding of his long time nemesis.

While Moore has almost offhandedly stated that to him "The Killing Joke" was "just another bat comic" artist Brian Bolland worked long and hard to make TKJ something special. Though Moore's casual casting aside of the project hurt Bolland to an extent it wasn't until he viewed the published pages that his heart sank completely into this stomach. He had envisioned a palette of "November" colors and was horrified to find what he called "hideous glowing purples and pinks" throughout. 2008 finally saw that affront rectified as DC published a 20th anniversary edition of TKJ with coloring by Bolland himself that restored his original vision for the piece.

The image below shows the 1988 version of Batman: The Killing Joke with its original coloring (left) and the same page from the 2008 version that restored Brian Bollands intended color scheme (right). 

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