The Killing Joke Radio Play (fan adaptation- obviously NSFW).

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The Killing Joke Radio Play (fan adaptation- obviously NSFW).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-09 12:25am

So, I was looking up Batman stuff on Youtube, and found out that somebody did the (in)famous Batman story The Killing Joke as a radio play (I'm presuming an unauthorized one). Its pretty much a straight, frame-by-frame adaptation of the comic with actors reading the dialogue, plus music and sound effects, and a lot of the music sounds like its lifted straight from the Arkham games and Nolan films, but some of the voices are quite good- Bats and Alfred are okay, but Joker is probably the best (Jim Gordon sounds way the hell too young, though, and unless I'm much mistaken, Barbara and Mrs. Joker are voiced by the same actor).

Anyhoo, here's the link if you want to take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX65RIrpuu0

Truth be told, I'm a bit jealous- I've toyed with the idea of writing a theatrical adaptation of Killing Joke myself, although I'd probably change/add some things to address the... blatant sexism (not to mention nasty treatment of persons with disabilities).

Edit: Going to add an NSFW warning, for the benefit of anyone not familiar with the source material.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals Sherman and Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless - the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with - but after all their faces are set Zion-wards."- Lincoln on radical Abolitionists.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the US and Canada.

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Re: The Killing Joke Radio Play (fan adaptation).

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-02-09 12:46am

The voices are a little rough, aside from the Joker, who was cast rather well. It's good that they show the panels, but it's bypassing what's important about the stories: the details of the world we see around them.

As for the Killing Joke itself, I think I agree with Moviebob about it. It's pretty much just a standard Batman story, only that it has consequences and goes to extremes that previous Batman stories hadn't before. Even Joker's backstory might not be true, and may just be another lie he told or believed that day to justify his actions.

As mentioned above, what really makes it wonderful are the little details in the background, or the art choices shown. Such as giving us ideas about the world they live in. Gordon has whole shelves of liquor, the Joker has a more somber appearance and is mostly in shadow when being reflective about his past, Batman's batcomputer images of the Joker showing all the different appearances he had previously in DC Comics, the Silver Age Bat-family portrait, how Gordon's scrapbook photo is the cover of the first Batman comic, etc.

It's part of why the animated adaptation failed, they got rid of all those little touches. For this one, you have to pause the video to admire each frame presented if your eyes aren't quick enough.

Still a valiant effort, though.
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Re: The Killing Joke Radio Play (fan adaptation).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-09 01:10am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-02-09 12:46am
The voices are a little rough, aside from the Joker, who was cast rather well. It's good that they show the panels, but it's bypassing what's important about the stories: the details of the world we see around them.
The Joker feels like he's channeling Hamill a lot, but with perhaps a small undercurrent of Ledger. Not surprisingly, I suppose, since those are pretty much the definitive versions of the character at this point. Its not terribly original, but its a good enough impression that I don't really mind it (and Ledger's Joker owed a LOT to Killing Joke in any case).

As to the panels, a good adaptation in my opinion should be able to stand on its own without the source material, so to me it would be interesting to hear without the panels. I did like some of how they expanded on the dialogue at certain moments (not the bits that they blatantly lifted from The Dark Knight though, which felt noticeably out of place), especially when Batman is patrolling the streets looking for Joker (which is a dialogue-less montage in the comic). The exchange with the hookers at the end was really quite funny, and I got a kick out of the fact that the hooker sounded like she had a Harley accent (I also should note that I was wrong about Jeanie and Barbara having the same voice actor). :D

My biggest complaint, actually, is the way the music sometimes overrides the story and becomes disruptive (perhaps most painfully during the climax, and the scene where Joker tortures Barbara, though perhaps some distraction from the shear horror of that latter scene is welcome). There are moments, a lot of moments, where less would have been more, and silence would have been more powerful than the soundtrack. On the other hand, I thought that the Zimmer score worked pretty well in, say, the moment when Bats first meets Joker (presuming you take the flashback at face-value).
As for the Killing Joke itself, I think I agree with Moviebob about it. It's pretty much just a standard Batman story, only that it has consequences and goes to extremes that previous Batman stories hadn't before. Even Joker's backstory might not be true, and may just be another lie he told or believed that day to justify his actions.
That was much what Alan Moore said (among other things) when he disavowed the story, IIRC.

Personally, I'm not sure I agree. Yes, its a standard Batman vs. Joker story, but its also THE definitive Batman vs. Joker story. In fact, despite (or perhaps because*) of its glaring flaws, I would argue that it has so defined the characters in such a short, succinct work that it has become the closest thing to a single definitive Batman story that there is. Gordon's order to bring the Joker in by the book, the Joker and Batman's dueling monologues on madness, and the Joker's final joke are among my favorite bits of dialogue and characterization in literature period, not just comics.

I don't think it matters whether that particular origin for the Joker is real or not, any more than it mattered which of Ledger-Joker's origin stories (if any) was real in TDK.

By the way, I don't personally believe that the Joker in Killing Joke is mad, or at least not unambiguously. Look at his actions throughout- he is doing all this because he needs to prove that everyone is as unstable as him. There is a desperate note of self-justification underlying everything he does. And at the end, there's that moment of seeming lucidity, where he seems genuinely sorry that he can't accept Batman's offer. I think that deep down, Joker knows that he's a monster, and he's desperate to justify himself by proving that everyone else is just the same, that it was just a natural, inevitable reaction to the horrors of the world. And at the end, he chooses to embrace absolute nihilism not because he truly believes that its right, but because (in my view), he can't face going back. He chooses the easy way out, consciously and willingly. So while in a sense The Killing Joker humanizes him and makes him sympathetic, the end to me underlines that Joker is indeed a true monster- because he chooses evil with open eyes, and if he wasn't evil before, he certainly is now.
As mentioned above, what really makes it wonderful are the little details in the background, or the art choices shown. Such as giving us ideas about the world they live in. Gordon has whole shelves of liquor, the Joker has a more somber appearance and is mostly in shadow when being reflective about his past, Batman's batcomputer images of the Joker showing all the different appearances he had previously in DC Comics, the Silver Age Bat-family portrait, how Gordon's scrapbook photo is the cover of the first Batman comic, etc.

It's part of why the animated adaptation failed, they got rid of all those little touches. For this one, you have to pause the video to admire each frame presented if your eyes aren't quick enough.

Still a valiant effort, though.
I think that its okay to change things in an adaptation, to a point, but without capturing the tone of a complex, layered world, you will always lose something, yes.



*Because let's face it, sexism is deeply ingrained in DC Comics' history.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals Sherman and Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless - the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with - but after all their faces are set Zion-wards."- Lincoln on radical Abolitionists.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the US and Canada.

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Re: The Killing Joke Radio Play (fan adaptation- obviously NSFW).

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-02-09 01:26am

I think a better exploration is It's Just Some Random Guy's exchanging the characters of Heat for Batman and the Joker:



It relies more on the audio performance, and the interpretation of adapting such film lines to such iconic characters.
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Re: The Killing Joke Radio Play (fan adaptation- obviously NSFW).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-09 01:43am

Hmm, I'll have to watch that.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals Sherman and Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless - the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with - but after all their faces are set Zion-wards."- Lincoln on radical Abolitionists.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the US and Canada.

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