More Killing Joke Movie Details

Batman: The Killing Joke

Warner Bros. has now released more details for the upcoming Batman: The Killing Joke original animated movie. They previously discussed the film’s R rating, but now we have a release date, extras listing, and cover art.

The Blu-ray combo pack (list price $24.98) will be available along with the single DVD edition (list price $19.98) on August 2, with the Digital HD version debuting July 26. In addition, there’s a Blu-ray Deluxe Edition (list price $29.96) that adds to the combo pack an exclusive figurine of The Joker in a numbered, limited edition gift set.

Creatively, the big news is the return of several big names associated with animated Batman, including “executive producer Bruce Timm at the helm and Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill returning to their seminal roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively.”

Batman: The Killing Joke

The movie plans to hew closely to the Alan Moore-written graphic novel, with one major exception. It will explore

“the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime — from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Years later, and now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker devises a plan to prove that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is — setting his sights on Commissioner Gordon. It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to The Joker’s latest scheme and save one of Gotham City’s finest.”

The exception, and the part that I find most interesting, is the promised “gripping prologue introducing Barbara Gordon’s heroic adventures alongside Batman as Batgirl”. That will give her sacrifice as a plot device to motivate Batman more context, at least. And although this story was published in 1988, it was also the best-selling graphic novel of 2015, according to the press release. I’m not sure of the source for that — Diamond Comics Distribution has it as #6 while the bookstore rankings put it at #10. Perhaps it was Amazon, where rankings right now have it as #2. Regardless, that’s a pretty good showing for a 28-year-old comic.

DC Entertainment has posted this trailer breakdown, where a voiceover provides key background.

Batman: The Killing Joke will be directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. Teen Titans) from a script by Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Azzarello. All the editions will have the usual “exclusive sneak peek at the next DC Universe Original Movie”; the Blu-ray will have the following:

Featurette — “Batman: The Killing Joke – Madness Set To Music” — Jim Gordon must bear witness to the most disturbing images any father could imagine while a maniac entices his break from sanity in song. This documentary looks at the step-by-process of one of the most crucial scenes in Batman: The Killing Joke, including the methodology James Tucker used as he storyboarded Brian Bolland’s stunning work for the screen; Dynamic Music Partners composers/lyricists’ creative merging of original music with the poetic words from the graphic novel to provoke the desired feelings and emotions for this critical scene; and actor Mark Hamill’s physical, devoted performance to capturing the world¹s most notorious Super-Villain in song.

Featurette — “Many Shades of Joker: The Tale of The Killing Joke” — Brian Bolland’s artwork is instantly recognizable to comic book enthusiasts all over the world. Known for his amazing cover art, it was a rare inclusion into the body of a graphic novel, Batman: The Killing Joke, that helped the perennial story of Batman and The Joker remain a fan favorite for decades to come. Combined with the graphic novel’s original script — which is more than just the telling of a story, but an intricate map explaining every stop along the way to the end of a fantastic journey — this documentary reveals the artistic process behind The Killing Joke’s distinct style. We’ll learn how artists and writers excelled at conveying story and human emotion one panel at a time, mesmerizing readers with unforgettable stories and humanized depictions of heroes and villains. And why after nearly 30 years in print, Batman: The Killing Joke is more thought provoking than ever, as its socio-economic themes are relatable to generation after generation.

From the DC Comics Vault — Two 22-minute episodes: 
1. The New Batman Adventures — “Old Wounds”
2. Batman: The Animated Series — “Christmas with The Joker”


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