Grant Morrison delivered a bit of a mindfuck on Wednesday. Strangely, he didn't do it in one of his own comics, but by revealing the secret end of Alan Moore's seminal Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke — namely, that Batman actually murders the Joker at the end.
Morrison was talking to Kevin Smith on his podcast when he revealed his take on the story's final panels. Here's the money quote:
“No one gets the end, because Batman kills The Joker. [...] That’s why it’s called The Killing Joke. The Joker tells the ‘Killing Joke’ at the end, Batman reaches out and breaks his neck, and that’s why the laughter stops and the light goes out, ’cause that was the last chance at crossing that bridge. And Alan Moore wrote the ultimate Batman/Joker story [because] he finished it.”
Indeed, if you look at that last page, the Joker's laugh does cut off pretty damn abruptly... just as a pool of blood seems to form at his feet. Of course, the Joker continued to live in the DC universe after The Killing Joke, although Barbara Gordon's paralysis stayed in continuity.
Look, plenty of people have problems with Grant Morrison's own comics, but his interpretation of Alan Moore's classic Batman tale seems pretty straight-forward to me. And now that he's said it, I don't know how I could see it any other way. It just seems so obvious.
[Via Comics Book Resources]