"You Bought "The Killing Joke" for Only A Dollar?
Why Aren't You Appreciating That Instead Of Complaining About Sexism?"
Why Aren't You Appreciating That Instead Of Complaining About Sexism?"
Laura Hudson's critique of my post "Oh You Like Woman? Here is Cookie!" points out not only that it is immature for a woman to find images of sexualized violence in comics offensive, but that by not appreciating the fact that I bought "The Killing Joke" for a dollar, I am missing the point:
"Also, it's both awesome and out of print, and you bought it for a dollar. Insert expletive here."
Ooooooh...I bought it for a dollar! What a deal! Well, that is certainly a horse of a different color isn't it? I'm gonna go run and put it in a mylar!
The only reason I don't throw books like "Identity Crisis" and "Killing Joke" directly in the garbage is because I'm using them for a research project. I'm not so very blinded by the cult of one famous comics writer or another to think that they are incapable of putting out work that is seriously offensive to me.
I'm offended by these images because I don't "get it" and I'm not a "big girl?"
When the day comes that I can look at those particular rapes and mutilations and not care and not feel that there is any exploitation there -- that's the day I don't feel anymore, and the day my critical-thinking mechanism stops working.
Dammit, I don't want to be considered a "big girl" by the comic book industry at the expense of denying how I feel.
Comic books are great, but they are NOT WORTH swallowing it up when it feels offensive, when it feels patronizing and exploitative & I feel as if I'm going to burst.
And for all my "fangirlishness," the fact that I got a first edition Alan Moore comic for a dollar does not factor in AT ALL in my assessment of the work. I threw that mentality away three years ago when I dumped my Batman and Superman DC comps down the incinerator instead of consulting my Overstreet.
I dumped those books directly down the trash chute, oblivious to the wails of my comic-collecting roommate, because at the time I felt that the makers of these books betrayed both what the characters stood for and my gender.
"What are you, blind? You bought it for A DOLLAR!"
As Karen of "Girls Read Comics and are Pissed" has told me before - no one has the right to tell you what you should or should not be angry about.ReplyDelete
I've never understood the "genius" of Killing Joke. It's all of the "disturbing and dark" which was becoming hip at the time without any of the story. I can almost forgive Identity Crisis, because Meltzer and Rags mixed some truly beautiful and heartbreaking moments in with the horrible. But Killing Joke just has no redeeming qualities to it. I know it's Alan Moore... and I know it's supposed to be "brilliant"... but I just don't see it.ReplyDelete
Wherever possible, I try to give away comics that I don't want but which others might consider valuable. I think we got rid of at least two copies of Killing Joke, but kept one (not for the writing or storyline at ALL, but because Robin likes Brian Bolland's art). That said, I just tossed three issues (one squarebound) of a really awful (in my opinion) indie comic right into the recycle bin; I'm not even going to bother trying to find a new home for them.ReplyDelete
I find that mostly women can write women the way I like them - strong and smart. That goes for novels mostly, as I'm not as versed in comics as you all are.ReplyDelete
That said, (notwithstanding the women who give in to the misogyny as formula) the only way to support better female characters is to support female writers. That's my take.
Two things: I forgot to mention in the other thread that Alan Moore is on the record as regretting the impact of "Killing Joke," as he never intended the story to be in-continuity.ReplyDelete
That said, I was never that big of a Batgirl fan, but I love Barbara Gordon/Oracle. Would that more male characters had such a transformative and enriching turn in their stories (because of Kim Yale and John Ostrander's continuation, obviously.) Babs went from a laughable Batman derivative to a unique and fascinating character.
The other thing is my favorite current female writer is Gail Simone, but part of what makes her interesting is that like an Alan Moore or Frank Miller, her stories revel in personal fixations in a way a journeyman like Louise Simonson never could, without being as derivative and uncommercial as an Ann Nocenti. For once, true equality through mutual neurosis!
I just realized that my last comment completely misinterpretted your post and OS's. How embarassing! Please delete it if you haven't.ReplyDelete
Moore doesn't particularly like "The Killing Joke" since it really isn't about anything other than Batman and The Joker. He only did it because Bolland wanted to draw a Batman story that was written by Moore. If I recall correctly, when he put forth the idea of having The Joker shoot Barbara, the editor he was working with asked his boss, who replied cheerfully, "Cripple the bitch!"ReplyDelete
The brilliance I see in Killing Joke is more of a rejection of darkness and insanity than an embrace of the disturbing and darkness of the Dark Age of comics. I still love Batman's line: "Because I've heard that joke before... and it wasn't funny the first time."ReplyDelete
I think both Killing Joke and Identity Crisis could've been a lot better, though, if they didn't hinge themselves on the acts of hurting people (women in particular). In the case of Killing Joke, they could've just knocked Barbara unconscious and screwed with Gordon's mind to make him think that he did more. And we needed no rape pages for Identity Crisis. (I'd argue that we didn't need to kill Sue Dibny, either, but that's really what sets up the rest of the story...)
*cheers you on!*ReplyDelete
The "brilliance" of Killing Joke is about Batman and Joker. It's not about Batgirl who IS A HERO and not "generic female character B created for the Joker to kill". She gets shot and paralyzed and humiliated in one of the worst way (with the naked pictures) and she's basically just a tool for the Joker. :\
I know that ppl will say that the Joker would do something horrible like this, yus. The Joker would prolly skin the flesh off of babies and put them around Gotham and run around chopping the penises off of men and feeding it to them. That doesn't mean a) you write it or b) a real person wasn't behind the decision to do this! :|
Which is the point! Somebody though it'd be great to throw Barbara under the bus and basically treat it like a horrible thing to happen to Commissioner Gordon and Batman. Like, the fact that Batgirl is paralyzed now is no big deal. :\
What angers me even more about this is that it's to show that Batman and Gordon are calm and level headed enuf not to go crazy in the face of this and kill the Joker. Yet... later on Batman decides to try to kill the Joker when some random invented friend of his is created and "killed" (Hush).
Oh. And I dun like the "oh but she became Oracle!" argument either. :\ Unexpected positive results in the future dun justify an act.
Nobody says that Parallax was a great idea b/c Hal is back and all cool now, or that Kyle Rayner is a great character and wouldn't have existed without Parallax. Ppl still hate Zero Hour.
And I rly dun like how she talked down to you! That was... awful :(
She's entitled to her opinion but she's acting like not only is it correct but that if you disagree clearly you lack her intellectual and emotional maturity to like the comic. >:(
AND AND AND
I do think ppl give Killing Joke a free pass b/c it's by Alan Moore and is all "dark and edgy". :\
I've had enuf darkness in my life. :( I'm tired of the awfulness life can bring and everything! I read superhero comics to be inspired by heroes who save the day, not heroes being shot as a plot point to get from A to B. :(
"I know that ppl will say that the Joker would do something horrible like this, yus. The Joker would prolly skin the flesh off of babies and put them around Gotham and run around chopping the penises off of men and feeding it to them. That doesn't mean a) you write it or b) a real person wasn't behind the decision to do this! :|"ReplyDelete
Fair enough keeping the Joker's to-do list out of the hands of small children and people who just don't want to deal with it, but there's no creative merit to that.
The terror the Joker inspires is an abstraction of a minor degree. It isn't a monster from hell, or a boogey man you can kill with salt and enchanted iron.
The Joker is the worst case scenario of what could happen.
There is no argument to summarily censor the Joker any more than he already is. Even in a horrific story like this.
"Which is the point! Somebody though it'd be great to throw Barbara under the bus and basically treat it like a horrible thing to happen to Commissioner Gordon and Batman. Like, the fact that Batgirl is paralyzed now is no big deal. :\"
I think that's a case of simply having to give precedence to the story.
Yes, we all know that's going to be incredibly unfortunate for Barbara Gordon, but that wasn't this story. It has presumably been dealt with since, because it's a very obvious story to tell, but it's pushing the friendship to stretch the story to fit an agenda.
The objectification of the character is the motivation for Joker's actions. It's this perspective that makes the story work.
"What angers me even more about this is that it's to show that Batman and Gordon are calm and level headed enuf not to go crazy in the face of this and kill the Joker. Yet... later on Batman decides to try to kill the Joker when some random invented friend of his is created and "killed" (Hush).
Again, the story is what it is, and I don't think you can rightly sabotage it for being that.
The scenes in Hush are clearly the four-colour culmination of these events. It only detracts from Barbara Gordon's ordeal if you want it to.
Otherwise it's just a cartoony extension of that story, and the many others.
That would be like my pointing out that you clearly have it in for young boys, because you're discounting Joker murdering Jason Todd (when that still counted).
"Oh. And I dun like the "oh but she became Oracle!" argument either. :\ Unexpected positive results in the future dun justify an act."
A) As already mentioned, I don't think the creative decision needs justification.
B) In a creative medium that has built upon itself for sixty-plus years, it is a justification.
It's a stretch to argue that an industry that has made a name building on itself for sixty-plus years isn't going to constantly leave dangling threads for future reference.
It might not have been the conceit of this story, but to say it doesn't in some way justify it, is again, motivated to the point of being more askew than the tact it's retaliating against.
"And I rly dun like how she talked down to you! That was... awful :("
And just in case, I certainly don't intend to be talking down to you right now.
Your comments just jumped at out me in particular as poorly considered, and easily questioned.
Mike, what arguments? :\ReplyDelete
I was just saying one side of my opinions and being supportive?
I've spoken about my feelings on the KJ before, and I have opinions both positive and negative about it, including the ones you've said. :\
That's just part of my opinion, and that's yours XD I dunno why you have to act like I was making some sort of argument? :\
I agree with some stuff you said, but I dun put you down (by saying what you said is poorly considered, that implies that I think my opinion is more correct than yours). :\
But I can see why ppl would see it in one way and be offended... and why others wouldn't. :)
I dunno why you have to put me down tho :(
angelwings: Well, your post was a reference to broadly make a point of disagreement to an opinion that, I think in general, lacks any basis beyond a conceited agenda.ReplyDelete
I certainly don't mean any specific disrespect, or to personally insult you.
This corner of the comics blogosphere generally isn't something I'm very connected to, so maybe I unwittingly spoke out of turn.
Otherwise your post just, as I said, stuck out to me as a poorly considered series of opinions that connect to the on-going, non-specific argument of objectification versus facts-of-life.
Just wanted to lodge a balancing opinion in what I mistook for a discussion.
And sometimes I accidentally seem like I'm being a prick, but I'm not. ;-p
Just been asked to post this here:ReplyDelete
Alan Moore didn't create Killing Joke as a piece of in-continuity work. It was a stand alone like Dark Knight - there's even a reference to BatMite.
The story was totally about the impact of Barbara Gordon's assault on Jim Gordon. The point being that, unlike Batman and Joker, normal people don't react to such an event by dressing up in colourful costumes. The Batman and the Joker are bound by something more. Which is why they share the joke.
But more importantly, it's also metatextual. Barbara Gordon doesn't actually exist, no fictional character does, and so what happens to them doesn't actually matter, neither does the impact on her. So the Joker's continual survival and escape from Arkham is part of the game, what's necessary to propel the story. It's no more real than being able to walk across a beam of light.
And when you turn off the light, you close the book.
That's how I read it originally , and a recent re-reading hasn't changed that.