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Batman: The Killing Joke Brings Classic Panels to Life

Batman: The Killing Joke Brings Classic Panels to Life

By Tim Beedle Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Batman: The Killing Joke had its World Premiere in front of an audience of thousands at San Diego Comic-Con before going on to play to sold out theaters last night in its theatrical debut. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s now available as an HD Digital Download. (There are also additional theatrical screenings tonight, if you prefer to see it on the big screen. Tickets may still be available.)

But what if you’re on the fence? It’s based on one of the most widely read Batman comics of all times—we couldn’t blame you for being a bit uncertain. What if it’s not authentic to the comic? What if they’ve made a lot of changes? What if it’s not the story you remember?

Batman: The Killing Joke does feature a good-sized prologue sequence focusing on Barbara Gordon that’s not in the comic. Let’s face it, it would be a pretty short movie otherwise. However, once that wraps up and Batman heads to Arkham, it’s about as accurate to the source material as you can get. In fact, many of the “shots” in the film are lifted directly from the comic.

Take the comic’s famous opening, for example. If you haven’t read it, you can find it below. Note how the first two pages of Brian Bolland’s flawless art are completely silent, and yet rich with so much detail that you have no problem imagining the sounds and conversation.

Now let’s see how that sequence plays out in the movie. Most of this scene was featured in an earlier episode of DC All Access, which you can see by clicking here. Go on and check it out, and then come back to us for a comparison.

If you watched the scene, you likely noticed the similarities in dialog. Sections of Batman’s speech were lifted directly from the comic. However, the visuals are as equally respectful. Below, you can see a series of stills from the scene alongside the corresponding panels from the comic. Let’s see how well they match up.

Pretty impressive, right? It’s really great to see the animators paying such respect to the original panel art all throughout the film. You throw in the peerless voice work of Ray Wise, Tara Strong and of course, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill and this is about as amazing as movie adaptations get.

You can see how the rest of the movie compares to the book by checking it out in Digital HD today, or if you’re more of a disc person, look for the Blu-ray Deluxe Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on August 2, 2016. Turn down the lights, pop some popcorn and whatever you do, don’t answer the door.