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Comic Book Legends Revealed #523

COMIC LEGEND: The Killing Joke was originally going to be a Batman Annual.

STATUS: False

The Killing Joke is the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland that explored the relationship between Batman and Joker while also giving a possible origin for the Joker...

It was a major hit and won the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album.

Here's the weird thing about the project, though. It's only 48 pages long. That's pretty darn short for a graphic novel.

That is almost certainly the reason that there is a legend out there about the book that it originally started as a Batman Annual before being transitioned to a graphic novel, likely because of the content. "It was originally a Batman Annual" shows up in droves when you search for it on the net. Here are some samples:

"It started as a Batman annual story and ended up as a prestige-format book."

"was originally a Batman annual story and ended up a prestige-format book."

"Originally designed to be a Batman Annual, The Killing Joke has become one of Batman's most cherished tomes"

"The story (intended as a Batman annual, released as a standalone graphic novel) ends with Batman catching The Joker. "

However, both Bolland and Moore deny it. The origin of the project came when Bolland finished with Camelot 3000. DC chief editor Dick Giordano let Bolland pick his next project and he said he wanted to do a graphic novel about Batman and the Joker with Alan Moore. Giordano agreed (as why would he not?) and the project took four years before it came out.

So if Bolland says it was never an Annual (which he days in the intro of The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore) and Alan Moore says it was never an annual (which did in an interview with the great George Khoury in Khoury's The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore) then I am willing to say that it was never an Annual. It was just a really short graphic novel. I would imagine it would have something to do with Bolland's speed (or lack thereof).

Moore, by the way, mocked the idea of calling it a graphic novel for that very reason. As he noted, "It wasn't even as long as an 80-Page Giant!"

Thanks to Brian Bolland, Alan Moore and George Khoury for the information!

Okay, that's it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week's covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

As you likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!

Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)...

If you'd like to order it, you can use the following code if you'd like to send me a bit of a referral fee...

See you next week!

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