A Rhetorical Analysis of the Killing Joke Essay

Words: 1892
Pages: 8

One Bad Day: A Rhetorical Analysis of The Killing Joke
The Joker was once seen as a comical criminal who committed ridiculously silly crimes, such as spreading laughing gas throughout Gotham City. However, after the reinvention of Batman, The Joker was transformed into a grave and terrorizing character. Continuing the course of the new personality given to The Joker, writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland created a graphic novel called The Killing Joke, “a much more complex, darker, and ultimately, frightening story” (Wooldridge) which tells one of the origins of The Joker since The Joker himself is unsure of his true inception. However, this particular graphic novel “isn’t about how the Joker came to be, it’s an examination of
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The panel transitions to one that takes up a third of the page with Gordon in rage as he helplessly views the photos of his daughter’s agony. Moore depicts Gordon in a medium close-up, “a framing in which … a human figure [is] seen from chest up” (Yale Film Studies), surrounded by the horrifying images. Once again, he is colored red. However, this time Moore does this to emphasize Gordon’s fierce eruption as he despairingly looks at the gruesome photographs. Moore also displays the photos in pink to express Barbara’s vulnerability and innocence, which contrasts with the events occurring within the horrific images. In addition, Barbara’s images are not confined in the panel; they spill out of the page. Moore uses this technique to articulate the chaos transpiring within the scene. To further emphasize the madness taking place, Gordon’s dialogue bursts out of both the jagged outlined bubble and the panel as he shouts his daughter’s name. Everything in this panel is unrestrained except for Gordon himself, who has been tied up and put on a leash like a dog. Moore’s use of juxtaposition is important because it establishes The Joker’s maniacal superiority and desire to control Gordon. In this scene, Moore wants the audience to share the feelings of chaos, anger, and despair with Gordon; he wants to create an atmosphere which causes the audience to believe that The Joker’s twisted plan is conquering Gordon’s sanity and that all hope is