Alan Moore as the Joker


“Classic 2008 graphic novel”? I think you’re out by a couple of decades, there.

I guess he was referring to the “deluxe edition” reissue with new coloring by Brian Bollard. The difference is actually pretty significant:

Edit to add: actually, seeing them side by side this new illustration is clearly more in line with the original coloring by John Higgins. So there goes that theory.


The delixe edition, which is shown in the Amazon link, was issued in 2008, but the story was originally published in 1988.

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Yes, that’s why I just posted the two side by side for comparison.

The “new” edition is the right one, right?

There are lots of comics that suffer an excess of primary colours, an over saturation, specially those concerning Moore* or Gaiman.

*Except maybe in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

On the other hand, this story was about a psychotic clown and much of it took place inside a demented funhouse. If that setting doesn’t warrant a saturated color scheme then what does?


Well… maybe. The basic problem that you run into is pretty much the same one that you run into with revised versions of movies: is the revised version the one that the artist/creator really wanted to produce, but the technology hadn’t yet caught up with their vision, or is it really a matter of someone who can’t stop tinkering with their own work and whose “true” vision is judged to be worse than the original, e.g. George Lucas’ revisions of the original Star Wars trilogy? In this case, given that it’s a Joker book (and basically it is, Bats’ presence notwithstanding), the garishness of the original coloring works in its favor, while Bolland’s revised version comes off as (ironically) something like those “colorized” versions of classic black-and-white movies. Alan Moore is infamous for being very precise and exacting as to what he wants on the page, although he was willing (at the time) to let let different publishers–DC, Marvel and Eclipse–to color some of his early work that was published in black-and-white British comics (V for Vendetta, Captain Britain, and Miracleman (Marvelman), respectively). I’m not sure what Moore would think of this, since he’s more-or-less disavowed The Killing Joke since its original publication.


This is an interesting one since the original version was result of the combined creative vision of three people: Alan Moore (who wrote the story), Brian Bollard (who drew and inked the art), and John Higgins (who did the original color work).

Basically the “deluxe edition” was just Bollard’s way of saying he thought Higgins was a hack and how much he resented having needed help to get the book published on schedule.

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Supposedly Moore hated the coloring too. He still hates the deluxe edition, but that’s because he’s Alan Moore.

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Moore’s opinion doesn’t count, because he also went on record ripping apart his own writing for the story.

We have a saying here in New England:

If you don’t like something Alan Moore says, wait five minutes.


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