Both comics have severe tragedies but which one is better
In my opinion, The Killing Joke is better. A Death in the Family was just a standard 80’s Batman story where Robin happened to die. The Killing Joke is an exploration of the minds of Batman and the Joker and the relationship between them. A Death in the Family is good, but The Killing Joke is on a different level.
A Death in The Family for me. Why? Because of Jim Aparo’s art.
I actually still haven’t read The Killing Joke… but it would have to be pretty bad to be worse than A Death in the Family, and Alan Moore is a good writer. I don’t like his writing, but I won’t argue that it’s not good.
The Killing Joke, without a doubt. Really, outside of the stuff with Bruce and Jason and the immediate aftermath of Jason’s death, the story of Death in the Family is…kind of bad, like trying way too hard to be modern and edgy. With The Killing Joke, while the way they use Barbara as collateral damage is pretty awful, it’s still a strong, thoughtful exploration of the characters of Batman and Joker.
As for which is better as a tragedy. Death in the family. Babs didn’t die, and Jason did.
Killing Joke is the better and more emotionally compelling story.
Killing Joke has better art plot ideas and jokes.
The Death in the Family is a more “explosive” and entertaining read, but in terms of writing quality and art, The Killing Joke is superior.
I agree with @MajorZuma. I was more entertained by a Death in the Family, but I felt the writing in The Killing Joke was of a higher quality.
To be fair the Readers killed Jason Todd
Gotta go with Joke, but Death may have aged better
I’m not a big fan of either. Killing Joke is… problematic. Women in refrigerators, you know. A Death in the Family is probably better, but I don’t really like it either. They both furthered the horrible “realistic serial killer/sociopath” Joker characterization that I hate.
Killing joke is just more well written imo so that gets my vote I like both stories though
The Killing Joke.
Brian Bolland killing it on art. One of Jim Gordon’s best moments.
And the insight: All it takes is one bad day.
Yes, I decided that the above comment just wasn’t enough. Yes, I’m going to babble. It’s 2AM. That’s what people do at 2AM.
The Killing Joke works not because it’s only a tragedy, but because it’s also a story of hope.
Have you ever had a friend who would tell jokes that you just don’t get? That nobody gets? Imagine that kind of person in the guise of The Joker. He’s constantly doing stuff to get people to laugh. Yes, his sense of humor is sociopathic, but it’s there - he wants/needs an audience, but he also REALLY wants someone to get the joke.
That’s why he does everything he does in TKJ. Brutalizing Babs is just a means to an end - he wants SOMEone to ‘get’ him, so he picks Jim Gordon and tries to drive him over the edge, pushing him beyond what he thinks a normal mind could take. And yet Jim doesn’t break. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: TKJ is a Joker/Gordon story. Batman is just there for the punchline.
This story is Joker’s cry for help; he’s desperate to make an honest connection with someone - basically nudging Jim Gordon in the ribs and saying ‘Do you get it?’
As such, it’s probably the most human we’ve ever seen The Joker.