The Killing Joke’s Batman/Batgirl sex scene is causing controversy

DC Comics goes hardcore...

Batman The Killing Joke
No joke The Killing Joke is arguably the most iconic Batman graphic novel of all-time. Image DC Comics

Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke is one of the most celebrated comic books of all time, so fans were eagerly awaiting the animated movie version of the storyline.

Now that it’s finally been released? Not so much.

Moore’s slimline graphic novel didn’t have enough material in it to support a feature-length running time so the DC Comics animation team had to come up with a new plotline to bulk it up.

The Killing Joke is already pretty hardcore, notorious for the Joker’s violent attack on Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, that leaves her paralysed from the waist down.

In new scenes prior to this in the film adaptation, Batgirl is seen getting into a heated row with Batman before the pair kiss and it’s implied they have sex.

Fans at the film’s Comic-Con screening weren’t keen on this addition, with many complaining about Batgirl pining after Bruce Wayne and her character only being defined by men.

“You have talked about how you wanted to give Barbara more story… and yet the story you gave her ended up being about the men in her life,” one fan said at a post-screening Q&A.

Screenwriter Brian Azzarello defended the portrayal, then caused a stir when he called a fan in the audience “a pussy” after they wouldn’t repeat a question posed about Batgirl.

Fans online generally reacted pretty badly to the sequence, which you can see in the video above.

Here’s just a brief sampling of the Twitter pushback on The Killing Joke’s most controversial moment…

The Killing, featuring the voice of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker, is available on Blu-ray now.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

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