The Killing Joke is also bookended graphically, as the first frame on the first page and the last frame on the last page both depict drops of rain in a black puddle. The image is gloomy and melancholic, but the fact that it is repeated suggests that - like many stories with a circular plot - the dynamic of the story is both eternal and inevitable. In other words, Batman and Joker are destined to resemble and fight each other forever, unless one of them kills the other.
In 2008, when The Killing Joke was reissued, Brian Bolland personally recoloured his drawings and added a graphic element that adds to the story’s sense of fate. In the black and white flashbacks, he coloured only certain objects red to prefigure the scene in which the young Joker, wearing a red hood, is so humiliated, he loses his mind once and for all.
Bolland asked to recolour his illustrations, because he had never been happy with the original version, coloured by John Higgins. Higgins had even ignored some of his explicit instructions. For example, he had coloured the flashbacks rather than leaving them in black and white, and instead of the “soft autumnal colours” Bolland had asked for, the pages alternate between garish yellows and purples (click here
to see certain page comparisons).
The colours in the new version – which are the frames shown in this article – are much more realistic and make the story a lot creepier. In a sense, Moore & Bolland took the character of the Joker and did the same thing with it that Todd Phillips has done now. They turned him into a human being with a past, a man that readers and viewers can understand and empathise with, on account of his misfortunes, even if they can’t justify his actions. At the same time, they are disturbed by the idea that anyone can become a danger to the public and that social outcasts can return, full of hate and a desire to take revenge on society.