The original Batman: The Killing Joke comic by Alan Moore is a cult classic, and almost as revered as the Dark Knight series even though it's merely 48 pages.
The allure of it lies in the psychological insights it gives into its characters, and its ambiguous ending that had fans pinning for a sequel to tie up all the loose ends in the comic book. That is why the whole geek fandom was excited when an animated film remake was announced, and fans were super excited for their favourite Mark Hamill, who was going to voice Batman's arch nemesis The Joker.
Director Sam Liu has said that this one is about the characters, about the The Joker’s origin story, about the way Batman and his most famous antagonist serve as mirror images of each other.
Also the enlarged role of Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon was also the highlight of the animated film, which was supposed to be in tandem with the league of strong female superheroes we see on screen today.
So it was surprising when things went downhill for the animated movie at the Batman: The Killing Joke comic con panel at San Diego.
The movie was heavily criticised for its portrayal of Batgirl. We knew the original comic and the movie would consist of a scene where the Joker shoots and paralyzes Barbara Gordon, but it was surprising in the way it was adapted. Added to this was a deeply misogynist story line which also has a scene where the Barbara makes out and has sex with Batman, which is problematic because of the fact that we see Batman is a father figure to Barbara in the comics and mainstream media.
The reason the film makers would want a regressive portrayal of a strong female character seemed unreasonable to fans who saw the animated film at the comic con.
As reported by Hollywood Reporter, a Joker cosplayer asked the writers why they would downplay Barbara Gordon, such a strong female character, and make her story more about the men in her life.
According to Bleeding Cool reporter Jeremy Konrad, the writers insisted she was still a strong female character. Konrad, who’d already seen the film and didn’t agree, himself sarcastically shouted, “Yeah, by using sex and then pining for Bruce.”
That’s when co-screenwriter Brian Azzarello seemed to put it all out there. “Wanna say that again? Pussy?” he asked.
Looking at the response, guess we know where the misogynist writing came from.