Everyone’s “golden age” is the years they grew up in. Guys that grew up reading comics in the 60’s think that period is the best. Guys a little younger than me think the greatest stuff came out of Image comics in the early/mid 90’s. For me it’s the period between 1986-1988. The Dark Knight Returns, The Watchmen, Daredevil: Born Again, and this one-shot gem, The Killing Joke. That’s just a few I can recall off the top of my head. It’s hard to argue this wasn’t a high point in comic’s history.
The Killing Joke is a one-shot in what was called back then “Prestige Format”. The tale was crafted by Alan Moore, Brian Bolland and John Higgins, with each man at the top of their game.
The book has a dreary precision that could only have been created by men who grew up in the UK. It doesn’t “feel” like an American comic. As much as Batman and the Joker may be American icons, these brits took the characters and have created what has for the past 23 years stood as the standard for Batman/Joker stories.
Take a look at some of this gorgeous art, and know that it’s illustrating the words of Alan Moore.
If you haven’t read The Killing Joke, go buy a damn copy already!