Let’s Stop Giving The Killing Joke More Credit Than It Deserves

Batgirl and Oracle (1)

Content warnings for references to sexual trauma (assault and torture) in the text and in linked posts, ableism, a brief mention of fandom racism (specifically antiblackness towards Luke Fox) and a mention of transmisogyny in Batgirl #37. There are no images from The Killing Joke (comic or animated film) or the Joker in the body of this post.


I reject the idea that “The Killing Joke” is necessary in order to have Barbara become Oracle.

I also reject the idea that the Joker “created” Oracle.

Disability representation is incredibly important, that’s why DC’s retcon of Barbara’s many years as Oracle struck a blow to many disabled comic book readers. I won’t fight against that. I also won’t pretend that the Batgirl of Burnside series didn’t have its own problems (such as the ableist cure-all that carried over from Gail Simone’s run and problems that were unique to the run such as the transmisogyny in issue #37).

But what I will fight against is the way that DC comics and its fanbase won’t let go of The Killing Joke and how they insist on tying it to Oracle as a symbol or moment of empowerment when it really isn’t.Read More »