Batman: The Killing Joke is a seminal story in the Batman mythos, the ultimate tale showing just how far the Joker is willing to go to spread his madness (and possibly how far Batman will bend or break his “no murder” rule, if Grant Morrison is to be believed). It’s cast a long shadow over modern Batman comics and depictions of the Clown Prince Of Crime (too long a shadow, according to Killing Joke writer Alan Moore) and remains one of the most chilling tales of a villain gone too far. And now it’s being turned into a cartoon—albeit an R-rated one. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are reprising their Batman: The Animated Series roles as Batman and the Joker, respectively, and trailers have already been released for its August 2 debut. And while the trailers appear to capture the tone of the original book, the look is a bit off from how Brian Bolland originally drew the comic.
Enter Emil Gustafsson Ryderup, who has redrawn the trailer so it’s closer to the look of Bolland’s original art. The trailer for the solo animated movie captures the grim sense of foreboding in the comic, but without the manic colors of Bolland’s original artwork, it loses some of that creepy funhouse feel that injected it with such pop vitality. Here’s Ryderup’s version, complete with yellow hues and intensified colors on all of the scenes:
It’s an impressive bit of work to transform the dark, gray tones of the Warner Bros. animation version with this newly lit sampling. The new coloring and appearances of characters make everything seem more alive, a bit off-kilter, and almost as manic as the evil madman at the heart of the story. Here’s a video comparing the two versions, along with the comic book panels from which Ryderup drew inspiration: