Say it ain’t so. But it’s true…Batman and the Joker are both dead. DC Comics author Scott Snyder spilled the beans in an interview on Wednesday. Snyder’s run as DC Comics’ Batman has been both acclaimed and controversial. However, it sounds like he has outdone himself in the controversy department with his twist in the final episode of the Endgame series (issue #40) published yesterday.

Endgame: Batman, The Joker Both Die In DC Comics Final Episode

Scott Synder’s Batman and the Joker

There have already been rumblings from the public regarding Snyder’s less than traditional rewriting of the Joker. In the Death of the Family episodes, it seemed the Joker had somehow discovered the secret identities of Batman and friends, but Bruce Wayne turned the tables by making it clear he also knew the true identity of his enemy.

In the Endgame story line, hints abounded that the Joker was more than just a talented psychopath. There were tantalizing suggestions that perhaps he was a legendary figure with supernatural powers that had inhabited Gotham for a very long time. However, not all Batman fans were overjoyed with the heavy dose of mysticism. That said, issue #39 highlighted the Joker chopping off Alfred the Butler’s hand, and illustrated Snyder’s willingness to push story lines to shocking surprises.

There was of course a climactic battle in the final episode and it was a doozy. The battle ended with the two combatants both exhausted and wounded, lying on the floor of a cave (were else?!). Batman manages to audibilize, “I’m just going to rest here a little while with my friend,” and then the roof of the cave collapses, burying them both under tons of rock.

In an interview with IGN, Snyder has confirmed what readers suspected: “So what I’m saying is, yes, they’re dead – and they went into it ready to die; so there’s no trick to it”.

Readers everywhere are asking is this really the death of two characters who’ve been duking it out for more than 75 years? Snyder admits that “death” is rarely a true finality in comics, but he’s not giving any hints if the death of these two long-time antagonists is permanent or not.

After doing a little research, it turns out Batman has actually “died” once before. Earlier author Grant Morrison penned his demise in Batman RIP and Final Crisis, although death actually meant being “transported to the distant past”. The caped crusader manged a return to comics around a year later.

Pretty much everyone will agree that killing off Batman and the Joker is a bold move. But will they both really stay dead? Anything’s possible, but I’d give even money we see one or both of these comic book icons back within five years at the outside.

Brief history of Batman

Batman has been around since May 1939, and celebrated his 75th birthday just 10 months ago. Batman, his erstwhile sidekick Robin and faithful butler Alfred have become entertainment icons in the last seven and a half decades. Moreover, between his upcoming movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), TV show (Gotham), video games (Batman: Arkham Knight and LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham), and animation (Batman: Assault on Arkham), never mind several ongoing comic book series, the Dark Knight is obviously nowhere near retirement.

In the very first comic, Batman was introduced as wealthy socialite Bruce Wayne. When he pulled on his Batsuit, he became a ruthless crime-fighter who took and thuggish criminal with no remorse. “A fitting end for his kind,” Batman once said, after socking (Biff! Pow!) an evil henchman into a vat of acid.

Batman’s famous Utility Belt made an appearance for the first time to in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939). The Batarang and the Batplane showed up for the first time just a few months later in Detective Comics #31 (September 1939).

The sad Batman origin story where a mugger kills a young Bruce’s parents as the family is coming home from a movie came out in Detective Comics #33 (November 1939) just as the series was starting to become a major hit.

Batman became a hit TV series in the 1966, and The Dark Knight Returns offered a resurgence of popularity two decades later in 1986.