Batman Comics That Influenced the FilmChristopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is quite unlike anything else in the history of cinema. Hismassively ambitious piece of work seamlessly blended existing Batman mythology with his own personal visionof how a Superhero could work in the real world. This allowed him to pick and choose each piece of Batmanlore and mythology that he thought should be included in the story.What eventuated was a smattering of hand picked Batman moments and themes picked straight from thecomics spread out throughout the film trilogy and Batman fans finally got a Batman movie based on the comic’sthat they love.Officially there were only three stories (Year One, The Long Halloween, and The Man Who Falls) that weresaid to be used as an influence for Batman Begins, but influences from all of these stories can be seenthroughout the entirety of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.These are the ten trade paperbacks that every single Batman fan should read, in roughly chronological order.WARNING:SPOILERS GALORE AHEAD1. Year One (1987)Chapter One: Who I am. How I come to be.This is where Batman Begins.
One of the most influential and important comics of all time, and widely regarded as one of the best Batmanstories ever written, Year One recounts Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman in an even more corrupt version ofGotham City than the movie’s portray. Its brutal, noire type story is the perfect place to begin your Batmanjourney. Though you should be warned, this book was massively popular, so much so that most of it has alreadybeen absorbed into the public consciousness, so quite a lot of it may seem familiar.The movie adaptations owe so very much to Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s reinvention of a modernBatman and it shows. There are quite a few scenes from all of Nolan’s movie’s that are taken directly from thisbook, from the ending of Batman Begins where Commissioner Gordon is telling Batman about the arrival ofthe Joker on a rooftop, to the fight scene with Batman and Catwoman on a luxurious rooftop in The DarkKnight Rises.2. The Man Who Falls (1989)This story might be a mere 16 pages long, but this was the structural basis for Batman Begins, and remainsthe official canonical Batman origin story. The story centers on Bruce Wayne’s training and time travellingaround the world after the events of his parents murder. The non-linear story telling from this comic was alsomirrored fairly heavily in Batman Begins.3. The Long Halloween (1996)
This series continues the story of Year One. It is chock full of in depth character studies of Batman and howmany of his famous villains turned from normal goons into fully fleshed super-villains.The Long Halloween also contains the modern originstory of how Harvey Dent turned from a D.A. into the psychotic Two-Face.This was one of the three comics that was said to be a direct influence of Batman Begins, but I have a feelingthat we can safly throw some Dark Knight in there as well.The crime family headed by Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni which featured heavily in the first two movieswas also taken from The Long Halloween and its sequel Dark Victory.4. Killing Joke (1988)
Written by Alan Moore, this is the origin story for the Joker, and is the definitive basis for the Joker in TheDark Knight. Christopher Nolan even gave Heath Ledger a copy of this book when they started work on themovie.There might not be anything in the way of direct plot liftedfrom this story to the movies, but thematically this is huge.The Joker’s scheme in the Killing Joke is to try and prove that all it takes to drive a man to madness is one badday. Though in the movies his focus is Harvey Dent, in The Killing Jokethe Joker sets his sights onCommissioner Gordon. The Joker shoots the Commissioners daughter Barbara and take nude photos of her totry and snap Gordon’s mind.Makes that cover seem a whole lot more creepy now doesnt it.The Killing Joke does actually give the story of how the Joker turned from a normal citizen into
the psychopathic maniac that we all know and love, though at one point he states that he doesn’t remember hislife before the accident that made him insane and that:“If I’m going to have a past I prefer it to be multiple choice! HA HAHA”Which is directly reflected with the Jokers “Wanna know how I got these scars” stories in The Dark Knight.5. A Death In the Family (1988)If you have looked at the cover for A Death In The Family or even read the title then it is safe to say that Idon’t think I am giving too much away when I say that this is the story about the death of Robin.This might seem to some to have only the most tenuous link to the Dark Knight trilogy other than one ofBatman’s companions dying in a warehouse explosion just as Batman arrives on the scene, but there was moreto it than that.This is a story of the effects that being Batman has on Bruce Wayne’s life and the life’s of those around him. Itmight not be the most well loved of Batman stories, but it still should be read.When A Death in the Family was written, fans had the ability to directly infulence the story by voting via aphone poll. (Reader Greg points out that this is dead wrong. It was far from a landslide decision, the vote to killRobin off only won by a margin of 72 votes- 5343 to 5271.Thanks Greg). So this would be also have been usedas a cautionary tale for Nolan not to include Robin in the films simply because he feels that he must.
Also, it may have absolutely nothing to do with the movies, but Batman breaks some knuckles punchingSuperman in the face and the Joker is appointed Iranian Ambassador to the U.N. which in itself makes thisworthy of a read.6. A Loneley Place of Dying (1989)This is the story that introduced Tim Drake as the third Robin. Drake manages to install himself in the role byfiguring out Batman’s true identity. Sounds somewhat familiar no? Some may argue that this in itself is notenough to place it on this list, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Blake, was based heavily on this piece ofwork.7. Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on SeriousEarth (1989)
Some may say that there is very little linking this book to the movies other than one homage in the moviewhere Jonathan Crane enters the Asylum with Rachel Dawes mirrors perfectly the Joker’s entrance withBatman in the novel. It is also said that Arkham Asylum was passed around the set of The Dark Knight.Some people love Arkham Asylums art style, some people hate it, I personally love it, and I feel it shows off thepure despondency and insanity associated with Arkham Asylum.8. Knightfall (1992)Knightfall would have to be one of the most obvious influence on the Dark Knight Rises, as Bane, in hismost famous moment of his super villain career breaks Batman’s back over his knee. But it must be noted thatthe Bane from the Comics and the Bane from the Movies are two very different animals. In the comics Bane
seems to have no real motive for being evil and wanting to take over Gotham, other than the simple fact that heis able to.I will be perfectly honest and say I think that Nolan’s Bane is the better of the two, and I wasn’t much of a fanof Knightfall at all. But I felt it had to be included as an influence for three simple reasons:1: Bane’s breaking of Batman’s back2: The theme of Batman being pushed beyond his point of endurance.3: When Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham after recovering his injuries, Alfred retires, refusing to stay and watchBruce destroy himself. Which was lifted almost verbatim from the comic into the movie.9. No Man’s Land (1999)This was a huge series that ran for the entirety of 1999. In No Man’s Land Gotham City was struck with anearthquake which destroyed much of the city, leading to the U.S. government evacuating the city and declaringit No Mans Land.Batman then goes to Washington D.C. to try andconvince the government not abandon the city. His failure leaves him deeply depressed and it takes him monthsto get his shit together and return to Gotham City to help where he can.
The portrayal of a Gotham City cut off from the rest of the world, reduced to chaos and rubble and over run bycriminals is an obvious influence for The Dark Knight Rises.10. The Dark Knight Returns (1986)It might not be considered to be part of any official Batman canon anymore, but this story from Frank Miller in1989 is so influential to the entire Batman universe that it feel perverse putting at the bottom of any list, ratherthan at the very top.This is the comic that really pulled Batman from his campy 60′s comics to the modern Batman that we knowand love. Before The Dark Knight Returns there were very very few dark, gritty, violent worlds written about incomics, after The Dark Knight Returns, they were the rule rather than the exception.This is the story of an older Bruce Wayne, retired as Batman after the death of Robin (see A Death in theFamilyabove), living in a Gotham City that has progressively gotten worse since he hung his cape up.This is a story of how our perceptions of what constitutes justice and retribution, crime and punishment, andsimply what is right or wrong make us who we are and ultimately decide our place in society.The influence of this book is clearly evident in many forms in The Dark Knight Rises, from the idea of anolder, less physically capable Batman coming out of retirement, the almost identical designs of the Bat-mobileand to the ending, where Batman dies so that Bruce Wayne may live.If you read one thing from this list, make it The Dark Knight Returns.Edit:Some people argue that Brian Azzarello’s graphic novel Joker (2008) is closer to Heath Ledgers portrayal ofthe Joker, it must be noted that Joker came out after the release of The Dark Knight. It is a fantastic piece ofwork and absolutely should be read, but the fact remains that Killing Joke is the far more influential of the two.Source http://www.twentysixdollars.com/2012/07/top-ten-batman-comics/