The Batman: 7 Best Comics That Influenced The Movie

Content Warning: Major SPOILERS for DC’s The Batman Are Discussed In This Article.

Matt Reeves’ batman it has been five years in the making, and it’s finally hit theaters to great success. It brought Gotham City’s brooding superhero more down to earth than even Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed The Dark Knight Trilogybringing out the “World’s Greatest Detective” element of the character that’s often been neglected in live-action.

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The movie told an engrossing investigative thriller punctuated by some impressive action sequences, and part of what made the story so effective was how it tastefully drew influence from the comic book source material. And it wasn’t just to Batman’s benefit, as inspirations can be recognized across the supporting cast including Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Lieutenant James Gordon.


Year One

Art from Batman Year One

Writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli’s Year One comic is commonly regarded as Batman’s definitive origin, and while batman isn’t an origin tale for the hero, its crime-noir atmosphere and characterization of Bruce Wayne were crucial to the movie. Robert Pattinson’s gloomy iteration of the character is in a troubled headspace to the point where he doesn’t know — or care — how to balance his two personas. His Dark Knight from him is still raw, and he hasn’t mastered how to be more than a blunt force of nature.

In the process, it hasn’t struck that level of fear into the minds of villains or instilled hope in Gotham’s neglected citizens. However, inspiration can also be seen in Zoë Kravitz’s antihero de ella given how she’s still in her early proto-Catwoman years. Selina is still living in survival mode, just trying to do the best she can for herself and Annika.

The Long Halloween

Batman leaping through the air in The Long Halloween cover art

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween also stands among the pantheon of praised comics, presenting Batman with one of his biggest mystery cases. The premise of batman uses the comic as a basis, with the movie starting on Thursday, October 31st based on Bruce Wayne’s journal logging his experiences on the job. However, more parallels can be seen in the Riddler’s grand scheme as well. This version of the supervillain is a vindictive serial killer targeting public figures associated with the Salvatore Maroni drug bust.

This string of thick murders hinting at something grander is reminiscent of The Long Halloween‘s “Holiday Killer,” who targeted leading figures involved in Carmine “The Roman” Falcone and Maroni’s respective organized crime operations. Catwoman’s character arc in batman is also similar, as the comic also involved her in an unclear dynamic with Falcone.


Split image of Ego cover art and panel featuring Bruce confronted by Batman.

On a more introspective front, Matt Reeves also used Darwyn Cooke’s Ego as the foundation for exploring this Bruce Wayne’s complex psyche. It’s a more underrated comic book from Batman’s vast catalog that tells a story of Bruce having to tackle the beast within that is the Batman. Inside his mind, Batman represents the more ravenous superego, while Bruce represents the more composed and rational id.

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It’s a fascinating look into the psychological aspect of the character, with both people debating on how to proceed with — or without — each other. The influence is apparent in batmanwith Pattinson’s Bruce uninterested in his public persona and is teetering closer to losing himself completely within the vengeful Dark Knight.

Dark Victory

Batman's neon-red silhouette in Dark Victory cover art

The aforementioned duo of Loeb and Sale followed up The Long Halloween with Dark Victory that gave Batman another compelling case to solve. This comic centered around the fallout of Falcone’s death and uncovering Alberto Falcone as the Holiday Killer — or at least one of them. batman‘s story similarly grows beyond where TLH‘s story reaches, as the movie’s third act deals with the ramifications of the Riddler’s murderous plot against Gotham City.

Likewise, it also expands on the relationship between Catwoman and Carmine Falcone, following the revelation that he’s her father. Dark Victory features DC’s compellingly ambiguous street-level hero, but she eventually leaves Bruce to find out if Falcone is her biological father.

When In Rome

Catwoman fighting under the rain in When in Rome

The Long Halloween and Dark Victory creative duo also spun off with a Catwoman series revolving around Selina’s ventures in Italy after leaving Gotham in the latter comic. When in Rome Catwoman sees pursue leads throughout Italy to find out about her true history with Falcone and who her mother was.

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The story is parallel to Dark Victory, rather than a prequel or sequel, and also features the Wonder Woman supervillain Cheetah. In addition to Falcone, Catwoman suspects that his widow Louisa is her mother. Though on a much tighter scale, batman retooled When in Rome‘s key plot point into Selina’s character arc in batman.

Zero Year

While there have been many iconic runs on the character, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo helmed some of the best Batman comic book arcs from the 2010s. The Court of Owls, Death of the Familyand end game were some of the biggest standouts, though, Zero Year is also worth mentioning in the same breath. This was Batman’s new origin story for DC’s The New 52 that made the Riddler one of the Dark Knight’s first major supervillains.

He manages to manipulate Gotham’s corporate structure into ruling over it as a shadowy puppet master. It’s understandable why this probably wasn’t mentioned in marketing campaigns, as Riddler flooding the city was the grand finale to his plan. Aside from the more overt story beats, batman also drew from this to pose Pattinson’s early and dangerously unrefined Batman against a villain that would test his wits and sleuthing skills.

No Man’s Land

Batman standing in a destroyed Gotham City in No Man's Land.

Though it seems more so possessed for batman‘s prospective sequel, the sprawling No Man’s Land arc could be seen as an inspiration for the tail-end of the movie. In the comics, this story arc was incited by Cataclysm, where a devastating earthquake unexpectedly rocks Gotham to its core. As a result, No Man’s Land sees the city quarantined from the rest of the country with martial law in place. Batman’s ruthless and colorful rogues gallery takes advantage of the dire straits to establish their territories.

It’s no coincidence since Batman himself narrates the ending of the movie as such, predicting this to happen in the aftermath of the Riddler. Fans would expect Oswald Cobblepot to make the most of this newfound opportunity going forward, especially since Colin Farrell will star in a Penguin series for HBO Max.

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