The Batman – read the comic book stories that inspired the film

Matt Reeves’ long-awaited The Batman starring Robert Pattinson is just about to open on Friday, March 4, and is getting pretty stellar early reviews.

The Batman poster

The Batman poster (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

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If the moviegoing public agrees with the early critics, we might be getting a couple of creative hands that will be charting the course of the live-action Batman for many more years to come.

Which makes the Batman comic book stories that inspire Reeves and Pattinson all the more relevant for the foreseeable future.

Reeves, The Batman’s director and co-writer has named four specific Batman comic book stores (opens in new tab) that he says inspired his version of DC’s Dark Knight. We tend to believe him because two of them made Newsaram’s own list of the best Batman stories of all time, but we think all four are great picks.

Here’s what titles Reeves says inspired The Batman:

And in an interview with Den of Geek (opens in new tab), Robert Pattison has named his favorite Batman stories as well:

The Batman box set

The Batman box set (Image credit: DC)

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“In the movies, Batman’s always been portrayed as quite practical, matter-of-fact, in the reasons why he becomes Batman, but in the comics, a lot of them are about quite esoteric subjects,” Pattinson says. “A lot of them he’s hallucinating and completely dissociating. That has not really been done so much in the movies.” 

DC is offering the first three stories Reeves cited as a The Batman box set (opens in new tab) scheduled for release Tuesday, March 1, but the individual story-arcs are available now in hardcover, softcover, single issues, and even digitally.

At the 2020 DC Fandome, Reeves specifically remarked how Cooke’s Batman Ego features Bruce Wayne “confronting the beast” that is Batman. 

“There’s a lot in what it’s trying to do in the story about him confronting the shadow side of himself and the degree to which you have self-knowledge,” Reeves explained.

And while it isn’t named specifically, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s ‘Zero Year (opens in new tab)‘ Batman story also seems to be an inspiration for The Batman. In the trailers, the streets of Gotham City are flooded, with the film’s main villain Riddler apparently the prime suspect. That’s very similar to the 2013’ ‘Zero Year’ in which the Riddler blows up a reservoir to flood the city – while a hurricane is also assaulting Gotham.

In the bigger picture, ‘Zero Year’ also details Batman’s growth from a simple vigilante to a hero to the entire city – while also depicting how the Riddler grew to become the supervillain we now know.

And if you wind up enjoying The Batman when you get to see it in March, its screenwriter actually wrote a Batman comic book himself. No, not director/co-writer Matt Reeves, but the film’s other writer Mattson Tomlin. Tomlin wrote the  Batman: The Imposter (opens in new tab) limited series drawn by Andrea Sorrentino, the collected edition of which went on sale on February 22.

The Batman film opens on March 4 in most major territories.

Keep track of all the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and reprints in 2022 and beyond.

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