Skip to main content

Batman Comics To Read If You Liked The Batman

Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne The Batman.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Whenever a new Batman movie opens in theaters, longtime DC Comics fans are quick to point out all the references, nods, and Easter eggs from the Caped Crusader’s storied comic book history that appear on screen, and why shouldn’t they? We have seen it with scenes from Batman comics like Batman: Year One, The Long Halloween, and Knightfall in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and The Killing Joke in Tim Burton’s Batman, to just name a couple.

And this conversation has come up again with Matt Reeves’ stellar The Batman, the latest live-action movie following “The World’s Greatest Detective” as he attempts to thwart The Riddler’s diabolical plan to bring Gotham to its knees, both figuratively and physically. Since the movie pulls so much from various Batman comics, it seems only natural that fans would want to go back and read a few of the comics that inspired the movie. That being said, here are a few options to kick off your journey into the mind, heart, and soul of Batman.

Bruce Wayne walking in Batman: Year One

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Batman: Year One

One of the most beloved superhero origin stories, Frank Miller’s 1987 graphic novel Batman: Year One explores Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the Dark Knight after the orphan billionaire returns to Gotham City following a 12-year absence. And even though Matt Reeves denied he was recreating the classic Batman story, its influence can be felt throughout the latest movie in the Dark Knight’s cinematic history.

From Gotham City being overrun with ambitious criminals with public officials in their payroll to Batman’s partnership with Jim Gordon to the role Selina Kyle plays in the drama, there are plenty of great callbacks to Batman: Year One throughout the movie. And if you liked the grittier, film noir tone of The Batman, as well Bruce Wayne still battling with his personal demons, Miller’s comic is a great place to start.

Batman in Batman: The Long Halloween

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Batman: The Long Halloween

Jeph Loeb’s 13-issue Batman: The Long Halloween is another classic run that has become heavily influential in the Caped Crusader’s cinematic moments (The Dark Knight, anyone), and The Batman is the latest to use it as source material. Set in Batman’s second year as being Gotham’s protector, the series follows him as he attempts to track down a mysterious killer known as Holiday who takes out various seedier members of the city’s population over the course of a year.

Just like how The Batman explores the Wayne family’s past transgressions, especially when it comes to the family’s past ties to Gotham’s criminal element, Batman: The Long Halloween sees Bruce Wayne coming to terms with those revelations, as well as how lies can protect a city’s foundation from crumbling down, as long as they aren’t exposed.

Batman breaking The Riddler's staff in Batman: Zero Year

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Batman: Zero Year

Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, Batman: Zero Year serves as another origin story for the Caped Crusader, and follows Bruce Wayne in his first attempts at becoming Gotham’s silent protector. A large part of this multi-issue run centers on Batman attempting to hunt down The Riddler as the villain takes control of Gotham and toys with the hero in a series of diabolical games and riddles. 

Of all the comics that influenced The Batman, the DNA of this story can be felt most. There are a number of parallels like The Riddler flooding Gotham to cripple the busy yet corrupt city, Batman being forced to decide between Selina Kyle and the city he swore to protect, and a masked killer preying on city officials.

Batman and Catwoman in Hush

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Batman: Hush

Another classic DC Comics multi-part arc that can be felt throughout The Batman is Jeph Loeb’s 2002-2003 series Batman: Hush, which follows a mysterious figure who terrorizes Batman in a manner of ways that includes revealing his true identity to the cops, criminals, and citizens of Gotham City. 

Everything from The Riddler’s fixation with the Wayne family in The Batman, Batman’s relationship with Catwoman, and a massive conspiracy behind the scenes are all explored throughout the run. In terms of tone, the two are also very similar with each having a dark and sinister undercurrent that pulls their respective stories along. 

Batman diving in Batman: Dark Victory

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Batman: Dark Victory

Jeph Loeb’s 14-part series Batman: Dark Victory, which is set following the events of Batman: The Long Halloween, sees Gotham City once again under the threat of attack by a masked killer who has put all of the corrupt public officials and shady police officers on watch with a series of hangings.

And although Dark Victory features far more of Batman’s iconic villains — Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow — than The Batman, it follows a similar path and further explores just how interconnected everything is in Gotham. With a great cat-and-mouse game as well as superb investigations by “The World’s Greatest Detective,” there’s a lot to pore over in this fine comic. And who knows, maybe Matt Reeves’ decision to draw from this comic means those Robin theories will play out in the future.

Batman battling Bruce Wayne in Batman: Ego

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Batman: Ego

Released in 2000, Darwyn Cooke’s mind-bending one-shot Batman: Ego takes a much different direction with the DC Comics property and its central hero. After he fails to prevent one of The Joker’s men from killing himself, a grief-stricken Bruce Wayne has a mental breakdown leading to an expansive and revealing (and troubling) conversation between his two identities: the more compassionate Bruce Wayne and the vengeful Batman.

Batman: Ego can be felt through The Batman, especially when it comes to a young Caped Crusader trying to find his place in the world and deciding how he wants to be viewed: as a sign of vengeance to strike fear in the hearts of criminals, or a compassionate guardian dedicated to giving Gotham hope for a better tomorrow. 

Batman under attack in Batman: The Court of Owls

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Batman: The Court Of Owls

Scott Snyder’s Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls offers one of the most interesting concepts to play out in a Batman comic in quite some time in that it centers on a mysterious group behind the scenes of Gotham who both attempt to take over the city and stamp out the Dark Knight once and for all.

Although there is no large-scale conspiracy to take out Bruce Wayne in The Batman, well besides The Riddler’s grand plan at the end of the movie to take out the mayor-elect, it feels like Matt Reeves’ franchise is headed in this direction, especially with the Caped Crusader’s decision to protect the citizens of Gotham while also becoming a symbol of hope. As we’ve learned in Batman’s past, the good times never last, even more so when the Wayne family's past comes into play.

These are just some of the Batman comics you should check out after watching The Batman. But before you dive into the pages of the Dark Knight’s past, take a look at all the upcoming superhero movies, which includes another appearance by Batman.

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.