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Everybody knows that DC absolutely kills when it comes to the world of animation, and no DC hero has experienced a better animated career than The Dark Knight. From Mask of the Phantasm, to The Dark Knight Returns, to the recent release of The Killing Joke, there's an amazing Batman animated movie to match every taste and preference. This trend may soon continue, as Mark Hamill recently hinted that Kevin Conroy and himself could potentially return to their respective roles as Joker and Batman for animated adaptations of Hush and/or A Death in the Family. It's an amazing time to be a nerd.
However, the potential doesn't stop there; Hush and A Death in the Family only represent the beginning. Batman has gone on numerous adventures over the years, and so many of them deserve the animated treatment as well. We've compiled a list of the eight Batman stories that definitely deserve to come to life with the help of the folks at DC animation. Check out our entries, and let us know what story YOU want to see adapted! Now let's get started with a Batman tale that always gets us into the holiday spirit.
Prior to the release of Batman: Noël, we never could have imagined that comic books and Charles Dickens could go together so well. In a story mirroring the events of A Christmas Carol, Noël uses Bruce Wayne as an analogue for Ebenezer Scrooge, as Batman embarks on a crusade to recapture The Joker over the course of a single night. Along the way, he has encounters with character like Jim Gordon, Selina Kyle, and Superman - all of whom serve to inform the audience as to just how far into a dark hole Batman has fallen through his career. Not only does Noël feature some of the most beautiful artwork ever seen in a Batman comic book, but it also tells a perfect story about a lost man finding his way back to the light. A proper Noël adaptation would become required holiday viewing for any self-respecting Batman fan; make it happen, DC.
The Joker's mythology (or rather, his LACK of mythology) has remained relatively unchanged over the course of his entire publication history. That all changed in 2014 when Scott Snyder delivered the amazing Endgame arc, a story in which Bruce Wayne has to contend with the fact that Joker may in fact be an immortal being, known as "The Pale Man," that has existed in Gotham for centuries. It's this mystery that carries the weight of the story, but along the way, we also get some truly awesome action sequences involving Batman battling the entire Justice League, and teaming up with his rogues gallery to take down Joker. It's unlike anything we've seen in Batman animation before, and that's what makes it so ripe for a proper adaptation.
The Black Mirror
There's a serious case to be made that The Black Mirror is the single greatest Dick Grayson Batman story ever told. Following the young, less experienced Nightwing-turned-Dark Knight, The Black Mirror showcases how Gotham City will evolve based on the mentality of its current Batman. Unlike Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson's biggest weakness is his willingness to trust and believe in others, which creates a blind spot in his crime fighting abilities when brilliant sociopath James Gordon Jr. returns to town. The Black Mirror presents us with a far more compassionate Batman, and that offers potential for a new, deeply personal conflict that envelopes Dick, as well as the entire Gordon family.
Unlike other entries on this list, Joker holds the distinction of being a Batman story in which Batman is not actually the main character. Brian Azzarello's 2008 graphic novel follows the titular villain as he goes on a rampage to reclaim his lost criminal empire; in fact, Batman doesn't even really show up until the final moments of the book. Joker would make for a perfect animated film for a few reasons. For starters, it's a gritty, violent tale that likely would never get made in live-action. Also, it would make a perfect follow-up to DC's recent adaptation of The Killing Joke, as more and more people seem eager to learn just what makes the Clown Prince of Crime tick. Adults appreciate the maturity of DC animation, and Joker would solidify that.
The Long Halloween
As many Batman fans already know: Christopher Nolan thoroughly adapted Batman: The Long Halloween when he brought The Dark Knight to the silver screen in 2008. However, Nolan being Nolan, he opted to leave out many of the more "comic book" elements that made the source material so amazing in the first place. Set during the early days of Batman's career in Gotham, The Long Halloween follows the Caped Crusader as he teams up with Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent to hunt down a mysterious killer known as Holiday. Along the way, we see several iconic Batman characters (good and bad) make appearances, as The Long Halloween essentially paves the way for the entire established Batman mythos. The fact that it has taken this long to get this gritty, noir-esque story into animation is nothing if not baffling, so we think it's time to change that.
The Man Who Laughs
Often considered a sequel to Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, the 2005 graphic novel Batman: The Man Who Laughs also serves as a gritty, modern retelling of The Joker's original introduction all the way back in 1940. Telling the story of how these two comic book icons first came to hate one another, The Man Who Laughs deviates from a typical Batman/Joker story because it focuses on a young, inexperienced Bruce Wayne facing off against a Joker he doesn't understand. On the flip side, the story similarly presents the audience with a Joker who hasn't yet developed his legendary infatuation with The Dark Knight. It's a beautiful inversion of a tried and true formula that deserves the talented touch of DC animation.
Death of the Family
The Joker doesn't hate Batman; he loves him. It's a warped, demented, love, but it's love nonetheless. The Death of the Family story arc epitomizes Joker's sadistic obsession with Batman as he endeavors to kill the entire Bat Family. He does this not to weaken Batman as a hero, but make him stronger -- like he was during their early battles, when Batman had few allies to work with. An adaptation of Death of the Family -- particularly one with Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy -- could take these characters into never before seen territory on-screen, and provide us with one of the darkest Batman movies ever committed to film. Joker's surgically removed face has become one of the most iconic images from any recent comic book arc, and we want to see it finally brought to life.
Frank Miller's Batman: Year One is a classic. You know it, and I know it. However, it's also a book that doesn't necessarily speak to this generation. Scott Snyder's Batman: Zero Year changed that by taking the basic tenets of Miller's original work, but bringing them into the 21st century. No longer a story focused on urban decay and street-level crime, Zero Year presents a version of Batman's origin far more concerned with the modern concept of domestic terrorism in an otherwise prosperous city as Batman faces off against the mysterious Red Hood Gang. Gone is the grey doom and gloom of the 1980s, and instead we get a version of The Dark Knight who likes to add a little bit of color and theatricality to his crime fighting efforts. It's a visually bright, but tonally dark story that would make a perfect animated feature.