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The Batman: All the comic book stories that might have inspired the movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros./Jim Lee)

After the release of the trailer for Matt Reeves' The Batman, previous rumors about the direction of the film have now turned into more educated guesses about the movie. 

From Robert Pattinson's eye makeup and boots to Paul Dano's duct tape and military mask, the internet is filled with reactions to — and theories about — almost every second of the two-and-a-half-minute trailer. 

For comic book fans, that includes the search for Easter eggs from and references to the comic books themselves. From the trailer, can we tell what The Batman director/writer Reeves read in preparation? And from what original stories is he taking inspiration? 

It's impossible to know for sure, but taking a few cues from Reeves himself, here's a list of what comic books we think probably served as inspirations for The Batman.

Batman: Ego and Other Tails by Darwyn Cooke

(Image credit: DC)

This anthology is first on the list because, during director Matt Reeves' appearance at the DC FanDome panel, he specifically mentioned this collection's lead story, Batman: Ego, as one of his comic book inspirations. It's a surprising influence for the film — a comic book that takes a deep dive into Batman's damaged psyche, depicting a debate inside the character's mind between himself and a personification of Batman. 

Reeves said that in Cooke's story, Batman is "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.

But if Reeves read this anthology recently, he was also exposed to another story within the collection: Catwoman: Selina's Big Score. Another acclaimed story by Darwyn Cooke, Big Score has a noir tone as it delves into Catwoman's thievery and cunning. With Catwoman showing up in the film — and in the trailer — and Reeves specifically mentioning a Darwyn Cooke story as an influence, it's likely this Catwoman-focused tale also provided some inspiration for Zoë Kravitz's film version of the character. 

Batman: Earth One - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

(Image credit: DC)

Although Reeves said Paul Dano's version of the Riddler is one that "no one has ever seen before," Batman: Earth One's version of the Riddler (featured in Vol. 2) feels similar to the one in the trailer — complete with bombings and a serial-killer vibe. 

The Earth One story also features a young, new Batman like the one Pattinson plays in the film, and this graphic novel similarly delves into the corruption that has taken over the city's police department and administration, including a crime organization headed by Oswald Cobblepot (who's explored more in Vol. 1). 

Plus, there's reason to believe that Geoff Johns himself, the comic book writer-turn-screenwriter, might have had at least a small bit of direct influence on this movie's direction since an early version of The Batman's script had Johns attached. 

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli

(Image credit: DC)

Although Reeves made it clear that this film will take place during the vigilante's "year two," any director's exploration of Batman's youngest years would be incomplete without knowing Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. 

The classic Batman: Year One story wasn't just hugely influential on all Batman stories after it (including Chris Nolan's films), but it also told an origin story for Catwoman — something Reeves would probably have researched.

In The Batman film, Selina isn't Catwoman yet — the story will be "part of the journey," Reeves said. The director also said Zoë Kravitz's iteration of Selina Kyle doesn't come from any other story, but he added that it "touches on all these iconic things that people know from the comics."  

Although Batman: Year One was an out-of-continuity take on Batman and Catwoman's origin, it served as an influential update to their characters, and certainly fits the description "iconic."

Batman: The Golden Age by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Gardner Fox, and Jerry Robinson

(Image credit: DC)

This might go without saying, but without the very earliest depictions of Batman, there would be no movie. And although there were some weird elements to these early stories sometimes, there was always a thread of darkness running through the character's depictions. 

He was also portrayed as a detective during these formative years, and Reeves has stated before that he's embracing the character's investigative side. And although the Golden Age Batman killed people (unlike the modern version), brutality is obviously part of Pattinson's arsenal as Batman as well, although it's not clear yet if he crosses the line like this old-school Bat. 

Batman: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

(Image credit: DC)

If Reeves' film is all about corruption, there are few modern Batman stories that delve more deeply into the Gotham's corruption than Batman: The Court of Owls, in which Bruce Wayne discovers a terrifying secret crime network woven into Gotham's hallowed institutions and most powerful families.

In the comic book, the history of the Wayne family was even mixed up in the Court of Owls. And whether or not the actual Court shows up in this film or not, the trailer insinuates that Bruce Wayne might be connected to the movie's corruption somehow when Riddler says, "You're tied to this too." 

Plus, a little-noticed detail from The Batman's trailer is that the front of the card Riddler leaves for Batman features an owl.

There are also a few fan theories on the internet about an extra in the trailer who may or may not be wearing a white mask similar to the ones worn by the Court of Owls. It's difficult to tell if this one's accurate, but with the Court already being featured in the newest Batman video game, it's possible Reeves is dropping hints in The Batman about a deeper crime organization like the Court, even if they might not show up until future films (or, possibly, in the HBO Max TV show). 

Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

(Image credit: DC)

Rumors had been circulating for a while now that The Batman would be a live-action translation of Batman: The Long Halloween, which involves Catwoman, focuses on Batman's detective skills, and takes place in the early days of Batman's career. 

While an exact translation of the comic book didn't happen, Batman: The Long Halloween is a classic Batman tale that probably influenced the story of The Batman — particularly with Catwoman showing up and Matt Reeves saying that he would be emphasizing the "detective" side of the Caped Crusader. 

Batman by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

(Image credit: DC)

This one makes the list because — thanks to a paparazzi photo of Penguin actor Colin Farrell and a curious writer at Nerdist — we know that Colin Farrell bought (and presumably read) this Manapul/Buccellato deluxe edition

Whether Farrell just liked the look of the book or he was told to buy this collection in particular, the fact that it's in the hand of one of the actors means it's providing at least some influence on the movie. 

The most likely connection is that the story features a "street-grounded" Batman, and it specifically portrays a dirty cop. Manapul and Buccellato also depicted Gotham, its characters, and the story's action in a very modern and cinematic way, while still incorporating iconic Batman elements, which may have also been an inspiration for the film.

Gotham Central by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, and Michael Lark

(Image credit: DC)

The police procedural comic book Gotham Central is set within the GCPD and explores the various challenges police officers face living and working in a place like Gotham City. The acclaimed title was also decidedly street level and based in realistic detective situations, which also fits with what we know about the new film's direction. 

Reeves explained during his panel that The Batman's story centers on the corruption in the Gotham City Police Department, with what he called a "street-grounded" feel. The trailer featured more than one scene of Batman amongst the city's police officers, and the upcoming HBO Max series (which is supposed to serve as a sort of prequel to the film) will focus on the police department too. 

Gotham Central was hugely influential on the way GCPD was depicted in the comic book universe, and there's a good chance it provided some inspiration for the film and TV show. 

Batman: Year Two by Mike W. Barr, Alan Davis, and Todd McFarlane

(Image credit: DC)

We're tagging this story onto the end of our list — mostly because of its title. 

Reeves said The Batman takes place in the "second year" of the character's crime-fighting career.

It's probably a stretch to even mention this book as an inspiration because its main plot (involving The Reaper and Joe Chill) doesn't seem to be related to the film at all. But if Reeves was really thinking about a "second-year" Batman and checked out this comic book for reference, Year Two does explore the organized crime world of Gotham, while also taking on the psychological effects of Batman's origin story and his decision to never kill — both of which seem to play a role in the plot of The Batman.

Check out more of Batman's best comic book stories here.