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

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

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 (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

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 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, Robert Pattison has named his favorite Batman stories as well:

The Batman box set (Image credit: DC)

"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 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' 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 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.

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)