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The Batman film - What to read before (and after) you see it

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

We are just a handful of weeks away from the new The Batman film, with Robert Pattinson becoming the face of presumably a whole line of Bat-films in our future. But if you've seen all the trailers and read all the news, rumors, and speculation, what else could you read to get ready for the films?

The comic books, of course.

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

The Batman director/co-writer Matt Reeves has named four specific Batman comic book stories that inspired his version of DC's Dark Knight. Two of them made our list of the best Batman stories of all time, but we think all four are great picks.

Here's what Reeves says inspired The Batman:

The Batman box set (Image credit: DC)

DC is offering the first three stories Reeves cited as a The Batman box set scheduled for release 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 current Batman: The Imposter limited series drawn by Andrea Sorrentino, whose collected edition goes on sale 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.

Newsarama Senior Editor Chris Arrant has covered comic book news for Newsarama since 2003, 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)