There’s less than a week to go until The Batman release date, and fans are understandably excited to see Robert Pattison’s first portrayal of the Caped Crusader, as well as the first movie in an all-new ‘Batverse’. The film focuses on the early days of Batman’s crime-fighting career, showing him at his most inexperienced, and it draws from a couple of Batman comics in particular.
While the movie’s storyline is wholly unique, two comics, in particular, have been named as influences on the story. The first of these was the iconic 1987 origin story, Year One, by Frank Miller, and the second was the 2000 story, Ego, by Darwyn Cooke, which offers a unique perspective into the mind of Bruce Wayne/Batman.
If you can’t wait for the new movie, or would like to go in with your mind full of relevant Batman knowledge, then we recommend giving both of them a read. They’re both pretty different and do a good job of highlighting the variety of styles and plots within the Batverse.
Fortunately, even though both of these comics are decades old, they’re both still in publication and can be found relatively easily. Here’s a little more about each story, and where you can get your hands on your own copies.
Batman: Year One (1987)
In the 1980s, the DC Universe was rebooted with the 1985 story, Crisis on Infinite Earths. After this, it was time for each of the main DC heroes to be reintroduced with new origin stories. Frank Miller’s Year One was then the new Batman origin.
It has a very distinct ‘80s gritty comics feel, helped in part by the artwork of David Mazzucchelli. It’s a story that doesn’t shy away from showing the unpleasant crime-ridden streets of a big city and one that serves as an introduction to Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Catwoman. If you’ve never read a Batman comic before, this would actually be an excellent place to start.
Batman: Ego (2000)
Though they are the same person, Bruce Wayne and Batman are very different personas. What would happen if the two of them sat down in a room together and had a conversation? Well, in Ego, Darwyn Cooke gives us exactly that.
After a traumatic experience with one of the Joker’s thugs, Batman experiences a moment of inner crisis, which is portrayed through Batman and Bruce Wayne talking through the moments of their life that lead up to that point and how each persona sees things differently. It’s a take on the character we don’t often see and asks the question: what type of person would you have to be to dress up as a bat and go around beating up criminals?
If you’re looking for more Batman content, check out our guide on watching the Batman movies in order. They could be worth a binge before the new one comes out.