Before ruling the big screens, Batman reigned supreme in the realm of comic books. In 82 years, the Caped Crusader has amassed a rich reserve of astonishing stories. Stories with the theme of vengeance, good vs evil, responsibility, and sometimes even love.
It is said that the character builds stories, but in this case, the amazing stories have built the character that we all know and love.
With thousands of stories under his name, the world’s greatest detective has starred in comics that are both good and bad. Focusing on the better end of the spectrum, we will take a look at the Dark Knight comics that shattered the test of time and still stay rent-free in the hearts and minds of fans.
Top 5 Batman comics that are timeless and have inspired live-action movies
5) Batman: Knightfall
A classic story of perseverance, this story breaks the bat, quite literally. In the story, the Dark Knight takes down all his enemies one by one. Until Bane catches him in his worst form and cracks his back. Despite his broken spine, his spirit remains unbroken and he emerges on top.
The storyline is cherished by every Dark Knight fan. It even inspired The Dark Knight Rises, a masterpiece that concluded the Nolan trilogy.
4) Batman: The Long Halloween
The hero is nothing without its villain, this is the mantra writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale kept in mind for The Long Halloween. Released in 1996 – 97, the 13-issue series showcases the stories of Gotham's defender's extensive Rogues Gallery. Right from The Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, to Poison Ivy.
3) Batman: Year One
As the name suggests, Year One traces the first year of Bruce Wayne as the Bat. What makes this comic special is that the legendary writer Frank Miller took the larger-than-life mythology of Bat of Gotham and grounded it to reality.
This version of the Dark Knight gets hurt, gets shot, makes mistakes, and does everything that a new vigilante does. Year one also shows the story of Jim Gordan and his allegiance to the Caped Crusader.
The classic representation of the big bat disappearing amidst a swarm of bats owes its credit to Year One.
2) The Killing Joke
In 1998, master of graphic novels Allan Moore told a superhero story that was so dark it left comic book fans gasping for air. This brutal story raises philosophical questions that have become the foundation of the psychopathic clown. The Killing Joke went on to inspire the acclaimed 2019 film, Joker.
The story focuses on the Dark Knight, The Joker, and their age-old enemity. The question isn’t if The Killing Joke is more of a Batman or Joker story, but the question is what happens at the end? What happened in those famous ambiguous final 9 panels? Fans have been theorizing for ages. No one knows for sure, not even Allan Moore.
1) The Dark Knight Returns
There is an unspoken rule among die-hard comic book fans, whenever you see a comic book with the names ‘Batman’ and ‘Frank Miller’ together, you buy that comic in the skip of a heartbeat.
The 1986 four-issue comic book starring the caped crusader is not just the best DC story but one of the best graphic novels ever produced. With intricate weaving of mature themes, rough character designs, and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat, The Dark Knight Rises will keep you hooked throughout.
The story starts with a 50-year-old Bruce Wayne who retired from his duties as the Dark Knight for the past 10 years. Seeing his city turn into shambles, the Dark Knight re-emerges to clean Gotham of its filth one last time.
The story also pitted the two titans of DC, Batman and Superman, against each other, and the plot point went ahead to inspire the not-so-perfect Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.