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Batman's comic-book roots

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Director Nolan didn’t base this Batman installment on any one comic book, but seems to have drawn from several graphic collections. A viewer’s guide.

Batman: The Long Halloween (1996), by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
Not exactly the blueprint for The Dark Knight, but close. This collection (originally a 13-issue series) finds the Caped Crusader early in his crime-fighting career as he works with Lieut. Jim Gordon and DA Harvey Dent to bring a lunatic to justice — a calendar killer called Holiday. It also details the events that lead up to Dent first calling himself Two-Face.

Batman: The Killing Joke (1988), by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
Perhaps the definitive take on the Clown Prince of Crime, this graphic novella presented a vision of the Joker as an anarchic storm to be weathered (and who admits to recasting his own biography all the time). And it amplifies one of the themes from another Bat-essential book, Arkham Asylum: that Batman and the Joker are both insane men who’ve made insane choices.

Batman: Year One (1987), by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
Miller, the creator of the landmark The Dark Knight Returns, focuses his narrative skills on Batman’s origin story, detailing Bruce Wayne’s first baby steps out of the Batcave. Year One establishes the bond between Batman and Gordon: Batman rescued Gordon’s infant child. And that trust anchors the finale of The Dark Knight with a deep resonance.

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