Only seen the films but fancy reading about the Dark Knight in comic book form? Here are some great entry points…
The Dark Knight Returns
Read if you liked: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight Rises
In 1986, Frank Miller completely reinvented Batman as the gritty hero we know today. In The Dark Knight Returns, we meet an aged Bruce Wayne who is compelled to take up the cape once again when Gotham is overrun with violent teen gangs. A much more cynical version of the usual DC universe, it also features a death-match between Batman and Superman. If you loved Ben Affleck’s Batman in BvS, read this.
Batman: Year One
Read if you liked: Batman Begins, Gotham
What better place to start reading Batman comics than with the one that covers his beginning?
Shortly after detailing the tail end of Batman’s career, Frank Miller revised his origins with Batman: Year One – which retold the tale of Bruce Wayne’s first few months on the job and how he helped bring down Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcone, the biggest mob boss in Gotham. The graphic novel also details the start of idealistic detective Jim Gordon’s career on the force.
The Killing Joke
Read if you liked: Batman, The Dark Knight
The third comic from the 1980s that shook Batman’s world forever, comics supremo Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) wrote the definitive story of the Joker and Batman’s eternal rivalry in The Killing Joke. It also changed the fate of one major member of the Batfamily in a move that remains controversial to this day. Read this if you love the on-screen Jokers, as it was a big influence on both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s takes on the part.
The Long Halloween
Read if you liked: The Dark Knight, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: The Animated Series
The Long Halloween follows a year in Batman’s life as he searches for the Holiday serial killer, who only murders people on holidays, one each month. It also details the tragic descent of Harvey Dent from principled District Attorney to Two-Face. Plus, there are lots of great cameos for most of Batman’s rogues gallery. A must-read for fans who love Batman’s enemies just as much as the hero himself.
Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
Read if you liked: Batman Returns
On the surface this is a strange one to start with, as Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? tells the tale of Batman’s funeral – attended by all his friends and foes. However, as Batman’s ghost watches the event, it manages to be a love letter to the Batman legend and the character’s enduring popularity. From fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, it has a more supernatural atmosphere than most Batman stories but should appeal if you like the weirdness of Batman Returns.
The Court of Owls
Read if you liked: Gotham
In 2011, DC rebooted their comics universe with The New 52 which also ushered in a strong new era of Batman comics. From Scott Snyder, The Court of Owls reveals that the World’s Greatest Detective has never known about Gotham’s greatest secret all these years – the ancient and all-powerful secret society, the Court of Owls. This one isn’t as standalone as the others on this list, as the story continues in later arcs, but it is still a great jumping on point for beginners.