Everyone has their most favorite Batman stories, and most are pretty popular. With 75 years of stories under their utility belt DC has no shortage that could be made into some pretty good flicks. We’ve now seen the likes of The Killing Joke made into an animated film and of course it was AMAZING. Combing through the plethora of stories, and omitting the obvious choices like Year One and The Dark Knight Returns, here is the Clown Queen of Crime’s top picks of story arc’s that should be made into films:
Batman: Knightfall (1993-94)
Everybody knows of the time that Bane broke the Bat’s back. Well this story arc is where it all goes down. After Bane tries to make Batman a pretzel, Bruce Wayne is out of commission to go roaming the streets looking for crime. Many things happen in this story that transforms the Bat-world altogether. Bruce takes on an apprentice, Jean-Paul Valley, who becomes increasingly more violent and tarnishes the Bat’s reputation. He is eventually stopped, and Bruce is healed by supernatural means in order to take up the cape and cowl again. We all know Jean-Paul eventually becomes Azrael, and Batman decides it’s too dangerous to work alone, creating the modern Bat-family as we know it. This would be perfect as a film for both fans and non-fans alike. It shows the beginning of characters and stories we all know, but also delves very deep since Batman himself is already very established by this point.
Mad Love is the most iconic Joker and Harley story out there (and of course one of my personal favorites). It tells us how Harleen Quinzel became Harley Quinn from Joker’s twisted and controlling grip on the good doctor. It touches on domestic abuse, how powerful love can be, and a few more lewd acts. “C’mon Puddin’, don’t you wanna rev up your Harley?” The story was introduced as a Batman: The Animated Series episode but it didn’t quite do the story justice since there was a lot that had to be cut out or re-worked since you know, it is a children’s show. There’s definitely enough material and with Joker and Harley being so hot on the silver screen right now this would be a perfect addition to the DCEU films, animated or not.
The Long Halloween
The Long Halloween is one of the greatest Batman graphic novels out there. It involves so many of the Rogues’ Gallery and follows Batman trying to solve the deaths of some prominent people in Gotham at the hands of the Holiday Killer who vows to strike each holiday. Sounds like the guy is taking a leaf out of Calendar Man’s book. Either way, it’s action packed, full of familiar faces, and even tells the story (one of many anyways) of how Harvey Dent became Two-Face. Who wouldn’t want to see this as a film? It’s perfect!
A Death in the Family
Poor Jason Todd…it was the DC Community’s fault the poor guy died in the first place since nobody liked him as Dick Grayson’s replacement. He just wasn’t the Robin we all know and love. This iconic story tells of Jason Todd’s death at the hands of the Joker and his trusty crowbar and bombs. As much as we love him as Red Hood and not Robin, this story is still pretty amazing. And we get to see Joker. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
Of course just by the title you can figure out where this story is going. Batman enters the loony bin to quell a raging riot only to find secrets and mysteries that plague the asylum thanks to founder Amadeus Arkham. This graphic novel influenced the first game in the Rocksteady Arkham series, and man is it creepy. This is one of Grant Morrison’s best works and would be a majorly awesome film. You get to see many of the Rogues’ Gallery, and delve deep into the mystery of the asylum itself. It’s completely creepy, scary, and a major psychological horror. We see the Batman stories for what they really are; dark, gritty, and sometimes utterly disgusting.
The Court of the Owls
The Court of Owls is one of the most popular storylines out there right now, and has even made an appearance in the Arkham game series. The Court goes way back to the 1600s in Gotham and was a conspiracy theory for centuries until Batman found out they weren’t a myth. We get to see Batman at one of the lowest points of his life, barely escaping from their grasp after catching their attention as Bruce Wayne. Wayne wants to rebuild Gotham for the future and they don’t like that idea, so of course the best idea is let’s kill Bruce Wayne. Their “court” is highly complex, and honestly a little confusing trying to make sense of everything, but the story itself is amazing. This can be a huge action-packed flick with a bit of psychological torture thrown in. The Court themselves are newer (introduced in 2011) but has no shortage of fans to make this a great film.
The Man Who Laughs
We have seen smidgens of this comic in past films and episodes but we have never fully seen this bad boy in silver screen action. It has already been said that the influence for the Joker was taken from Conrad Veidt’s iconic film portrayal in the 1928 silent film of the same name. So of course this Joker origin story would be named for said influence. Who doesn’t love a classic Joker origin story? The Killing Joke was amazing, and when done correctly this can be too. So…if it’s an animated film…can we please have Mark Hamill DC?!
The Black Mirror
The Black Mirror is interesting since we have Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Red Robin. Here we have strictly just Batman, not the men underneath kind of story. Horrible hallucinogens, weird guy trying to sell funky artifacts, Batman almost loses, villain is defeated but no exploded body. Typical night in Gotham City honestly. It’s one messy story since Joker gets involved, he’s mad that Batman isn’t HIS Batman, James Gordon Jr. returns, it’s one hell of a ride. If you want a good, deep, (and also weird) story, this is the one. The best part is, it even fits Snyder’s beat sheet for those of you who ever had to deal with those horrid things. Story=movie gold!
Who DOESN’T in the Batman Universe know the story of Hush? I tried to stay away a bit from obvious choices, but this one I couldn’t help myself. This sends you for a loop. We’ve got Scarecrow doing random things, Harley and Joker kill Bruce’s friend Thomas Elliott, Thomas helped Bruce from ya know, not dying, Thomas is assumed to be Hush, we find out it’s really Riddler who orchestrated the whole plot against Bruce, Batman and Catwoman are romantically involved as we all know and love…WOW. Of course there’s a lot more to it, but you have to read it in order to fully appreciate the story or…put it as a film! We have death, murder, destruction, plot twists, romance, damsels in distress, everything you can ever look for in a movie. If Neil Patrick Harris is the Riddler, I’m sold let’s do this.
Batman Reborn (Batman & Robin #1-6 2009-10)
Bruce Wayne is dead. Supposedly. This story arc follows the events of Batman R.I.P. where Bruce dies and it’s up to Dick to take over the mantle. Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son with Talia al Ghul, take on the role of Robin. Even though Bruce is gone, it’s still pretty popular. A lot of questions pop up that we as fans would think are obvious. Like why didn’t Dick put Bruce in the Lazarus Pit right away?! Who CARES if it changes him a bit we have Bruce back! But obviously he didn’t think of that. In order to make this a really good film, I think they should use all the info up to issue #26 since #6 kinda just leaves you hanging. Unless you’re gonna make a sequel or it ends perfectly, you don’t end on a cliffhanger! But it would still make a great film and hopefully redeem the horrors of Chris O’Donnell.