‘A reading list’ is a new series that suggests good reading material that is either related to a particular film or TV show or something that enhances the understanding of the topics, plot elements, or themes that film or TV show explores.
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight released in 2008 and changed superhero movies forever. Heath Ledger’s casting as Joker had been controversial. But when the film hit screens, nobody complained. Ledger infused the role with deadly charisma and eerie mannerisms, which Nolan later admitted were devised by the actor himself.
This was no goofy prankster. This was a malevolent, murderous agent of chaos. Batman, that world’s greatest detective, struggled to understand the enigma of Joker. He sought a rationale, and was horrified to discover that there is none.
Wish to get a deeper understanding of the movie and mythos of Batman? Here are a few comic series and graphic novels you should read:
Batman: The Long Halloween
One of those essential Batman reads, The Long Halloween was the major inspiration when The Dark Knight was being written by Nolan and David Goyer. The story is about a mysterious killer in Gotham called Holiday who kills people only on holidays.
The Dark Knight Returns
While Batman was always a dark, complex character with more depth than your typical comic-book superhero, it was with Frank Miller’s seminal 1986 comic-book story The Dark Knight Returns that Gotham City’s protector became the man we know – dark, brooding, tactically brilliant and, when needed, utterly ruthless.
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Batman: Year One
Another Frank Miller book, Year One is about the Caped Crusader’s first year of crime-fighting and also traces the rise of Gotham police detective James Gordon.
Batman: The Killing Joke
Alan Moore’s landmark graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke is not specifically about Batman, but explores the relationship between him and his most famous nemesis, Joker. In Moore’s take, the man we know as Joker had been a failed comedian who became insane due to circumstances and the message is that a normal man is just a bad day away from total insanity. But there is an enigma there too. At one point, the Joker says, “If I have to have a past, then I prefer it to be multiple choice,” leaving the reader nonplussed.
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