Well, it’s official- DC Entertainment is releasing a new Batman movie, with Ben Affleck in the title role, and potentially writing and/or directing. The story is shrouded in mystery so far, so I present an old top ten of mine- Ten Stories the New Bat-Movie WON’T be Based On!
Reports are out there that a new Batman movie is currently being developed by Warner Brothers, with Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns as the lead creative forces behind it. First of all, it’s great to see DC making this move that Marvel has since day one. In fact it’s a lot more involvement, as none of Marvel’s writers have never actually written one of the MCU movies. I’m sure that the movie will be based on some great comics, but there are definitely a few that it WON’T be based on. Some are too weird. Some are too dark. Some are prohibitively expensive. Some will just never happen. Here’s my favorites below.
SPOILERS from here on out!
- Detective Comics #241- “The Rainbow Batman!”
This story actually ends up having a sweet message. If you don’t think too hard about it. Then when you do think too hard about it...
At the beginning of the story, Robin injures his arm saving a young girl during a robbery. He begins hunting for the robbers, and notices Batman is wearing various brightly colored outfits instead of his normal grey and black.
They eventually catch the robbers. Batman then reveals the reason for why he was wearing the rainbow outfits- to distract the criminals so they wouldn’t notice Robin’s injury. Which is great, until you realize that this is essentially confirmation that Robin is dressed in bright colors to distract criminals from Batman...
2. Detective Comics #320- “Batman and Robin- The Mummy Crimefighters!”
Sometimes, it just seems like a silver age Batman story was reverse engineered. They’d come up with a bizarre cover, and let the writer figure out the story from there. That’s the only reason I can think of where this bizarre Batman story came from.
During an afternoon drive outside Gotham City, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson come across a crashed alien spaceship with a dead robot pilot (as happens often). A glowing green orb explodes within the ship, irradiating the dynamic duo, and turning their skin GREEN. Somehow, this also prevents them from wearing flesh colored make-up, which melts from their faces.
Obviously, this will give away their identities, so they come up with a scheme to hide what happened to them. They claim to have been exposed to radiation and wear full-body bandages to prevent the radiation from spreading to others. Vicki Vale suspects that there’s something strange afoot, as Batman and Robin being exposed to radiation at the same time Bruce and Dick turned green is too much of a coincidence... They successfully throw Vicki off the scent, but it’s just overly complicated... Hey comics, right?
3. Batman #147- Batman Becomes Bat-Baby
It’s as crazy as it sounds. A mad scientist named Garth devises a ray that will de-age its targets. A group of criminals get him to aid in their plots, which he goes along with. When Batman and Robin try to stop them, they make short work of the criminals, but Garth turns his ray on Batman. Within seconds, Batman is a toddler (while retaining his intelligence and adult strength?!) and the criminals escape. He promptly designs a child-size version of his costume (which barely looks like his costume, just sayin’), and sets out to find Garth.
After a few adventures as Bat-Baby, they find the crooks in a toy factory, and they fight long enough for Batman to get to the youth ray and restore himself to adult size.
4. Detective Comics #322- “The Bizarre Batman Genie”
I honestly can’t find more than a sentence synopsis of this story, but just look at that cover. Batman as a wish-granting genie at controlled by crooks! Who wouldn’t want to read that?
Apparently, a group of crooks get their hands on a magic powder, like is often just lying around in the Silver Age DC Universe. They use it on Batman, turning him into a genie.
Robin must then team-up with Bat-Girl (who is Bette Kane, not Barbara Gordon) to free Batman from the criminals’ clutches and return him to normal.
Stuff like this happened a lot in the Silver Age. I’ve got to wonder what life was like for DC Universe inhabitants that didn’t live in places like Gotham and Metropolis.
5. Batman & Dracula: Red Rain
In one of the most acclaimed Elseworlds stories, Batman found himself investigating several murders that he traced to a coven of vampires led by Dracula himself. Over the course of the story, he found himself drained of blood by vampires several times, leading to an increasingly vampiric transformation.
Batman is able to stop Dracula’s coven by luring them to the Batcave, then blowing up Wayne Manor and exposing them all to sunlight. He then is able to slay Dracula himself, losing his own humanity for good in the process.
Vampire Batman would go on to star in two more graphic novels, Bloodstorm and Crimson Mist, and is one of the most commonly re-appearing alternate Batmen.
6. The Dark Knight Strikes Again
The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most critically acclaimed Batman stories of all time. An aged and retired Bruce Wayne returns to the cape and cowl to save a dystopian Gotham from itself.
It’s sequel though, DKSA or DK2, was much less well received.
Essentially a story of Batman attempting to overthrow a dystopian America ruled by Lex Luthor and Brainiac, DKSA was insane. Although the basics are a great set-up to a Justice League story, the actual specifics are blood-soaked carnage, with multiple heroes and villains beaten bloody, maimed and murdered. The story even features Dick Grayson transformed into a new Joker, after the original was killed in the first Dark Knight miniseries.
7. Batman RIP
RIP is actually a critically acclaimed story, and insane in a good way. However, it’s incredibly complicated and relies on years worth of stories taking place both before and after the arc took place.
The criminal organization The Black Glove, led by Doctor Hurt who may or may not be Thomas Wayne, organizes a massive attack on Batman to rid the world of him once and for all. Using Bruce’s girlfriend Jezebel Jet (come on Bruce, with that name she has to be evil!), they attack him in the Batcave, drug him and dump him on the streets of Gotham. This triggers mental conditioning that Bruce has been preparing for years, and transforms him into a back-up personality called the Batman of Zur En Arrh.
Batman takes out much of the Black Glove, then is captured. Hurt buries him alive, planning on depriving him of oxygen just long enough to cause brain damage. However, Batman emerges alive with his facilities intact, and dismantles Black Glove with the help of the Bat-Family and the Club of Heroes. He confronts Hurt in a burning helicopter, which then explodes with both inside.
8. Batman: Knightfall
Knightfall was the storyline that started the annual tradition of a spawling Batman crossover in the 90’s. It’s also the story that really got the various Batman spin-offs rolling, as Catwoman and Robin’s long-running series both started around the story.
However the story itself is massive, with almost literally every Batman character ever appearing in its pages. The behemoth Bane plots a massive attack on Batman, starting with freeing all of his worst enemies from Arkham, and ending with attacking him in the Batcave and breaking his back. Bruce would ask a new supporting player- assassin Jean Paul Valley- to replace him while he recovered. Valley defeated Bane, but rapidly descended into insanity.
After Bruce had almost completely recovered, he returned to Gotham and, alongside his various allies, stopped the insane nu-Batman. After Dick Grayson wore the mantle for a few short months to allow Bruce to finish his recovery, Bruce fully returned to the mantle, proving that Bruce Wayne IS Batman.
9. No Man’s Land
Another of the massive Bat-crossovers of the 90’s/early 2000’s, No Man’s Land was a massive crossover that spanned a year-plus of Batman stories.
After an earthquake devastated Gotham, the US Government declared it beyond hope, a no man’s land, and cut it off from the rest of the nation. The citizens, police, and criminals of Gotham found themselves warring over the remains of the city, while Batman was initially absent.
The Bat returned to the city and helped the police gain ground, fighting off the various gangs and villains. Eventually Lex Luthor stepped in and convinced the government that Gotham was worth saving, and infused the city with money to rebuild. Various creative teams brought the story to life, and told a year’s worth of fantastic stories.
10: Batman #108 “The Story of Batman Jones”
And for a light one to end with...
Batman Jones was a child named after Batman after the Caped Crusader saved his parents’ life. He became Batman’s biggest fan, and tried to emulate the his idol for many of his early years, much to the chagrin and worry of the Dynamic Duo, who feared he would hurt himself or worse.
Then he got into stamp collecting.
And that was the end of the career of Batman Jones.
I’m not kidding.
(Top Image from Vulture.com. This post originally appeared July 10, 2015.)