As of late, all of the focus regarding comics has been about the live-action adaptations. However, some of the best comic movies have come in the form of animated movies. Particularly, DC has dished out some amazing content under their animated division and given us things like Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Under the Red Hood, The Dark Knight Returns pt. 1 & 2, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and the list goes on. They have figured out a way to translate the comics to animation in a way that is interesting, engaging, and overall well-done. With the recent announcement of The Killing Joke being adapted into an animated feature, and it going a bit under the radar, I figured I'd shed some light on other important Batman comics that deserve DC's animated treatment. Let's get nerdy!
5. Death of the Family
This series is about Joker's reign of terror against the entire Bat-Family. In this series we get to see how truly cunning Joker really is, whilst also seeing his true motivations come to light. The Joker kidnaps and brainwashes Alfred, kidnaps the entire Bat-Family, and forces Batman to concede to defeat. Throughout the entire story he plays sick jokes on them in an attempt to break their spirits. He really wants nothing more than Batman all to himself, for he believes the sidekicks and helpers have made him weak.
I think this would suite an animated adaptation because we get the added inclusion of the Bat-Family and Harley. However, it's also a great look into the motivations of the Joker who is often considered to be just a maniacal psychopath. It would be interesting to see the visuals of the surgically removed faces as well (even though it would be gruesome!)
Knightfall is a trilogy of comics where the mantle of the Batman undergoes some huge changes. First off, Bane orchestrates a situation where Batman must exert a huge amount of energy in order to stop villains that Bane is using to distract Batman. Finally, when Batman captures them, he faces off against Bane. In his weakened state, Batman is no match for the genius monstrosity. Having his back broken, he enlists the help of Azrael who later defeats Bane as the new Batman. Batman must then reclaim the mantle of The Dark Knight from Azrael.
I think this huge story could be adapted into not just one, but several animated features. It gives a lot of depth to one of Batman's greatest foes, Bane, as well as introduces Azrael. This would be a great way to showcase a different take on Batman, while also keeping Tim Drake and Nightwing involved. With this being an animated adaptation, it could be much truer to the original material, unlike the Dark Knight Rises. I would love to see Bane breaking the Bat, and then Azrael breaking Bane. Those are some of my favorite moments in Batman comics.
3. Dark Victory
Dark Victory is the sequel comic to The Long Halloween. In it we see the new "Hangman" killer and also delve further into the descent of Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face although he is not entirely villainous yet.
We have already seen a Year One animated movie, and I think it would be great to get a continuation to that original compilation of stories. Although The Long Halloween is better in my opinion, Dark Victory gives us a great send off into what would become Batman's defining moments in his crusade against crime. I would love to see an animated version of young Dick Grayson just signing on with Batman and still proving himself. I would also love to see Two-Face struggling with his now villainous side, while also trying to prove his innocence in the Hangman murders. I just think there is a lot of potential for a story as rich and well-written as this one.
2. The Long Halloween
The Long Halloween is one of the greatest Batman stories ever told. We see an extended story of gang violence, good vs. evil, good turning into evil, and the inefficiency of the law in Gotham. The story introduces us to the villain we now know as Two-Face, but gives us a great look at his run as district attorney. We also get Selina Kyle helping the Bat, as well as dating Bruce Wayne. The Joker is jealous of the Holiday Killer, and acts out by trying to kill even more people than usual. By the end of the story we see the two major crime families, Maroni and Falcone, crippled by the murders, Harvey's full transformation into the villain Two-Face, and Batman pushed to the limits by the betrayal of his once friend, Harvey Dent.
The Long Halloween is an obvious choice for WB and DC to make an animated film on. It would be a great way to tell the true comic version of the live-action The Dark Knight. We would be able to see a great bridge between Batman's beginnings fighting mobsters, to his later years fighting fully-fledged super-villains. I also think the stylized art in The Long Halloween would lend itself well to animation, and give us a Batman and co. that we haven't seen before onscreen.
Out of all the comics that haven't been adapted, Hush is by far my favorite. Even of those that have been adapted, Hush is still in my top 3. Hush is the story of the villain of the same name, orchestrating plots with a large majority of Batman's rogues, to kill Batman.
Having already created an Under the Red Hood animated film, it would make sense to make a Hush animated film. Hush could help give better context as to where Batman and his allies are in their careers, as well as directly lead into that story-line. Besides that it has great scope and an amazing roster of heroes and villains. All of the motivations of each villain could also make this story feel like the most well-rounded of any animated film thus far. I would actually be more excited for this comic being adapted for animation than I currently am after hearing The Killing Joke is being adapted.
So there you have it folks. Those are my top 5 Batman comics that should be animated movies. Please, as always, let me know what you all thought in the poll and comments below. I always appreciate your input! Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey and on MoviePilot.com/HaneyCasey!