Obscure Comics: The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises Prologues

There are comic book series almost every comic fan knows, there are comic book characters that most everyone knows, there are specific comic books most every comic reader knows, and then there are the more obscure issues that slip through the cracks.  What makes obscure comics so interesting and vital is discovering those books that most don't know were ever printed, or that top tier creators worked on "that book" or on "that character." Obscure Comics are fun to find, interesting to know about, but that border between being great reads and terrible comics.

So far, no Obscure Comics have been covered from DC, so let's get into several related Obscure Comics from the home of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

The Strange Story of Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy Comics as Batman Begins

Released in 2005, Christopher Nolan, off a screenplay written by himself and David Goyer, brought Batman back to cinemas with Batman Begins.  Starting what has come to be known as the Dark Knight Trilogy of movies, each movie based on decades of Batman stories, did not have a robust life in comic books.  Beginning with Batman Begins, comics done of the Dark Knight Trilogy were all adaptations, beginning with the Batman Begins The Official Movie Adaptation #1, adapted by Scott Beatty and drawn by Kilian Plunkett, which was collected in a trade paperback with four other Batman comics that "inspired the movie."

The only original comic material ever done for any of the trilogy comes from the DVD menu for Batman Begins Disc 2.  A viewer can access the special features normally or through a special 12-page comic, written by David Goyer and drawn again by Kilian Plunkett. This original story follows Batman trying to track down the Scarecrow after the events of Batman Begins (somewhat leading into the Dark Knight). Exposed to fear gas again, Batman fights an imaginary version of Ra's Al Ghul, mob boss Carmine Falcone, and the Scarecrow.  Realizing he is just seeing things, Batman is found by Alfred, though the Scarecrow escapes.  A fun, quick read, no physical copy was ever produced of this tale, but it can be found in the DVD menu for Disc 2 and online.

The other comic released for Batman Begins was a small square-bound digest included with copies of the Batman Begins DVD / Comic boxset. The 72-page comic featured reprints of "The Man Who Falls," originally from the Secret Origins TP from 1989, "The Bat-Man" from Detective Comics (Volume 1) #27, and "The Long Halloween, Chapter One" from Batman The Long Halloween #1.

Obscure Comics: The Dark Knight Prologue #1

Following Batman Begins, Nolan began work on the sequel the Dark Knight.  The market promotion for the movie was massive, and Batman Begins was re-released on DVD and (at the time) cutting age Blu-Ray.  These new editions included quite a few physical extras.  The Best Buy DVD release came with Movie Money, an exclusive Flash Drive with images from the Dark Knight, two Lenticular pieces showcasing artwork from Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight, and an exclusive five postcard set with images from Batman Begins.

The Blu-Ray Giftset also included Movie Money, but a different five postcard set, an exclusive DVD with the first six minutes of the Dark Knight, a different Lenticular piece with artwork from Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Special #1, an exclusive book showcasing the beginning part of the script and storyboard artwork, and the exclusive The Dark Knight Prologue #1 comic book.

The Dark Knight Prologue #1 was adapted by James Peaty and drawn by Steve Scott. A ten pages comic, with a mini poster in the middle of it featuring the theatrical poster from the Dark Knight featuring the Joker, the comic is an adaptation of the first scene of the Dark Knight.

Featuring ten pages of the Clown Gang robbing a "mob" bank with utter precision, culminating with the reveal the Joker is part of the gang, not just the planner for it, the comic is very obscure but is nothing original.  (The part on page 3, panel 2, where the Bank Manager enters a very specific password is odd for inclusion as it does appear in the script, but is very prominent.)

Featuring a near-exact adaptation just of the first few minutes of the movie, which is also on the bonus DVD, it is an odd comic.

The Dark Knight Special #1, also included in the set, also covers the same material but over 32 pages of inter-spliced storyboards, script excerpts, and stills from the movie.

A great look inside the making of the process from the script to storyboard to the movie, this tells the exact same material covered by the comic, but in a more interesting way.

Beyond these extras included only in the Batman Begins Blu-Ray Special Edition Giftset, no other comic book work was done for the Dark Knight. The comic can be found for purchase through secondary sources ranging from $6 to $15 dollars, with some Giftsets including all the extras going for $15 to $30.

Obscure Comics: The Dark Knight Rises Prologue #1

The Dark Knight Rises Prologue #1 is basically the exact same approach to comic adaptation The Dark Knight Prologue #1 was, covering the first big scene of the movie, as Bane infiltrates the CIA plane and abducts Dr. Leonid Pavel after destroying the CIA plane.

The difference here is that the marketing for the Dark Knight Rises was even more prevalent than for the Dark Knight, with Warner Bros entering into numerous promotional deals.  One of the biggest was with Nokia.  In 2012, most cell phone use was switching to iPhones or Android phones, so Nokia, in hopes of gaining some business, partnered with Warner Bros to release two features exclusively on Nokia phones.  One was the exclusive Batman Origins Comic Book App, that featuring Batman comics related to the Dark Knight RisesThe other was to release The Dark Knight Rises Prologue #1 exclusively as a motion comic on the Nokia phones, releasing in August of 2012, a month after the movie came out. The main note for this motion comic though, is the talent involved.  Written by current DC superstar writer Joshua Williamson before he was big, and current Batman artist for the Joker War arc, Jorge Jimenez, the comic is a word for word adaptation of the beginning of the movie but done very well.  The motion comic version is available to view on Youtube:

However, the comic was made available in a physical copy included in the Digi-Book version of the Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray/DVD set exclusive to Target.  It included along with production photos and information on the movie; the comic is included in the book/case that the discs are included in, printed on high-end glossy paper.  To find this on the secondary markets is a bit harder but still not very expensive, with copies ranging from $10 to $30, depending on condition.

The Dark Knight Rises Target Digibook Cover
The Dark Knight Rises Target Digibook Cover

Now while the Dark Knight Trilogy received next to no new comic book adventures, there is the Batman: Gotham Knight anime movie released in 2008, as well as three novels that were published set in the Dark Knight movie universe: Batman: Dead White, Batman: Fear Itself, and Batman: Inferno.  All three novels are pretty easy to find, and there are also audiobook versions as well from Graphic Audio if you want some new material set in the Nolanverse (though they are not fully cannon for the movies).

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About Ian Melton

Japanese Teacher, Comic Book, Manga, & Anime collector, LCBS worker, father of 2, fan of far too many things for far too long...
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