Last week, Warner Bros. released the official credits for The Batman, and as with all superhero movies, there's a "Special Thanks" section for comic creators who made the character what he is (but won't get any money out of it). In the case of The Batman, it's a long list, likely indicative of the many and varied sources that filmmaker Matt Reeves drew from when trying to create a Batman story that felt both familiar and unique. Creators on the list range from the earliest artists of Golden Age comics to those who worked on the New 52 reboot.
While the list is all over the place, you can certainly take away some specifics. Stories like Batman: Zero Year, Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Year One and Batman: Gates of Gotham are very well-represented. So are the detective-themed stories of the 1970s, from creators like Dennis O'Neil, Neal Adams, Steve Englehart, and Marshall Rogers.
Listed alphabetically, and sourced from the official credits for the film released by Warner Bros., here's a rundown of who got "special thanks" and why:
Neal Adams is a legendary comics artist with definitive runs on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Deadman, and Batman. It was Adams, along with writer Dennis O'Neil, who reinvented Batman as a gritty, grounded warrior of the night after the campy silliness of the Silver Age.
Jim Aparo is an award-winning artist who worked on The Brave and the Bold, Batman and the Outsiders, and Batman for years, drawing stories like "A Death in the Family" and "Knightfall" before passing away in 2005.
Brian Azzarello is an acclaimed comic book writer whose resume includes 100 Bullets and the 2011 relaunch of Wonder Woman, upon which much of the movie is based. His foray into writing for Batman has resulted in a number of influential stories, from the detective-driven Batman: Broken City to the hits Joker and Batman: The Damned, which he wrote for artist Lee Bermejo.
Lee Bermejo, as noted above, is the artist of the best-selling Batman: Damned and The Joker, as well as Lex Luthor: Man of Steel and Before Watchmen: Rorschach.
Ed Brubaker was a longtime Batman writer who also tackled Gotham Central, the comic widely believed to be the inspiration for Matt Reeves's upcoming The Batman spinoff Gotham P.D. for HBO Max. It was Brubaker and artist Darwyn Cooke who reinvented Catwoman and gave her the leather suit and goggles that have now been her standard for years.
Greg Capullo is the best-selling artist of dozens of Batman issues set during and after DC's "New 52" line-wide relaunch. He and writer Scott Snyder were responsible for Batman's "Zero Year" story, which provided The Batman with numerous visual elements, including pieces of the costume and the imagery of the motorcycle-driving Batman.
Bronwyn Carlton is a novelist and comics writer who worked on the Batman titles during "No Man's Land," an influential 1990s story that saw Gotham City cut off from the rest of the world following an Earthquake. She also had a run on Catwoman.
Darwyn Cooke is one of the most beloved comic book writers and artists of the modern era. Besides comics themselves, he has worked in animation, notably on Batman Beyond. In 2000, he wrote the acclaimed story Batman: Ego, and would go on to develop Catwoman's new look with writer Ed Brubaker as part of their run on her book.
Chuck Dixon was the definitive Batman writer of the 1990s, working with luminaries like Dennis O'Neil and Jim Aparo to craft dozens of popular stories, including the "Knightfall" storyline which served as the inspiration for The Dark Knight Rises. He also wrote a long, popular run on Catwoman with artist Jim Balent, which helped to revitalize her popularity and flesh out her backstory.
Steve Englehart is a comics writer whose 1970s run on Detective Comics helped to reshape Batman for a wider audience almost as much as Neal Adams's did, but who gets much less credit for it. Working with artist Marshall Rogers, Englehart crafted some beloved Batman stories and dug deep into the "Dark Detective" part of his personality. There's a valuable resource at 13th Dimension that examines the Englehart/Rogers run in detail, complete with retrospective interviews with Englehart.
Gary Frank is a well-known comics artist whose most familiar works primariliy deal with the Superman family of characters, from Supergirl to Superman and the Legion to Doomsday Clock. Along the way, though, he and writer Geoff Johns did the modernized origin story Batman: Earth One. The Earth One line of graphic novels seemed to be designed at the outset to serve as the inspiration for film and TV adaptations.
Edmond Hamilton was a science fiction writer who turned to comics for a time during his career, writing Superman and Batman stories in the 1940s through the 1960s. He wrote for Batman, Detective Comics, and the Batman/Superman team-up book World's Finest during his career, and one of his stories ("The Clash of Cape and Cowl" in World's Finest Comics #153) was the source of the widely-used internet meme that shows Batman slapping Robin.
Fun fact: Hamilton was married to science fiction writer Leigh Brackett, who worked on The Empire Strikes Back!
Bob Haney was a prolific Silver Age writer credited with creating the Teen Titans. He wrote on the Batman team-up title The Brave and the Bold for years, and helped co-create DC villains like Copperhead and Eclipso.
Kyle Higgins co-wrote the "Gates of Gotham" story with Scott Snyder, as well as creating Nightrunner, an Islamic, French superhero who was "The Batman of Paris." He wrote for Nightwing after the 2011 DC relaunch, and later was part of the creative team on Batman Eternal.
Geoff Johns is one of the best-selling comics writers of the modern era, having penned stories like Blackest Night, Infinite Crisis, and Flashpoint. His run on Shazam! was the basis for the film adaptation, and he (with artist Gary Frank) helped modernize Batman's origins in Batman: Earth One, a trilogy of graphic novels.
Staz Johnson is an artist who worked briefly on Detective Comics in the mid-1990s before leaving that title to take on long runs on Robin and Catwoman.
Steve Lieber is a comics artist best known for his work on the graphic novel Whiteout with writer Greg Rucka. The two would reteam for a run on Detective Comics.
Jeph Loeb, the former head of Marvel Television and Smallville veteran, has written some of the most influential Batman stories of the modern era, including Batman: Hush and Batman: The Long Halloween. Both of those have been adapted as animated movies, and The Long Halloween is one of the biggest influences on The Batman.
David Mazzuchelli was the artist on the acclaimed Batman: Year One with writer Frank Miller, which in spite of numerous rewrites over the years continues to be the gold standard when it comes to telling Batman's origin.
Trevor McCarthy is a comics artist best known for his work with DC. He worked on the Batman titles as well as Batman: Eternal, Nightwing, and the Scott Snyder/Kyle Higgins collaboration Batman: Gates of Gotham.
Frank Miller is the definitive Batman writer and artist of the 1980s. His Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns are the most often-cited Batman stories in the character's publishing history when it comes to film and TV adaptations.
Graham Nolan is a comic artist who worked for years on the Batman titles alongside writer Chuck Dixon. The pair not only co-created Bane together but helped to reinvent many of Gotham's villains.
Irv Novick was a comic book artist who worked from 1939 all the way through the 1990s. During that time, he worked on the first issue of The Brave and the Bold, helped create The Ten-Eyed Man, Duela Dent, and The Electrocutioner, and drew the issue in which writer Frank Robbins revealed that Alfred's last name is Pennyworth.
Dennis O'Neil was a writer and editor whose contributions to Batman cannot be overstated. From working with Neal Adams on the definitive 1970s run through editing the Bat titles throughout the 1990s, to co-creating Ra's al Ghul (with Neal Adams) and Azrael (with Joe Quesada), O'Neil's fingerprints were on nearly every major Batman story from the 1970s until the turn of the century.
Jerry Robinson was one of Batman's earliest artitsts, working on the Bat-family of titles throughout the 1940s. He is best known as the co-creator of Robin and The Joker.
Marshall Rogers is the fan-favorite artist behind one of the best-loved runs on Detective Comics. Working with artist Steve Englehart, he drew stories that helped redefine Gotham, The Joker, and more. He also redesigned the character of Deadshot, giving him the look that made him recognizable in Suicide Squad.
Greg Rucka is the writer behind dozens of comics and graphic novels, including Stumptown, Whiteout, and The Old Guard. During his time at DC, he had an acclaimed run on the Batman titles, helping to shape the character through stories like Bruce Wayne: Fugitive. Rucka, who has also written mystery and thriller books, leaned into the "detective" part of Detective Comics during his years on the title.
Tim Sale is an acclaimed comic book artist responsible for Batman: The Long Halloween, a book that not only influenced The Batman but was at one point being considered for a direct adaptation.
Jack Schiff was a comic book writer and editor primarily active in the 1940s through the 1960s. He worked on dozens of Batman stories as well as the Batman newspaper strip, but is best known as being the writer who introduced the Bat-Signal.0comments
Scott Snyder is the best-selling writer of dozens of Batman issues set during and after DC's "New 52" line-wide relaunch. He and artist Greg Capullo were responsible for Batman's "Zero Year" story, which provided The Batman with numerous visual elements, including pieces of the costume and the imagery of the motorcycle-driving Batman.
Dick Sprang was one of the most influential early Batman artists, working with writer Bill Finger to create numerous villains for Gotham City including The Riddler himself. He also created the popular villain Firefly with France Herron.