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DID YOU READ

Five comics to read before (or after) you see “The Dark Knight Rises”

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The Dark Knight Rises” finally arrives in theaters this week, capping off Christopher Nolan’s record-breaking trilogy of Batman films that took Gotham’s favorite vigilante to a far darker place than he’s ever been on the big screen.

With the conclusion of Nolan’s arc looming large, it seemed like a good time to offer up a set of comics that will supplement your “Dark Knight Rises” experience by providing some backstory on certain characters introduced in the film, as well as some tonal accompaniment to the trilogy’s grand finale. The following list of comics won’t spoil anything in the film, so you’re welcome to check them out before or after watching “The Dark Knight Rises” — it’s entirely up to you.

So, without further ado, your list of must-read material for “The Dark Knight Rises” begins below.


Batman: Knightfall, Vol. 1 & 2

Originally published in the mid-1990s, the “Knightfall” story arc famously told of the villain Bane’s ascent through Gotham’s underworld and his epic clash with Batman that would leave Bruce Wayne paralyzed and out of commission for a lengthy period (by comics standards, at least). The series was written by a long list of authors well-known for their work in the Batman universe, including Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, Dennis O’Neil, and Doug Moench, and spanned more than a year of issues that chronicled Bane’s rise, Batman’s defeat, and a period in which Bruce Wayne sought an the heir to the cape and cowl. Later chapters would see Bruce Wayne recover from his injuries and set out to retake his mantle and rebuild Gotham’s trust in its shadowy protector.


Batman: No Man’s Land

This 1999 story arc followed Batman and a supporting cast of (occasionally reluctant) heroes as they tried to protect the inhabitants of Gotham after the city is cut off from the rest of the world due to a catastrophic earthquake. Written by a long list of award-winning authors, “No Man’s Land” chronicles the city’s initial fall into chaos in the aftermath of the earthquake, and the subsequent carving-up of Gotham by its heroes and villains. The isolation of Gotham provides a major plot point in “The Dark Knight Rises,” and you’ll find a lot of similarities in the tone of “No Man’s Land” and the new film. In many ways, “No Man’s Land” tells the story that lies just underneath the surface of “The Dark Knight Rises.”


Catwoman: The Dark End of the Street

In 2002, Catwoman got a brand new series of her own, with the award-winning duo of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Darwyn Cooke crafting her adventures in Gotham’s East End. This critically acclaimed series kicks off with the search for Selina Kyle, who had been missing and presumed dead, and her subsequent decision to become the protector of one of Gotham’s worst neighborhoods. Anne Hathaway makes her debut as Selina Kyle in “The Dark Knight Rises,” and her take on the character has a lot in common with this series’ morally ambiguous heroine. This volume of Catwoman earned heaps of accolades during its run, and offers a great place way to get more acquainted with the modern incarnation of DC’s most famous cat burglar.


Batman: Legacy

This 1996 series by writers Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Alan Grant includes prominent roles for many of the characters seen in “The Dark Knight Rises,” including Bane, Catwoman, and of course, Batman himself. “Legacy” chronicles the outbreak of a deadly plague in Gotham and Batman’s attempts to locate a cure. Forced to leave the city and travel all the way to the Middle East, Batman must seek help from some unlikely sources, and survive a run-in with The League of Assassins — the shadowy organization run by Ra’s al Ghul. Given all of the character overlap with “The Dark Knight Rises” in this story arc, this is must-read material for anyone who wants another looks at the dynamic between all of these heroes and villains.


Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

One of the most famous stories by Sin City creator Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns is also widely regarded as one of the greatest Batman stories ever written. Occurring well outside the character’s traditional continuity, The Dark Knight Returns is set long after Bruce Wayne has retired from policing Gotham’s streets. Prompted to become Batman once again, the 55-year-old recluse returns to the streets, only to face tough opposition from the Gotham City Police Department, the U.S. government, and one of his former super-powered allies. Much like “The Dark Knight Rises,” Miller’s classic tale explores the nature of a post-Batman city and what it would take to bring a bruised and battered Dark Knight back into action.


Any other Batman story arcs you’d recommend? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…