Nothing like a good Batman rumor on a Saturday afternoon. This rumor, however, is one we’ve been hearing for a while. In November, we ran a story speculating that Tom Hardy would be playing Dr. Hugo Strange, “a genius, mad scientist who becomes obsessed with Batman, learns his secret identity and ends up dressing up like him,” in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. One of Strange’s most famous roles is in the Batman: Prey storyline, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy and Terry Austin from late 1990 to early 1991. It begins with a task force, headed by Commissioner Gordon, assigned to hunt Batman and devolves into Dr. Strange dressing up as, and psychologically toying with, Batman and Bruce Wayne once he figures out his identity. Interesting. Doesn’t Batman become a fugitive to be “hunted” at the end of The Dark Knight? Sounds like a good place to start. Read more after the jump.

Ain’t It Cool News is the latest place to report the rumor that Prey is the story inspiration for The Dark Knight Rises but sites like Collider, Entertainment Weekly, and Total Film either ran a similar rumor, or just took a wild stab at it, weeks ago. (It seems like it originated over at a site called Scriptflags.)

However, some people have commented that it’s almost too easy to just grab Prey and say it’s The Dark Knight Rises and that “it’s not a particularly cinematic story,” according to Devin Faraci at Badass Digest. That might be true and the most recent AICN piece addresses that:

I’m fairly positive that this team is putting their own particular spin on it – but how many of you want to see a crazy fucking Tom Hardy dressing up like Batman? I know I do.

And that’s how Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, as well as David Goyer, have went with the last two Batman films. Neither have been straight adaptations of classic Batman stories. Each has picked and chosen from several classics like Year One, The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween, so the simple fact that Prey begins in a place that fits in perfectly with where The Dark Knight ends means it’s a very safe bet to have some, even if it’s not total, influence on the story. Plus, it does feature Catwoman in a minor capacity, which would lend itself to the casting rumors that Nolan is looking for another female lead.

Wikipedia has a pretty extensive and awesome rundown of Batman: Prey that you can check out and the Amazon page (where you can buy a copy of the out of print graphic novel for a cool $600 dollars) has a few as well. After reading them, all aspects of the story fit so well into Nolan’s realistic universe that it almost feels like you are reading an official plot description.

CORRECTION: We were contacted by Steve Englehart to let us know that the “first time” the Prey storyline appeared was in Detective Comics #471-472, which was later reprinted in Strange Apparitions which was written by Englehart and Len Wein with art by Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin and Walter Simonson. Thanks for the heads up.

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