There are actually several "canons" to the Batman series so you can't pin things down to being true or false. There are three major things in play with Batman- alternate universes, non-canon, and new 52.
Basically you've got the original continuum or universe which Batman originally was set in but DC has multiple universes. Some stories are set in these alternate universes some with different histories and different characters.
There are also some specials that are considered non-canon. These aren't even set in alternate universes. The stories are sometimes acclaimed for their stories and art but are not actually considered part of Batman's story. I guess you could consider them more closer to how you would regard fanfiction even though they were published by DC.
The third thing happened in September 2011 and is called New 52. In most long running multi-writer series in publication and tv, there is something known as a series bible. This goes back to what i was saying about things being canon or not. The bible is conventions that are set in stone for the series. Character bios, events in lives, places that things can be set in, etc are all worked out and often written down for an author to refer to when writing. Some things are worked out and never published while other things are established by the writers and written into the bible. They are written to keep things consistent. In 2011 all of the bibles for DC series were pretty much thrown out. The series bibles were re-written, tightening plot and character histories but also disregarding or changing things that existed in the old ones. The series that were relaunched under the New 52 tag.
Films based on comics are oftentimes either considered a separate universe (which may or may not have a bible) or non-canon. The Nolan trilogy mostly stands on it's own as it's a series reboot. Basically it's the directors vision of Batman and is more closer to be considered non-canon. The closest comics that are considered to have influenced the films were Year One, The Man Who Falls, The Long Halloween, and Dark Victory.
Because of the relaunch of the series I more of recommend the September 2011 issue of the main series as a good starting place. If you are looking into reading Batman from the actual start, he first appeared in Detective Comics. Also mind there have been over two dozen running series with batman over the years, so it's a pretty big feat.
· 7 years ago