Was Friday's Dark Knight Rises attack in Aurora, CO, predicted or even inspired by a page in a Batman comic book?
It's a question some people are asking after getting their hands on a Dark Knight Returns comic published nearly 30 years ago.
The comic is said to be the inspiration for much of the Dark Knight movie series. However, Batman has protected the streets of Gotham in comic books since 1940, and since then there's a lot of him to go around.
"How many total Batman comics available? There's thousands," said Robert Young, owner of Borderlands Comics.
Flipping through all those pages, however, there's only one scene that could resemble the Aurora massacre, Young said.
It's six panels in The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. In it, a man sneaks a handgun into a movie theater and kills three.
"It's not at all like the situation that occurred," said Young. "He didn't have armor, he didn't sneak in a side door and there was no tear gas."
Batman's parents were shot and killed leaving a movie theater, and other villains have used tear gas. However, Young believes there is no connection between the story and Friday's killings.
"I don't think you could convince me it had anything to do with the comic," said Young. "These situations don't resemble each other much."
But was suspected shooter James Holmes attempting to make himself into a Batman-worthy villain?
"The idea of Batman is he is against guns," said Young. "He's created by a horrible crime and he tries to prevent that from happening to others."
Still, Young said Holmes doesn't fit the mold.
"They tend to be much bigger stories because they are telling the stories on such an epic scale," said Young. "They don't tend to be on small scale like that."
One Borderlands customer said no one can be sure if a comic book could have inspired a real-life tragedy.
"I think people always want to turn it into something, but we don't know what's going on in this guy's mind yet, you don't know what the answer is," said customer Travis Johnson.
Authorities have confirmed when apprehended in Colorado, suspected shooter James Holmes said "I am the joker," and had painted his hair red. At this time, there is no clear indication as to his motives.
ABOUT THE VIDEO ABOVE THAT CONTAINS THE SIX PANELS:
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a four-issue comic book limited series comprising The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Triumphant, Hunt The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Falls, written and drawn by Frank Miller, originally published by DC Comics under the title Batman: The Dark Knight in 1986.
When the issues were released in a collected edition later that year, the story title for the first issue was applied to the series as a whole. The Dark Knight Returns tells the story of a 55-year-old Bruce Wayne who comes out of retirement to fight crime, only to face opposition from the Gotham City police force and the United States government.
A sequel (written again by Miller), The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was published in 2001.