The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel’s Greatest Hits
♦ Since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has just opened at the cinema in the US and UK, here is our Senior Writer Andrew Colman’s pick of the 10 most important Batman and Superman comics…
- Detective Comics 27. 1st appearance of the Caped Crusader, with his secret identity revealed to be Bruce Wayne. Second only to Action Comics 1 in terms of importance (and value!) within the hobby.
- Detective Comics 38. First appearance of Robin. For some reason Superman was never given a kid sidekick, but the DC mavens, keen to soften Batman’s dark image, brought in The Boy Wonder to lighten the mood and appeal to an even younger demographic.
- Batman 1. The Dark Knight gets his own title. First appearances of two classic nemeses, The Joker and Catwoman, as well as Dr. Hugo Strange, revived recently for the Gotham T.V. series.
- Detective Comics 66. Origin and 1st appearance of classic Batman villain Harvey Dent, aka Two Face.
- Batman 47. First detailed origin of Batman, involving his tracking down of his parents’ killer.
- Detective Comics 140. Origin and first appearance of Edward Nigma, The Riddler.
- Batman 164. First new-look Batman (according to DC!), the basis for the ‘60s T.V. show version.
- Detective Comics 395. Neal Adams’ first proper reworking of the character that he became most associated with – a move by DC to re-establish Batman as a driven, obsessive “creature of the night” while ditching the excess and camp of the Silver Age version.
- Dark Knight Returns 1. Frank Miller’s seminal overhaul of DC Comics’ key property was a pivotal moment not just for the character but for comics in general, and remains his most important work. It was “grim and gritty” from now on.
- Batman 404. Frank Miller’s return to the character in the Batman Year One storyline was a milestone and a huge influence on myriad revisionist story arcs to come, as well as a pared down, superbly noirish effort.
- Action Comics 1. Origin and first appearance of Superman. Where it all began for the industry and the true birth of pop culture.
- Superman 1. The Man Of Steel gets his own title – the material was more or less culled from Action Comics’ inventory.
- World’s Best 1. Superman and Batman’s first shared title, although they didn’t appear in adventures together for over a decade.
- Action Comics 23. First appearance of arch-enemy Luthor, who at this point had red hair.
- Superman 30. He moved in leaps and bounds, but in this issue, Supes flew for the first time. Also featuring the first appearance of that pesky little imp, Mr. Mxyztplk.
- Superman 76. Superman and Batman finally cross over and have their first co-starring story, where they learn each other’s identities. Remarkably no wholesale destruction, overbearing psychosis or visceral showdown ensues.
- Action 242. First appearance of Superman’s other major foe, Braniac, along with the first sighting of the Bottle City of Kandor.
- Superman 233. DC’s flagship character gets his first major reboot, modernizing the title (relatively speaking).
- DC Comics Presents 1. Superman’s underrated team-up title begins, with one of his best ever stories, co-starring The Flash.
- Superman 423. Alan Moore’s bittersweet, sunset take on the character closes out the title’s initial run.