A Nice Knight For It
It’s officially Batman day so here’s 15 Batman tales people should check out over the character’s 80 years of history…
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Detective Comics 66. Origin and 1st appearance of classic Batman villain Harvey Dent, aka Two Face.
5. Batman 47. First detailed origin of Batman, involving his tracking down of his parents’ killer.
6. Detective Comics 140. Origin and first appearance of Edward Nigma, The Riddler.
7. Batman 164. First new-look Batman (according to DC!), the basis for the ‘60s T.V. show version.
8. 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.
9. Batman 232. The revamped “dark knight detective” Batman faces off against a new type of Bond-style villain for the 1970s in the shape of the baroque Ra’s Al Ghul, used to excellent effect by Christopher Nolan in Batman Begins.
10. Detective Comics 475. Englehart and Rogers’ seminal take on the Batman mythos brought us an even more ruthlessly wigged-out Joker and also provided us with the classic Joker fish story that ended up being used in Burton’s first Batman movie.
11. 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. Batman had been “grim and gritty” for some time, but Miller pushed things over the cliff’s edge and attracted considerable media attention as a result.
12. 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.
13. Batman The Killing Joke. Moore and Bolland’s graphically nihilistic story is an exquisitely rendered tale of psychosis and duality that still casts a huge shadow and remains controversial to this day.
14. Long Halloween 1. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s beautifully stylised and retro Batman story made for a memorably cinematic experience.
15. Batman 608. Loeb again this time with comics superstar Jim Lee took the Dark Knight Detective in a modern direction, creating some of the most dynamic contemporary comic art in epic Hush.