I Just Want To Read... Batman.Preface:
Welcome to the first part of a series of thread where the premise is to build a streamlined guide for comics. Many people have gotten interested in comics recently but because of the long history of comic books really don’t know where to start. The goal of the specific guide focusing on the popular DC character Batman is to provide a guide simulating the experience you would get from a TV show or movie.
Why would you do that, you might ask. The format of comic books and their long running history have provided an unique way of storytelling, but much of the target audience of this guide have fond memories of Batman from the old animated series or the new Hollywood movies and seeks a similar experience.
About two years ago DC comics made a company wide reboot of all their comics and this included the Batman series. Most of the old stories still remained in the continuity albeit with minor changes. The reboot is refereed to as New 52.
This reboot will need to be accounted for since it provides a good way of just beginning at issue one , but most of this guide will focus on stories previous to New 52 and limited series (tying it together with my simulated experience).
If you want to start at New 52, read the brief introduction below, but if you want the real meat, skip over to “Core Guide”.
So you want to start at New 52? As of writing right now, the New 52 Batman series have only reached about 15 issues. The New 52 Batman line up consists of: Batman, Detective Comics, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman and Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman, Nightwing, Catwoman, Batwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Batman Incorporated.
Batman, Detective Comics and Batman: The Dark Knight are the core Batman comics you would mainly be interested in, while the others focuses on the former backup cast of Batman (such as Nightwing focusing on Dick Grayson the former Robin). Batman Incorporated is more of a spinoff.
Furthermore Batman characters make appearances in Justice League and Teen Titans.
For the beginner I would just recommend starting at Batman #1 and reading up until the current 15th issue.
NB: Click on the preview links to see sample pages.Batman: Year One
A classic Batman tale by Frank Miller telling his origins. This is the story about how Batman became Batman and will be the perfect place for you to start. Originally printed in issues #404 to #407 in the original Batman title and latter collected, this origin story is considered THE origin story by fans.
Frank Miller (THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Sin City) and David Mazzucchelli (Daredevil) deliver the acclaimed, four-part origin of Batman! Witness Bruce Wayne's transformation into The Dark Knight as he combats his own demons while struggling to topple the corrupt political system infesting his home.
, Batman: The Man Who Laughs
Following the end of Year One, this title tells the story of Batman's first encounter with the classic villain The Joker.
Superstar writer Ed Brubaker (CATWOMAN, GOTHAM CENTRAL) teams with artist Doug Mahnke (FINAL CRISIS, GREEN LANTERN) to tell the tale of Batman's first battle against his greatest enemy: the Joker!
, Batman: The Long Halloween
Spanning over 13 issues The Long Halloween focuses on a new mysterious villain nicknamed The Holiday Killer terrorizing Gotham. Each issue takes place on a holiday and the whole story spans a year. The story has good art, an intriguing story and a lot of the classic and crazy Batman villains such as Scarecrow, Riddler, Mad Hatter etc.
A very good storyline and can be gotten as a collection on 300+ pages.
Written by Jeph Loeb (SUPERMAN/BATMAN, Heroes) with art by Tim Sale (SUPERMAN FOR ALL SEASONS) and set during Batman's early days, this acclaimed series focuses on a killer murdering only on holidays. Batman must races against the calendar to discover who Holiday is before they claim more victims!
, Batman: Dark Victory
This comicbook storyline is a continuation of the story begun in Year One and The Long Halloween. If you have read The Long Halloween, you must read this. Like The Long Halloween, Dark Victory is set over a year and using good art and large cast of classic Batman villains, Dark Victory tells yet another intriguing Batman story and also serves as a retelling of how Batman's first sidekick came to be.
Even in the aftermath of THE LONG HALLOWEEN, Batman finds no peace. Gotham City is caught in the middle of a battle between what's left of the Falcone mob and freakish villains such as the Joker, Mr. Freeze and Catwoman.
, Batman: The Killing Joke
Ah The Joker. The classical Batman villain. This is THE definitive Joker story. In this story Joker is trying to prove that with the right push anyone can become insane. The story also digs deeper in to who The Joker really is. I don't want to spoil anymore, go read it!
Here he takes on some of DC's most classic characters, offering his unforgettable version of the disturbing relationship between the Dark Knight and his greatest foe, the Joker.In this groundbreaking work, Moore creates a twisted tale of insanity and human perseverance. Looking to prove that any man can be pushed past his breaking point to madness, the Joker attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. Refusing to give up, Gordon struggles to maintain his sanity with the help of Batman in a desperate effort to best the madman.
, The Dark Knight Returns
As Year One, this classic tale is also written and drawn by Frank Miller. The Dark Knight Returns tells the story of a retired 55-year old Bruce Wayne returning to the crime fighting scene and having to deal with the problems following the cape and the cowl. This classic story is not only a milestone in the comicbook genre , but also the story that redefined Batman.
Using classic art, appearances from Superman and Green Arrow, and action packed pages, Frank Miller tells a compelling story about old Bruce Wayne returning to the streets of Gotham, with his cape and cowl.
This masterpiece of comics storytelling brings to life a dark world...and an even darker man. Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in his saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, ten years after the Dark Knight's retirement.
, Further reading: