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Comics n00b - Batman

Ceti

of the Polepack (retired)
Validated User
Let's say that I was interested in getting into Batman comics. If I were to start with some easily obtainable anthologies, what would be the place to start. I understand that Batman, like most popular comics, had dozens of reboots.
 

Coyote's Own

Former ACME QA Tester.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Let's say that I was interested in getting into Batman comics. If I were to start with some easily obtainable anthologies, what would be the place to start. I understand that Batman, like most popular comics, had dozens of reboots.
Egmont has released a complialtion "Batman: Najlepsze Opowieść", which from what I understand, will give a good overview of how the character changed over the years.
I also second Yo! recommendation of year. IIRC the Polish translation has also been re-released recently.
And I haven;t read them but "Long Halloween" and "Dark Victory" do have many fans and similarly to year one describe the beginnings of Bruce's carrier.
 

Kreuzritter

Registered User
Validated User
I'm always a fan of The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, which gives a great succession on the evolution of Batman. ditto its companion piee, the Greatest Joker Stories ever told
 

Ceti

of the Polepack (retired)
Validated User
Yeah, I noticed the Polish edition, but I'd rather read the original :) Seems like Amazon will get more of my money
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
I'm always a fan of The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, which gives a great succession on the evolution of Batman. ditto its companion piee, the Greatest Joker Stories ever told
The Joker volume is out of print, however.

(No idea on the Batman one. I know the original is out of print, but don't know if the newer two-volume softcovers contain the same stories.)
 

Coyote's Own

Former ACME QA Tester.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Yeah, I noticed the Polish edition, but I'd rather read the original :) Seems like Amazon will get more of my money
I mostly do to.
But I have the translation of Year One, so i don;t need the compulsion to by the original.
:)

Oh and I recommend checking Bookdepsitoiry before heading out to Amazon, since it has free shipping for Poland.
 

Fenris Lathiin

Registered User
Validated User
Year One is the definitive origin. It's also probably one of the best Batman stories written. After that, picking up Batman: the Long Halloween is pretty good. It's not technically "in continuity" or anything, but basically sets the stage between Year One and modern Batman tales. It's also got gorgeous Tim Sale art and is one of the few books by Jeph Loeb I can say I like. The sequel (Dark Victory, about recruiting Dick Grayson as Robin) is also good too.

After that, there's tons of good stuff. Knightfall, No Man's Land, all of Morrison's stuff are all quite good, although No Man's Land has these weird parts with Azreal that probably made sense at the time, but not so much anymore. I've not read Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, but I'm told they're worth reading.
 

charliecharlie

New member
Banned
Let's say that I was interested in getting into Batman comics. If I were to start with some easily obtainable anthologies, what would be the place to start. I understand that Batman, like most popular comics, had dozens of reboots.
When I think to myself "I wanna read some really great Batman comics", these are the books I pick up:

Batman: Year One
Batman: Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: Dark Victory

The first is the definitive origin story. The second is one of the best graphic novels ever written. The third and fourth are good-to-great sequels to Year One.

If you're look to get a quick feel for a more "modern" take on Batman, I'd recommend Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. If you want to get a feel for what Batman was like before Frank Miller redefined the character, the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told and Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told volumes are really great samplers.

I'm not a huge fan of:

A Death in the Family
The Killing Joke
Knightfall

But each of these are major pieces of Batman continuity. And if you're looking to get a survey of the major Batman stories, they need to be read.

If you're interested in getting up to speed on the current Batman books, then what you basically want to do is check out Grant Morrison's run on the book. These are fantastic, but incredibly demanding because Morrison routinely expects you to know the same continuity that he does. Here's my recommended reading order, starting with the "background":

Batman: Year One
Batman: The Black Casebook
Dark Knight, Dark City
Seven Soldiers, Volumes 1-4

Batman: Year One is less essential, but you should have already read it. The Black Casebook will give you a nice sampling of Silver Age Batman stories which Morrison uses as source material (and if you're looking to do a complete survey of Batman stories, this is a pretty good way to get a taste of the Silver Age, too). Unfortunately, it doesn't include "Dark Knight, Dark City", which has never been collected, so if you want to read it you'll have to track down Batman #452-454. Seven Soldiers is written by Morrison. It's not a Batman story, but it establishes a bunch of continuity that Morrison leverages in his Batman run.

Now we get into the actual run:

Batman: Batman and Son
Batman: The Black Glove
Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul*

Batman RIP - Part 1 (stop when you reach "The Butler Did It")
Final Crisis - Part 1 (stop when you see Batman get strapped to a machine)
Batman RIP - Part 2 (finish the volume)
Final Crisis - Part 2 (finish the volume)

Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn
Batman and Robin: Batman vs. Robin
Batman and Robin: Batman Must Die (stop before the last issue)
Batman #701-702
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
Batman and Robin: Batman Must Die (read the last issue)

* Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul is only partially written by Morrison and extremely uneven in its quality. But it contains coverage of an event that took place during the 52 maxi-series. If you haven't read 52 I recommend reading this volume to make up for it.

(If you want to get really crazy: JLA Classified #1-3 was a prequel to Seven Soldiers. And JLA Classified only makes sense as a sequel to Morrison's run on JLA in the '90s.)
 

Ascanius

Use the singular they!
Validated User
Let's say that I was interested in getting into Batman comics. If I were to start with some easily obtainable anthologies, what would be the place to start. I understand that Batman, like most popular comics, had dozens of reboots.
Answering without reading the rest of the thread:

The best single graphic novel to begin with is Year One, written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzuchelli. I believe there was actually a fifteenth anniversary edition released this year which has been spruced up a bit with colours a little better-matched to Mazzuchelli's original intent? In any case, this has been the more-or-less canonical origin story for the Batman for a very long time, and its influence on Christopher Nolan's films is pretty clear.

I'm fairly happy to recommend The Long Halloween despite the fact that it's not really as good as some people rave about. Jeph Loeb's writing was still pretty sharp back then, however, and Tim Sale's art is always worth your time. There's also the advantage that it pretty much follows on from the story in Year One, albeit not in a "so, the very next week" kind of way. If you like this one well enough, the pair reteamed for a followup called Dark Victory which, while definitely a lesser story, still has that Sale art, and a pretty good origin for Dick Grayson as Robin.

Recently I also enjoyed the standalone hardcover graphic novel Batman: Earth One, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. The Earth One hardcovers exist in their own continuity, though the Batman story is closer to what people think of as "normal" for the character than Superman: Earth One which was published in 2010. Still, in a lot of ways it's a kind of post-Nolan Batman story, with Alfred as a hardbitten disabled Royal Marine, and Bruce Wayne starting out as Batman for the first time and making a lot of mistakes.

Before this post gets too long, I think I'd like to also recommend Trinity, written and illustrated by Matt Wagner. It's the story of the first meeting between the Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and in particular it's a pretty good look at what distinguishes them from each other, as well as an easy way to understand the difference between the Ra's al Ghul of the comics and the version used in Nolan's trilogy.
 
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