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  1. #1
    Incredible Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default Best stories with Batman as a detective

    What do you think are some of the best stories that heavily feature Batman doing detective work? Not saying he can't get in a fight, of course, but I'm interested in opinions stories that really use him investigating.

  2. #2
    Incredible Member jb681131's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    What do you think are some of the best stories that heavily feature Batman doing detective work? Not saying he can't get in a fight, of course, but I'm interested in opinions stories that really use him investigating.
    Here are my pics, in no order:

    • Batman by Steve Englehart - Batman: Apparition + Batman: Dark Detective
    • Batman by Dough Moench - Batman: Prey + Batman: Terror
    • Tales of the Batman: Archie Goodwin
    • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
    • Batman: Earth-One vol.1&2
    • Batman & Robin (new52) Annual #1: Batman Impossible
    • Batman by Neil Adams: Batman vs. Man-Bat + Batman: Odyssey
    • Tales of the Batman: Len Wein
    • Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway vol.1&2
    • Batman by Mike Mignola - Batman by Gaslight + Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham
    • Hush Saga - Batman: Hush + Detective Comics: Heart of Hush + Streets of Gotham: Hush Money + Streets of Gotham: The House of Hush
    • Batman by Judd Winick - Dark Knight: Cycle of Violence + Dark Knight: Mad + Dark Knight: Clay (Clay + ManBat)
    • Batman Adventures by Dan Slott - Batman Adventures: Shadows and Masks
    • Batman: Black and White vol.1-4


    I am probably forgetting a lot, but those are the ones I found real detective work in.

  3. #3
    Incredible Member cgh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb681131 View Post
    Here are my pics, in no order:

    • Batman by Neil Adams: Batman vs. Man-Bat + Batman: Odyssey
    Wait, you read Batman: Odyssey and your takeaway was that Batman was an effective detective? Was this before or after he flew around on underground dinosaurs because naturally the Earth is hollow?

  4. #4
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    Any issue of DETECTIVE COMICS between 394 and 443, roughly from 1970 to 1974.
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  5. #5
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    Thank you for the thread and responses!

  6. #6
    Incredible Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb681131 View Post
    Here are my pics, in no order:

    • Batman by Steve Englehart - Batman: Apparition + Batman: Dark Detective
    • Batman by Dough Moench - Batman: Prey + Batman: Terror
    • Tales of the Batman: Archie Goodwin
    • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
    • Batman: Earth-One vol.1&2
    • Batman & Robin (new52) Annual #1: Batman Impossible
    • Batman by Neil Adams: Batman vs. Man-Bat + Batman: Odyssey
    • Tales of the Batman: Len Wein
    • Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway vol.1&2
    • Batman by Mike Mignola - Batman by Gaslight + Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham
    • Hush Saga - Batman: Hush + Detective Comics: Heart of Hush + Streets of Gotham: Hush Money + Streets of Gotham: The House of Hush
    • Batman by Judd Winick - Dark Knight: Cycle of Violence + Dark Knight: Mad + Dark Knight: Clay (Clay + ManBat)
    • Batman Adventures by Dan Slott - Batman Adventures: Shadows and Masks
    • Batman: Black and White vol.1-4


    I am probably forgetting a lot, but those are the ones I found real detective work in.
    Interesting list. I haven't gone through the entire one yet, but I notice they almost all seem to be sans-Robin. I noticed the early '70s being listed here a good bit, too, and several of these are collected editions with reprints from the era, so that makes sense. But even for the stories written much later - in '90s or 2000s - there seems to be a pretty significant lack of Robins. Are there no detective stories with both of them working together? Not that I was specifically looking for that, or anything, just a trend I noticed.

    I wonder if it goes back to writers thinking (inaccurately, IMO) that there was a tonal shift caused by Robin debuting and Batman ceased being primarily a detective then. For me, I'd say while there certainly was a shift in tone (quite a few over the years), it really didn't seem to coincide with Robin's arrival on the scene.

  7. #7
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    There's a fair number of detective stories in the first thirty years of Batman and Robin, it's just hard to provide that list at a moment's notice. The classic Batman comics had variety--time travel, aliens, monsters, family drama, mythology, world travel, comedy, crazy villain, romance, murder mystery, what-if. Weeding through all that and finding which ones stand out as detective tales is a lot of work.

    When Julius Schwartz took over, he was dedicated to doing more procedural type stories. However, he had to work within the limitations of the time and satisfy his younger readers. And then when the TV show emerged on the scene, he was expected to provide more super-villain stories. But there's several Batman and Robin mystery yarns in that period. Gardner Fox and Frank Robbins were good at those.

    The early seventies, however, made the detective angle a primary focus--they were trying to get away from any association with the TV show, by avoiding the super-villains and having few Robin team-ups, which meant the stories could mainly focus on Batman as the Dark Night Detective.

    edit: Note that there are no collections devoted to Frank Robbins, Gardner Fox, Irv Novick or Bob Brown--they only happen to be represented if they're included in collections for other creators. So you're actually missing a lot of the great Batman mystery tales (although SHOWCASE PRESENTS: BATMAN reprints many of these in black & white).
    Last edited by Jim Kelly; 07-28-2019 at 08:27 AM.
    Celebrating 150 Years of the Hectograph!
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  8. #8
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    In the 1960s, the stories reprinted in the Annuals and 80 Page Giants tended to collect science fiction, family tales, secrets of Bat technology and the oddball villains--but BATMAN ANNUAL 6 (Winter 1964) collected "Batman and Robin's Most Thrilling Mystery Cases"


    --That's re-reprinted in BATMAN ANNUALS Vol. 2 (2010).

    The next Giants that have a fairly good representation of detective stories are BATMAN 187 [G-30] (January 1967) and BATMAN 193 [G-37] (August 1967).

    But as the 1960s ended and the new comics concentrated more on Batman as detective, the Giants followed suit. So you have BATMAN 218 [G-67] (February 1970) reprinting "The Strangest Cases from Batman's Crime-File."



    BATMAN 223 [G-73] (August 1970) tracks Batman and Robin on their cases around the world. In BATMAN 228 [G-79] (February 1971), they escape their deadliest traps. And the final Giant, BATMAN 233 [G-85] (August 1971), collects stories of "Batman's Secret Identity, Bruce Wayne."



    The Giants are followed by the 100-Page Super Spectaculars, and the first for Batman is BATMAN 238 [DC-8] (January 1972), which only has two Batman stories but both are pretty good detective tales. Mind you around this time the regular issues were 48 pages for 25 cents and would have a Batman reprint in each.

    Next is 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR DC-14 (February 1973) which has the two part story of the Monk from 1939 and "The Batmobile of 1950." And finally, 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR DC-20 (September 1973) collects the original three stories of Two-Face (Harvey Kent).

    Soon after this, all the Batman comics become 100 page Super Specs, with an eclectic mix of material. And I mean all Batman comics--BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, WORLD'S FINEST COMICS and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. They all adopted the 100 page bi-monthly format for about a year or so.
    Celebrating 150 Years of the Hectograph!
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  9. #9
    Incredible Member jb681131's Avatar
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    There are also all the stories in which Bruce Wayne goes under-cover as Matches Malone:

    tumblr_ogn5ohcg5z1ssxc9vo3_500.jpg

    * Batman #588-590: Close Before Striking
    * Batman Aventures vol.2 #6: Playing with Matches <- excellent story
    * ...

    tumblr_odgujnSlvl1ssxc9vo2_500.jpg
    Last edited by jb681131; 08-05-2019 at 02:21 PM.

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