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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member Air Wave's Avatar
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    Default BATMAN -- Essential Reading?

    So, let's say I want to introduce someone to Batman...what would people suggest as essential reading (collections, anthologies, graphic novels, etc.)? I want to be sure we cover both really great stories as well as stories important to the history. And I really want to make sure ALL periods are covered, all the way back to the beginning, just to build up a really good collection. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Amazing Member Tom Badguy's Avatar
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    I believe there is a stickied topic with all you need: http://community.comicbookresources....-Recent-Events

    =)

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    Astonishing Member Air Wave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Badguy View Post
    I believe there is a stickied topic with all you need: http://community.comicbookresources....-Recent-Events

    =)
    I just saw that. Thanks. But I do want to cover all era as well.

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    Mighty Member nepenthes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Air Wave View Post
    I just saw that. Thanks. But I do want to cover all era as well.
    The books in the first post of of that thread have been picked from the entire spectrum of Batman comics. They cover late 80's to now, with the late 80's being a very significant time as it's where the modern conception of Batman firmly took hold and saw a burst of hugely influential and high quality stories that still remain landmarks today. Beyond that initial set, if you go downward within the Top 50 some earlier classics will be Strange Apparitions (1976), Birth of the Demon (1987-1992), Tales of the Demon (early 70's), Chronicles Vol.1 (1939, the very beginning) and Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told which covers a lot of 50's and 60's stuff. If you'd like more detail of specific eras let us know.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Air Wave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepenthes View Post
    The books in the first post of of that thread have been picked from the entire spectrum of Batman comics. They cover late 80's to now, with the late 80's being a very significant time as it's where the modern conception of Batman firmly took hold and saw a burst of hugely influential and high quality stories that still remain landmarks today. Beyond that initial set, if you go downward within the Top 50 some earlier classics will be Strange Apparitions (1976), Birth of the Demon (1987-1992), Tales of the Demon (early 70's), Chronicles Vol.1 (1939, the very beginning) and Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told which covers a lot of 50's and 60's stuff. If you'd like more detail of specific eras let us know.
    Thanks for all that. What do you think of those "Greatest...Stories Ever Told" collections? I just bought some for a couple kids for exactly this purpose. As a sort of comics starter set. They were a little young for actual comic books and I also wanted them to have an idea of these characters' vast histories. I figured I'd see how they took to them and go from there. I also know of those Batman collections of each decade from the 40's on (I think till at least the 80's). The CHRONICLES books are great (and certainly cheaper than the ARCHIVES books).

    And "Strange Apparitions" I just found out about. I have the originals and that was one of my favorite storylines as a kid. I was so sad when it ended. Sadly, it's out of print.

  6. #6
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    Today's people.....no respect for the classics...no respect at all.

    It is like, to them, Batman started "hardcore" Dark Knight Returns / Year One, in 1986 / 1987 rather than 1939....all blind to Batman's first forty-six years....because they instantly call it off as "cheesy", and that is after "not getting" the Adam West series, and assume "old Batman" is like that.

    Two of my favorites myself...BATMAN IN THE SIXTIES (my first Bat Book while seriously starting into Batman)...plenty of Batman & Robin "Dynamic Duo" action, with some Batgirl, and even a few more "Batman Family" members, against colorful favorites, like Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Blockbuster, Scarecrow, Clayface, and Killer Moth.

    and BATMAN IN THE SEVENTIES...Not quite as intense as Frank Miller, but Denny O' Neil's Batman had been greatly suspenseful and dramatic and action packed, while retaining the "Detective" in him...not to mention, one may be familiar already with some of the stories within, as quite a few episodes of BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES adapted them to television.
    Last edited by ngroove; 06-20-2014 at 09:26 AM.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Air Wave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngroove View Post
    Today's people.....no respect for the classics...no respect at all.

    It is like, to them, Batman started "hardcore" Dark Knight Returns / Year One, in 1986 / 1987 rather than 1939....all blind to Batman's first forty-six years....because they instantly call it off as "cheesy", and that is after "not getting" the Adam West series, and assume "old Batman" is like that.

    Two of my favorites myself...BATMAN IN THE SIXTIES (my first Bat Book while seriously starting into Batman)...plenty of Batman & Robin "Dynamic Duo" action, with some Batgirl, and even a few more "Batman Family" members, against colorful favorites, like Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Blockbuster, Scarecrow, Clayface, and Killer Moth.

    and BATMAN IN THE SEVENTIES...Not quite as intense as Frank Miller, but Denny O' Neil's Batman had been greatly suspenseful and dramatic and action packed, while retaining the "Detective" in him...not to mention, one may be familiar already with some of the stories within, as quite a few episodes of BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES adapted them to television.
    When I was a kid I had this giant hardcover collection BATMAN: FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S. I absolutely loved it. It got me into all the Golden & Silver Age stuff.

  8. #8
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    Any idea on how I can read Strange Apparitions? I remember reading before that that they released a new collection that was just missing 2 issues.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member nepenthes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by microsales25 View Post
    Any idea on how I can read Strange Apparitions? I remember reading before that that they released a new collection that was just missing 2 issues.
    Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers (who was the artist). It's still a little pricey but cheaper than the old Apparitions prints at least. It's not missing anything key: what's left out is a couple issues by Apparitions writer Steven Engelhart that Marshall did not illustrate and is not part of the Apparitions arc proper. The LotDK edition also includes their (less acclaimed) follow up Dark Detective and a few other bits and pieces.

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Wave View Post
    Thanks for all that. What do you think of those "Greatest...Stories Ever Told" collections? I just bought some for a couple kids for exactly this purpose. As a sort of comics starter set. They were a little young for actual comic books and I also wanted them to have an idea of these characters' vast histories. I figured I'd see how they took to them and go from there. I also know of those Batman collections of each decade from the 40's on (I think till at least the 80's). The CHRONICLES books are great (and certainly cheaper than the ARCHIVES books).

    And "Strange Apparitions" I just found out about. I have the originals and that was one of my favorite storylines as a kid. I was so sad when it ended. Sadly, it's out of print.
    I occasionally read the trades I own as they're fun and interesting from a historical standpoint; there's obviously a charming novelty there. However, I don't have any nostalgia for them as I was born in the early 80's and I suppose the only reasons I'm able to appreciate them at all is that a) I'm a bit of a rusted-on Batman geek and 2) am interested in historical curious of all types, i.e old film, advertisements, magazines, posters, cigarettes lighters etc. Two traits that are not common to most people. So in a nutshell I think the appeal of Greatest Stories and similar collections will be limited to a very small cross section. As an introduction to comics it might be like trying to introduce a child to good movies by expecting them to sit through Casablanca. Let me know how it goes

    Another you might want to look at is Lil Gotham - this was generally excellent, perfect for young kids and similar to TAS it references a huge range of lore with a classic and timeless feel

  10. #10
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    The current perception of Batman as a character IS shaped by 'Year One' and subsequent stories, so naturally those would be at the top of any list of recommendations.

    Here's my list of essential reading for a new reader (in rough chronological order)-


    Year One - The definitive origin story (until the recent 'Zero Year') which really reinvented the universe for the modern age and set the tone for Gotham for decades to come.

    The Man who Laughs - A modern retelling of the very first Joker story from the Golden Age, and in many ways, the ideal sequel to Year One. (I'd also suggest reading 'Batman and the Monster Men' and 'Batman and the Mad Monk' - two other retelling of early Golden Age Batman stories, to get a feel for the character at this point in his life).

    The Long Halloween - A great detective story and another 'early' Batman story showcasing the transition between a Gotham ruled by the Mob and a Gotham over-run by super-villains.

    Dark Victory - The sequel to TLH, best known for being one of the best modern retelling of the origin of the original Robin, Dick Grayson.

    Strange Apparitions - This TBP collects Steve Englehart's short-lived landmark run on the character that is arguably some of the best work done on the character before the Year One 'reinvention'. The stories in this collection went on to inspire the tone (as well as several plots) of the iconic BTAS.

    The Killing Joke - The definitive Joker story IMO, which delves into his origins, his motivations and the nature of his conflict with Batman.

    Hush - This story tends to be quiet polarizing but its pretty good for beginners in that it features a large cross-section of Batman's allies and enemies and does a great job highlighting the 'detective' aspect of Batman.

    Court of Owls - Just to get an idea on some of the recent work being done by Scott Snyder on the character. Its a great story which can be understood without having to delve too much into the backstory of the character.

    I've knowingly left out a lot of epic arcs like No Man's Land, Knightfall etc. because I don't think they're ideal for new readers, but one should definitely check them out at some point.

    I'd also recommend The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told for a cross-section of excellent Batman stories published between 1939 and around 1984-ish.

  11. #11
    Mighty Member Tupiaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    The current perception of Batman as a character IS shaped by 'Year One' and subsequent stories, so naturally those would be at the top of any list of recommendations.
    Dennnis O'neil gets to little acknowledge for the rewrap of Batman.

    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    Strange Apparitions - This TBP collects Steve Englehart's short-lived landmark run on the character that is arguably some of the best work done on the character before the Year One 'reinvention'. The stories in this collection went on to inspire the tone (as well as several plots) of the iconic BTAS.
    It is OOP. It is partly collected in Dark Knight Legends Marshal Rogers.

  12. #12
    Mighty Member nepenthes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tupiaz View Post


    It is OOP. It is partly collected in Dark Knight Legends Marshal Rogers.
    Just to be clear, the actual 6 issue arc by Engelhart/Roger that is Strange Apparitions is included entirely in the Legend HC. What's missing is a couple random Engelhart only issues that are not that great to begin with and not part of the Apparitions arc.

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