I want to start reading Batman...

Titan

Well-Known Member
So I recently picked up The Long Halloween and Dark Victory. Both were awesome and really gave me more respect for Batman. Right now, I usually just buy USM and UXM, and a few TPBs as well. But I got Batman on the brain and want to start reading it more. So I have a few questions...

1. Are there any other stories I should read? I heard Hush was good.

2. If I go to the comic book store, would I be able to just start reading Batman, or does it have a storyline I need to look up?

Thanks

-Titan
 

ProjectX2

Don't expect me to take you with me when I go to s
1. You can read Hush if you want to, but it's basically just an excuse for Loeb to have all of Batman's villains in 12 issues. It's fun, but it's not a must read.

You should definitely read Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Killing Joke. Year One is the definitive Batman story and is what Batman Begins is mainly based on. The Dark Knight Returns is one of those comics that redefined the comic industry, and even though I don't personally like it, it's worth a read because it's one of those books that is mentioned in the same breath as Watchmen. And The Killing Joke, a one shot by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, basically gives the Joker an origin. It's a quick and easy read, and very good. I'd say those are the must reads. There are quite a few trades out there, but as Batman is possible the best comic character ever created, there's a lot of good, but there's also a lot of ****.

2. There are two main Batman comics ongoing at the moment. Batman, written by Grant Morrison with art of JH Williams III, Andy Kubert and Tony Daniel. It's quite good, and focuses more on the adventures of the Batman. His first arc has been collected into trade/HC, so if you want to start his run from the start, you can get that. Otherwise just grab #667, which is the start of his next arc, and you'll be fine.

Detective Comics, on the other hand, is mainly one shots. It's written by Paul Dini most of the time, who did quite a lot of the animated DC Universe, and drawn by random artists. Though Dustin Nguyen is going to come on, and his art is awesome. As most of the issues are one shots, it's safe to pick up anywhere, but his first 5/6 issues have also been collected into a trade, and there are some good ones.

Oh, and there's a crossover between the four Bat Family titles (Batman, Detective Comics, Nightwing, Robin) so that might or might not be a good place to start.

Good luck discovering the Batman mythos, as it's a hell of a lot of fun.
 

Gothamite

Well-Known Member
1. Are there any other stories I should read? I heard Hush was good.

Hush is just a big, bold and brash Summer Blockbuster of a story, without any real substance. It's just a big excuse to throw all of Batman's big villains and allies into one story as well as art from Jim Lee. As a starting point for Batman, it's a decent story.

Dark Knight Returns (the only story where crazy-***, psycho, *******it Batman actually works) and Batman: Year One are essential for any comic-book reader. I'd even go as far as to say that they're essential reading for people who can read. Go and buy them right now.

Batman: The Killing Joke and The Man Who Laughs are both great Joker stories and worth getting into as well.

Also, if you're feeling up for some Silver Age camp-action, but you want it to actually be somewhat dark and enjoyable, Batman: Strange Apparitions is worth checking out. It's not exactly a story-arc, it's just the run of the Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers on Batman's books back in the seventies. It reads exactly like a Marvel title with all of the flashbacks and introspective monologues Batman has, not to mention the relatable, real-life relationship problems he experiences with Silver St. Cloud.

Also, if you're up for some novel-reading (you know, the ones without pictures) you should definitely check out the novelisations to Batman Forever and Batman Begins. The novelisation of Forever is great because it shows how great the film could have been without the crappiness Schumacher brought to it. The novelisation for Begins is just an even better version of a perfect film. It goes deeper into Bruce's travels and also delves deeper into how he became the world's greatest detective as well as just being an urban crimefighter. Both feature quite possibly the definitive version of Batman; a dark tortured hero, who fights for justice and not revenge, but who constantly walks the line between the two. The novelisation for Begins is even written by Denny O'Neil (arguably the best Batman writer ever) and the novelisation for Forever is written by Peter David (easily the best guy at adapting films into books).

2. If I go to the comic book store, would I be able to just start reading Batman, or does it have a storyline I need to look up?

Good question. The thing about Batman (and most of DC comics) is that it doesn't run in one, long real-timeish continuity the way Marvel does. It usually just has several story arcs a year that can be read in any order you like. It should be easy enough to just pick up a Batman book and enjoy it.
 

Planet-man

Well-Known Member
The above two posts sum up everything you need to know, except that another great Batman story is the Knightfall novelization, also by the great Denny O'Neil. Save that for once you're a bit deeper into the character, and it's a sensational read.
 

Dr.Strangefate

He Sees You When You're Sleeping. He Knows When Yo
Top 10 Essential Batman Stories
1. Batman: Year One
2. The Dark Knight Returns
3. The Long Halloween
4. Dark Victory
5. Batman: The Killing Joke
6. Arkham Asylum
7. Batman: The Man Who Laughs
8. Robin: Year One
9. Batgirl: Year One
10. JLA: Tower of Babel

Other Recommended Reading: Batman: Under the Hood (parts one and two), Batman: No Man's Land (Five Volumes There), And I would pick up Hush if I were you. It's solid writing, and fantastic art, if not all that much Substance... It's definitely a Summer Blockbuster book. But that doesn't mean its not enjoyable.

Though not DIRECTLY a Batman Book, Gotham Central is also a Brilliant Series. It covers Gotham City from the perspective of the GCPD, and is some great Noir fiction with great usage of the Batman Villains, as well as some great appearances from Bats himself. The Joker story in Gotham Central is one of my favorite Joker stories ever.
 
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Planet-man

Well-Known Member
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is one of the best, most incredibly crafted stories ever written in comics, but you should definitely save it until after you've really gotten into the characters with the other books. Even then, you won't get a lot of the stuff in less than two or three reads.
 

Gothamite

Well-Known Member
I would pick up Hush if I were you. It's solid writing, and fantastic art, if not all that much Substance... It's definitely a Summer Blockbuster book. But that doesn't mean its not enjoyable.

Exactly.

Personally, I don't like Jim Lee's art, though. He's definitely talented, but I don't appreciate his style. He draws Batman and Superman as big, hulking, muscle-men and in the process, loses all of the dynamic man-of-action qualities that the two characters have. Not to mention, he can't seem to make clothes look three dimensional at all. Look at the seams on Batman's gloves and boots in Hush and you'll notice that they're absolutely skintight. This may seem like a small thing, but it really bothers me. Lastly, have you not noticed that Jim Lee's characters all look exactly the same and only have three different emotions? Happy, sad or cool/angry? Seriously, check it out.
 

Hellsbuttmonkey

Well-Known Member
I'm not a big Batman reader (but its the only DC trades I buy apart from Watchmen). But Hush is definitely well worth reading, and the Knightfall trilogy especially Broken Bat is one of my favourite Batman books. DKR is another great read as well.
 

Fredrik Martinsson

Formerly known as Ultimate Warrior
So many recommendation and not one mentions Batman: A Death In the Family? Together with Killing Joke it really establish Joker as Batman's archenemy.
 

Gothamite

Well-Known Member
So many recommendation and not one mentions Batman: A Death In the Family? Together with Killing Joke it really establish Joker as Batman's archenemy.

I was thinking about it. I just don't find it to be that good. It's on an equal level with Hush (which is ironic because Hush has so much based on ADITF).
 

thee great one

Master of TOG-fu.
Batman - Year One
Batman - Arkham Asylum (A Serious House On A Serious Earth)
Batman - Arkham Asylum - Living Hell
Batman - Evolution
Batman - Officer Down
Batman - A Killing Joke
Batman - Under The Hood Vols. 1 & 2
Batman - The Dark Knight Strikes
Batman - The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Gotham Central
Dini's Detective Comics (Running currently)
Morrison's Batman run (Running currently)


No Man's Land and War Games were decent.

Hush was very beautiful artwork and average story, but Hush Returns was better.
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
I think you guys have got it about covered...
Exactly.

Personally, I don't like Jim Lee's art, though. He's definitely talented, but I don't appreciate his style. He draws Batman and Superman as big, hulking, muscle-men and in the process, loses all of the dynamic man-of-action qualities that the two characters have. Not to mention, he can't seem to make clothes look three dimensional at all. Look at the seams on Batman's gloves and boots in Hush and you'll notice that they're absolutely skintight. This may seem like a small thing, but it really bothers me. Lastly, have you not noticed that Jim Lee's characters all look exactly the same and only have three different emotions? Happy, sad or cool/angry? Seriously, check it out.
Jim Lee: HIGHLY OVERRATED.

It's a simple fact. I have to commend the guy for all the work he's put into Wildstorm and all the great stuff that's come of it, but when it comes to penciling he's just a mildly tolerable "90s artist".
The reason Robin wears bright colours is because he's a distraction. :D
If there's one thing Batman believes in, it's using orphans as human shields.

"Who cares, it's not like he has any parents or anything!"
 

Bass

Nexus of the World
So I recently picked up The Long Halloween and Dark Victory. Both were awesome and really gave me more respect for Batman. Right now, I usually just buy USM and UXM, and a few TPBs as well. But I got Batman on the brain and want to start reading it more. So I have a few questions...

1. Are there any other stories I should read? I heard Hush was good.

2. If I go to the comic book store, would I be able to just start reading Batman, or does it have a storyline I need to look up?

Thanks

-Titan

I'd recommend any of the volumes of BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE. They're pricey, but they've got loads of 8-page stories from a wide variety of artists and writers, so it's rather nice.
 

thee great one

Master of TOG-fu.
I'd recommend any of the volumes of BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE. They're pricey, but they've got loads of 8-page stories from a wide variety of artists and writers, so it's rather nice.

I tried the first one and really didn't like it except for one or two stories.
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
I'd recommend any of the volumes of BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE. They're pricey, but they've got loads of 8-page stories from a wide variety of artists and writers, so it's rather nice.
I read the second volume. It was very good.

Paul Dini and Alex Ross's Joker story and the one by Harlan Ellison and Gene Ha alone are worth it. The scene in the Ellison story where Batman just stands in the printer's cell and freaks him out is great and the twist at the end is genius. I also liked Paul Pope's story.
 
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E

Moderator
Excelsior Club
I've read bits and pieces of the first two Black & White collections and loved them. I'm holding out for an Absolute edition collecting all 3 volumes.
 

Planet-man

Well-Known Member
I read the second volume. It was very good.

Paul Dini and Alex Ross's Joker story and the one by Harlan Ellison and Gene Ha alone are worth it. The scene in the Ellison story where Batman just stands in the printer's cell and freaks him out is great and the twist at the end is genius. I also liked Paul Pope's story.

I don't remember the other two you're talking about but Dini/Ross' "Case Study" might be my favourite Joker origin. I consider it to be the cannon origin of the B:TAS version of him. It synchs right up with Mask of the Phantasm and everything.
 

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