Furious Fan Boys

The 10 Greatest Batman Stories

In order to celebrate Bruce Wayne’s long-awaited return as Batman in the monthly comics, we rounded up the 10 best Batman stories ever put in print. While doing this we realized that not only were these the best Batman stories, but they are also some of the greatest comics of all time. So even if you aren’t a Batman fan, these are some books worth tracking down.

The Dark Knight Returns

Spawned by Frank Miller’s fear of actually being older than Batman (when DC asked him to write a Batman story), the Dark Knight Returns is legendary. If you enjoy comics, this is a book that is required to be on your shelf. Featuring a much older Batman who comes out of retirement one last time to face the Joker, there is not a better Batman story. The sequel, while nowhere near the brilliance of the original, is also worth a read if only to see how far “out there” Miller went.

The Killing Joke

Alan Moore’s classic Joker story really is more Joker than Batman, but it has had huge repercussions on the Batman mythos. This is one of the books Heath Ledger was given to prepare to be the Joker, and its here where the Joker shoots and paralyzes Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) to pave the way for her to become Oracle. And Batman laughs at the end.

A Death in the Family

Part promotion from the 80’s and part classic, A Death in the Family is remembered for the book where people called a 900-number to vote if Jason Todd would live and die. Obviously he died and then they brought the punk back to life recently, but when they did this it was a shock to see Batman carrying Robin’s dead body. And the way the Joker kills him is just classic Joker.

Year One

Frank Miller wrote another classic Batman story, this one dealing with his origin. This is what Batman Begins is very heavily based on. Many of the secondary characters, and even events, in Begins come directly from Year One and the comic remains one of the mandatory reads for any Batman fan.

The Long Halloween

Before Jeph Loeb ruined Heroes and turned The Hulk into a complete joke, he actually had some talent on the DC side of things. A great example of this is a sequel to Year One, titled The Long Halloween. Batman is still young, and the story details the fall of Harvey Dent into Two Face as well as the emergence of the rogues gallery into full villains.

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

If you ever played the best Batman game ever made, Arkham Asylum, then you’ll want to check out this Grant Morrison graphic novel. The game is loosely based on the story here, where the inmates have taken over the Asylum and Batman has to go in to stop them.

Knightfall

After DC killed Superman in the 90s and sparked what would become a downfall of the comic industry at the time, they decided to take Batman out of commission. Instead of killing him off (like they recently did), they decided to have Bane snap Batman’s back like a twig. The result was a crossover that was actually better than the whole “Death of Superman” debacle.

Gotham by Gaslight

This is an Elseworld’s tale, although the comic isn’t labeled as such. It’s set in 1889 and features Batman hunting down Jack the Ripper who has come to Gotham. Batman eventually learns the identity of Jack the Ripper and it ties directly back to the Wayne family.

Hush

Jim Lee’s collaboration with Jeph Loeb on Hush has become a modern Batman classic. It’s absolutely epic with multiple Batman villains appearing, and it even involves Superman. Add to the story Jim Lee’s amazing art, and you get a must-have Batman book.

All Star Batman & Robin

Why is this here? The series isn’t even finished yet, but it’s such a crazy Frank Miller storyline (that he claims is set in the same universe as The Dark Knight Returns and its sequel) combined with Jim Lee’s art that I had to include it here. The series has been on hiatus for two years, but the final six issues will begin coming out in February 2011 under the name Dark Knight: The Boy Wonder.

7 Comments
  • Dangermouse
    December 17, 2010
    Reply


    #1

    All-Star Batman and Robin was horrible. I bought the first two issues and couldn’t continue with it. The scene where Robin’s folks are dead and Batman shows up and grabs him by the neck hoisting him into the air basically telling him to get over it. C’mon man….that’s not Batman, that’s some evil incarnation with a lil goatee.

  • Rollins
    December 18, 2010
    Reply


    #2

    That seems to be the typical response from long time Batman fans… which I think is completely unfounded. The whole point of the “All-Star” series is to bring together one of the best writers on the series and one of the best artists on the series and to create a new Batman story without having to worry about all of the hang-ups of what is occurring in the current Batman continuity. If you can get over the fact that “well this isn’t what my grandpa told me Batman was like,” you’ll realize that the story is great and the artwork is even better.

    I love that this isn’t the “good guy” Batman. Miller has put together a character that actually shows the side of Bruce Wayne that has been brooding alone for the past 25+ years. It’s obvious that his has affected his ability to empathize with other humans and he clearly can’t judge normal emotional response.

    I really hope that they can visit this same storyline without having to adjust elements towards keeping the fans happy. I thought it was a great look into the twisted mind of Bruce Wayne.

  • BrashHulk
    December 21, 2010
    Reply


    #3

    It’s ridiculous that an article entitled “The 10 Greatest Batman Stories” can include a title like “All-Star Batman & Robin”, while leaving out much better Batman fare such as “Son of the Demon”, “Dark Victory”, “Mad Love”, “Black & White, Vol. 1″, or “Red Rain.” Does Mr. Conrad know the meaning of the word “Great”? I think not.

    And Rollins, your assertion that Miller is “one of the best writers on the series” was valid perhaps 10 years ago, but unfortunately, Miller has now become the Howard Stern of comics: he used to be edgy and provocative, but now he’s just an annoying shock jock who spouts outrageous crap just to see who he can piss off.

    Of course, it’s not Miller’s fault that All-Star Batman & Robin is such a bad title – he’s just doing what he does best these days: create shrill chaos. The fault lies directly with DC for allowing it to happen. One hoped that that DC would’ve learned a valuable lesson after the dungheap that was “The Dark Knight Strikes Again”, but apparently not.

  • thecursor
    December 25, 2010
    Reply


    #4

    A previous poster mentioned that the true purpose of “All Star” was to bring together the best writer with the best artist, the problem however was that Frank Millar has long ago hit the bottom of the barrel. The man can no longer write a good comic and the fact that his name still gets him jobs is a joke on Batfans everywhere.

  • Sydpart2
    December 31, 2010
    Reply


    #5

    Why has “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” not made it onto one of these lists yet?

  • batfan
    January 1, 2011
    Reply


    #6

    nice list dude
    ^ and whatever happened to the caped crusader is not on this list because that was a horrible arc.



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