I think I need to blog more. That’s what writers do, right? They blog all the time?
Yeah. So it’s Batman Day. What better thing to write about on Batman Day than my suggestions for Batman comics? Or I could write about how terrible the Zac Snyder DC Cinematic Murder-verse? Er, if you follow my social media, I’ve talked to death about that.
Back to the former. What Batman comics should you read? The essentials for sure. The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. It’s okay. It’s short. It’s controversial because some people are idiots and see things that literally are not there. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth considering just to be in the know. Or you could watch the apparently terrible movie. For the book, I wouldn’t pay more than 4 bucks for it, seeing as it’s not graphic novel size, more like an annual sized comic. You can get it through interlibrary loan.
The other essential Batman read is The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (but written before he went insane). Without TDKR, we wouldn’t have the Tim Burton Batman, and we likely wouldn’t have the darker style Batman that we’ve grown to know in the comics, movies and video games today. Written in the mid 80s, TDKR was a response to the zany camp of the 60s and 70s batman. This one, I fully recommend. It’s a good length, at four beefy issues. At the start Batman is older, retired and looks to get back into the vigilante game. Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises borrows a lot from the second TDKR issue, basically replacing The Mutant Leader with Bane. Also, the horrible BvS has some roots in here too, with the Batman power suit and the fight against Superman. Except in TDKR, Clark and Bruce have been friends a long time, so there’s real emotion to the fight. Anyways, check it out. It’s worth owning.
Okay, so on to some stuff that isn’t considered to be “essential reading” for batman lovers, but stuff that I think is just as good as anything Miller or Moore ever wrote.
Batman: Death of the Family. No, not Batman: A Death in the Family, where you dicks killed off Jason Todd via poll! Death of the Family was an event across a ton of Batman related titles, published in 2011. It’s 20+ issues long, but you don’t have to read all the tie ins. Like, who cares about Red Hood and the Outlaws or Catwoman? All those comics may seem daunting, so my suggestion, all you really need to read is Batman, but I also read Batman and Robin. It’s classic Batman v Joker, though you might not recognize him because he got his face cut off right at the start of New 52.
It's written by Scott Snyder, the far superior Snyder, in my book. You can find just the Batman only arc on sale (today) here.
My word not enough for you? Look at the critical response:
Last, I’d like to throw some love to Grant Morrison who did my favorite run on Batman and Robin. After Batman RIP, Bruce Wayne is dead (or just gone, in different dimensions or timelines or something….) and Dick Grayson must take up the Cowl, while the murderous assassin Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son, fills in as the new Robin. Their dynamic is so much fun, and the take on the characters is refreshing. There are all new weird bad guys like Professor Pyg, as well as old throwbacks like Jason Todd making appearances. It’s fun, it’s dark and it’s insane and only Grant Morrison could have orchestrated it. Vol 1 is on sale here (today).