Detective Comics (1990’s)

During the 1980’s serialization was used in the main Batman story, with stories from Detective Comics and Batman directly flowing from one book to another, with cliffhangers at the end of each book’s monthly story that would be resolved in the other title of that month. A single writer handled both books during that time beginning with Gerry Conway and followed up by Doug Moench. The supervillain Killer Croc made a shadowy cameo in issue #523 (February 1983). Noted author Harlan Ellison wrote the Batman story in issue #567.

Writer Mike W. Barr and artists Alan Davis and Todd McFarlane crafted the “Batman: Year Two” storyline in Detective Comics #575-578 which followed up on Frank Miller’sBatman: Year One“.

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Batman V2 (2011) New 52

Since the beginning of The New 52, Scott Snyder has been the writer of the flagship Batman title. His first major story arc was “Night of the Owls“, where Batman confronts the Court of Owls, a secret society that has controlled Gotham for centuries. The second story arc was “Death of the Family“, where the Joker returns to Gotham and simultaneously attacks each member of the Batman family. The third story arc was “Batman: Zero Year“, which redefined Batman’s origin in The New 52. It followed Batman #0, published in June 2012, which explored the character’s early years. The final storyline before the Convergence (2015) event was Endgame, depicting the supposed final battle between Batman and the Joker when he unleashes the deadly Endgame virus onto Gotham City. The storyline ends with Batman and the Joker’s supposed deaths. Starting with #41, Commissioner James Gordon takes over Bruce’s mantle as a new, state-sanctioned, mecha Batman, debuting in the Free Comic Book Day special comic Divergence. However, Bruce Wayne is soon revealed to be alive, albeit now suffering almost total amnesia of his life as Batman and only remembering his life as Bruce Wayne through what he has learned from Alfred. Bruce Wayne finds happiness and proposes to his girlfriend, Julie, but Mr. Bloom heavily injures Jim Gordon and takes control of Gotham City and threatens to destroy the city by energizing a particle reactor to create a “strange star” to swallow the city. Bruce Wayne discovers the truth that he was Batman and after talking to a stranger who smiles a lot (it is heavily implied that this is the amnesic Joker) he forces Alfred to implant his memories as Batman, but at the cost of his memories as the reborn Bruce Wayne. He returns and helps Jim Gordon defeat Mr. Bloom and shut down the reactor. Gordon gets his job back as the commissioner, and the government Batman project is shuttered.

Batman (Golden Age)

In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created “the Bat-Man”. Collaborator Bill Finger recalled that “Kane had an idea for a character called ‘Batman,’ and he’d like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane’s, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of … reddish tights, I believe, with boots … no gloves, no gauntlets … with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign … BATMAN”. The bat-wing-like cape was suggested by Bob Kane, inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci‘s sketch of an ornithopter flying device as a child.

Finger suggested giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves; he also recommended removing the red sections from the original costume. Finger said he devised the name Bruce Wayne for the character’s secret identity: “Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock … then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.” He later said his suggestions were influenced by Lee Falk‘s popular The Phantom, a syndicated newspaper comic-strip character with which Kane was also familiar.

Batman V1 #6 F+

Detective Comics (1980’s)

The title’s 500th issue (March 1981) featured stories by several well-known creators including television writer Alan Brennert and Walter B. Gibson best known for his work on the pulp fiction character The Shadow. Also used during the 1980s was the use of serialization of the main Batman story, with stories from Detective Comics and Batman directly flowing from one book to another, with cliffhangers at the end of each book’s monthly story that would be resolved in the other title of that month. A single writer handled both books during that time beginning with Gerry Conway and followed up by Doug Moench. The supervillain Killer Croc made a shadowy cameo in issue #523 (Feb. 1983). Noted author Harlan Ellison wrote the Batman story in issue #567.

Writer Mike W. Barr and artists Alan Davis and Todd McFarlane crafted the “Batman: Year Two” storyline in Detective Comics #575-578 which followed up on Frank Miller’sBatman: Year One“. Writer Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle introduced the Ventriloquist in their first Batman story together and the Ratcatcher in their third (#585). Sam Hamm, who wrote the screenplay for Tim Burton‘s Batman, wrote the “Blind Justice” story in Detective Comics issues #598-600.

Sword of Azrael (1992)

Azrael first appeared in the 1992 series Batman: Sword of Azrael as Jean-Paul Valley.

He then became a supporting character in the monthly Batman titles, eventually taking over the role of Batman through the “Knightfall,” “Knightquest,” and “KnightsEnd” story arcs. One of the creators, Denny O’Neil, admitted to having difficulties with Azrael’s transition from villain to hero: “If I’d known he was to become a monthly character, I might have set him up differently … The problem is that I had to turn a bad guy into a real hero, not just an anti-hero or lead. It’s possible to do that, but it’s difficult to retain the original characterization. You almost have to change his personality.”

World’s Finest (1960’s)

World’s Finest was initially a 96 page quarterly anthology, featuring various DC characters – always including Superman and Batman – in separate stories. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that “Pairing Superman and Batman made sense financially, since the two were DC’s most popular heroes.” When superheroes fell out of vogue in the early 1950s, DC shortened the size of the publication to that of the rest of its output, leaving only enough space for one story; this led to Superman and Batman appearing in the same story together starting with World’s Finest Comics #71 (July 1954). The series continued to feature Superman and Batman team-ups until issue #197. Noted Batman artist Neal Adams first drew the character in an interior story in “The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads” in issue #175 (May 1968).

Superman / Batman (2000’s)

Superman/Batman was a monthly series published by DC Comics that features the publisher’s two most popular characters: Superman and Batman. Superman/Batman premiered in August 2003 and was an update of the previous series, World’s Finest Comics, in which Superman and Batman regularly joined forces.

Superman/Batman explored the camaraderie, antagonism, and friendship between its titular characters. Jeph Loeb, the series’ first writer, introduced a dual-narrator technique to present the characters’ often opposing viewpoints and estimations of each other, which subsequent series writers have maintained. Before the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the two iconic characters were depicted as the best of friends. Frank Miller‘s landmark series The Dark Knight Returns was the first DC story that depicts the heroes at odds with each other, as opposed to pre-Crisis incarnations. This dynamic became DC Universe canon with John Byrne‘s The Man of Steel, a Superman reboot published in 1986.

Batman V3: Rebirth (2016)

In June 2016, the DC Rebirth event relaunched DC Comics’ entire line of comic book titles. Batman was rebooted as starting with a one-shot issue entitled Batman: Rebirth #1 (August 2016). The series then began shipping twice-monthly as a third volume, starting with Batman vol. 3, #1 (August 2016). The third volume of Batman was written by Tom King, and artwork was provided by David Finch and Mikel Janín. The Batman series introduced two vigilantes, Gotham and Gotham Girl.

DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding in December 2017, opting to include everything under a larger “DC Universe” banner and naming. The continuity established by Rebirth continues across DC’s comic book titles, including volume one of Detective Comics and the third volume of Batman.

 

Detective Comics (1970’s)

Writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams had their first collaboration on Batman on the story “The Secret of the Waiting Graves” in issue #395 (Jan. 1970). The duo, under the direction of Schwartz, would revitalize the character with a series of noteworthy stories reestablishing Batman’s dark, brooding nature and taking the books away from the campy look and feel of the 1966-68 ABC TV series. Comics historian Les Daniels observed that “O’Neil’s interpretation of Batman as a vengeful obsessive-compulsive, which he modestly describes as a return to the roots, was actually an act of creative imagination that has influenced every subsequent version of the Dark Knight.”

 O’Neil and artist Dick Giordano created the Batman supporting character Leslie Thompkins in the story “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley” appearing in issue #457 (March 1976). Writer Steve Englehart and artist Marshall Rogers produced an acclaimed run of Batman stories in Detective Comics #471-476 (Aug. 1977 – April 1978), and provided one of the definitive interpretations that influenced the 1989 Batman movie and would be adapted for the 1990s animated series. The Englehart and Rogers pairing, was described in 2009 by comics writer and historian Robert Greenberger as “one of the greatest” creative teams to work on the Batman character.  From issue #481 (Dec. 1978 – Jan. 1979) through #495 (Oct. 1980), the magazine adopted the expanded Dollar Comics format.

Detective Comics #457 F-VF $12

Superman: Speeding Bullets (1993)

Baby Kal-El crashes into Earth, where he is discovered by Thomas and Martha Wayne. The couple decide to adopt Kal-El, and name him Bruce. One night, Thomas and Martha are gunned down by a mugger. Bruce incinerates the mugger with his heat vision and discovers his superpowers, but it is too late to save his parents. He decides to hide his powers in shame.

Bruce decides to create a secret identity for himself many years later. As the Batman, he begins to brutally strike back at the criminals in Gotham. Meanwhile, criminal Lex Luthor is on the run and is caught in a horribly disfiguring accident. Lex becomes this dimension’s version of the clown prince of crime, The Joker.

Bruce is eventually persuaded by Lois Lane that a more hopeful superhero is needed than his dark, violent Batman persona, giving rise to his new, more heroic identity of Superman.

Superman: Speeding Bullets NM $12
Superman: Speeding Bullets NM $12