ANDY FISH

ANDY FISH is a comic book artist


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Batman in the Comics

I've been asked by a few movie fans to recommend Batman books they should read, after enjoying THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and wanting to know more about the character.

Here are my recommendations based on the criteria of enjoying the Nolan style Batman;




The evolution of the lone avenger, at first using a gun to eliminate his enemies, then adopting Robin and becoming more of a father figure who delivers criminals to the Police.  These are the real deal, the actual comic book appearances of Batman in the pages of Detective Comics, Batman Comics and World Finest Comics starting in 1939 and reproduced chronilogically.  Since these comics were created in the early ages of comics golden age they are very crude (but easy to read along and follow).  Made in an era before the artform matured.
(Actually 10 volumes in print if you want to keep going.)


Retconned retelling of Batman’s origin in a great film noir style.  Not actually the way it happened but that’s what the Chronicles are for right?  This could be a starting point (and much of Batman Begins was taken from this) if you want more advanced storytelling techniques and a more challenging complex story.  



Batman and Robin as a team, working together.  After the extreme silliness of the 50s comics where Batman would gain superpowers, be changed into a giant gorilla or fight space aliens, editor Julius Schwartz was brought in to revamp the character and return him to a more realistic detective style character.  Due to the influence of Marvel Comics, National Comics (Later known as DC) attempted to give their comics a bit of an edge starting with this period.
The team splits up as Robin goes off to college.


With Robin going off to college, Batman Returns to his solo adventures and returns to his status as a 'creature of the night' using the darkness to his advantage.   Work by creators like Neal Adams, Denny O'Neil, Jim Aparo, Walt Simonson and Marshall Rogers helped to redefine the character in a way no other period has accomplished.



Robin is kidnapped and so to is the daughter of super criminal Ra’s Ah Ghul—who comes to Batman to help him find his daughter.  A very James Bond-like adventure which introduces one of Batman's greatest villains.


Batman and Talia Ah Ghul team up to stop a world domination plan- leading to a romantic relationship that doesn’t end well.  Collecting three painted individual graphic novels which together make up a larger story.



The first half of this 500 page hardcover is the definitive version of Batman's everyday life.  No writer and artist has done such a clear version of the character-- read the reprints of Detective Comics 470 (with art by Walt Simonson) up through Detective 476 as well as the prose story will illustrations by Marshall Rogers and text by Denny O'Neil and DEATH STRIKES AT MIDNIGHT AND THREE which is one of the best Batman stories ever done, and skip the rest of the collection, but well worth having. 



13 Part Mystery story—classic Batman.  Tim Sale's artwork is one you'll either like or dislike and Loeb crafts an interesting detective story.


The Joker commits the ultimate evil in this tale of origin and revenge.


Creator Darwyn Cooke shows his prowess as a master of Batman lore with this collection which includes SELINA’S BIG SCORE—classic Catwoman film noir!  Excellent for fans of crime drama.


Bane comes to Gotham, free’s all of the city’s worst criminals and studies Batman’s fighting methods.  Exhausted after recovering all of them, Batman faces Bane who puts him out of commission.  FULL DISCLOSURE:  Not my favorite story, but it's considered a classic by a LOT of people and it was a great deal of the basis of the new movie so I'm including it here.  If you want to read the real story of Bane here it is.


BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (don’t mistake it with the sequel Dark Knight Strikes Again)
After 10 years of retirement, Bruce Wayne Realizes he must return to his role as Batman to save the city from it’s latest band of criminals.

There you have it!