Comic book classics: 8 must read Batman stories

The Dark Knight, Silent guard and vigilant defender, the greatest detective in the world – Batman. He certainly doesn’t need an introduction, as we all know and love this superhero. Batman fights crime for over 70 years. There are many clichés and plot moves in Batman stories, which have become a standard for a variety of genres.
Batman had his first appearance in the comics in May 1939 in Detective Comics #27. Of course, during all these years tons of paper was used and drawn thousands of illustrations. Many generations grew up on Batman stories, although the character had changed repeatedly, as the world changed around. And it is quite a natural process, since comics have always been a kind of alternative reflection of reality, therefore the character should always stay relevant.
Those who would like to get to know Batman better through comics will face a great amount of volumes dedicated to the Dark Knight. We have tried to gather comic books, which have already become classics and bedrock of Batman stories. We suggest reading them and the sooner the better.

1. Batman: Year One

Batman

Everybody knows the origin of Batman, as it has been presented dozens of times. But this comic book has the most logical and rational version, the closest to the generally accepted canons.
“Year One” was created by the writer Frank Miller with illustrator David Mazzucchelli and released in 1987. This comics touches the very beginning of Batman’s career. It shows the formation of Bruce Wayne as a symbol of the night, and as someone who has experienced the death of his parents. The story also talks about the origin of the bat costume and includes first appearance of other characters, such as James Gordon, Selina Kyle and Falcone crime family.
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2. Batman: The Killing Joke

Joker

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Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland this graphic novel was published in 1988. The plot tells a story about an unnamed engineer, whose fate was not so happy. Heartbroken by the death of his wife and unborn child he decided to get involved in the robbery of a plant, where he hides his face with a red hood. After an unsuccessful attack the gang was killed, and a red cap engineer comes face to face with the Dark Knight. Frightened, he falls into a vat of chemicals and escapes through the downspouts. The whole story is the reason why the unfortunate engineer became the way we know him today – the Joker. It is important to note that “The Killing Joke” – is the best novel about the famous antagonist, which has no analogues.

3. Batman: The Long Halloween

Released in 1997 the series “Long Halloween” was illustrated by Tim Sale and written by Jeph Loeb. This is a grim criminal story that occurs after the Year One events. During this Halloween Batman, Commissioner Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent join forces to save the city from mafia wars and mysterious killer – a person who kills mobsters, but only during the holidays.
Much attention is paid to the relationship between the main defenders of Gotham City, as well as the transformation of Harvey Dent into Two-Face. “The Long Halloween” shows the genuine tragic figure of Harvey Dent and his duality that wasn’t caught by every author. This is a great comic book for those who are interested in the origin of one of the most prominent villains of the DC universe.

4. Batman Adventures: Mad Love

Harley Quinn

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Joker’s girlfriend Harley Quinn perhaps is the most popular anti-hero of the Batman’s universe. Not everyone remembers that she appeared in the animated series “Batman: The Animated Series” for the first time, and only later in this comic book. Nowadays Harley has changes so much that it is priceless to see her just the way writer Paul Dini pictured her.
This comic, exciting and touching story of Harley’s mad love for Joker won the Eisner Award. In 2016 Harley Quinn had her first debut on the big screen starring in the “Suicide Squad” movie.

5. Batman Arkham Asylum: Serious house on Serious earth

Batman: Arkham Asylum poster

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This iconic graphic novel was written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Dave McKean in 1989. Events take place in a psychiatric Arkham Asylum, where the Joker takes control of the entire staff and the building, turning it into a deadly trap for Batman. Arriving at the clinic, The Dark Knight is trapped inside the hospital, where every inmate wants to kill Batman.

6. The Dark Knight Returns

One of the best comic novels in the history “The Dark Knight Returns” was written and illustrated by Frank Miller in 1986. The plot tells about the 56 years old Bruce Wayne, who hasn’t worn the Batman mask for 10 years, due to the death of Jason Todd. The government forced all superheroes to retire, leaving the protection of the city to the Superman. As the result crime in Gotham city raises to previously unseen levels: a gang of “Mutants” kills everyone and everything. In this situation, Bruce Wayne realizes that city needs Batman like never before.

7. Batman: Hush

The majority of Batman’s villains appear in this successful bestseller. A mysterious villain who literally knows everything about the past of Bruce Wayne appears in Gotham and disturbs Batman. Acting with the hands of the Arkham hospital regulars, a new criminal tries to defeat the Dark Knight. The presence of almost all the main characters of the Batman universe makes this a great introduction to the modern history of Gotham.

8. Batman and Son

This is the first chapter of Grant Morrison’s saga, which continues to this day in Batman Inc. series. Batman receives breaking news that he might have a son, which leads to the real war for the right to become the successor of the legendary Gotham defender.

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