On April 25, 1940, “Batman #1” was released to newsstands throughout the United States. While not officially the first appearance of the Caped Crusader, Batman #1 does mark Bruce Wayne’s first appearance in a solo comic series. 77 years and over 600 issues later, the Batman comics continue to capture the imagination of people throughout the world. From paragon to parent, Calendar Man to Catwoman, the Dark Knight has assumed a range of roles, and faced off against a diverse set of adversaries in his pursuit of justice. Below we have collected some of the greatest Batman stories ever told, available now through the library.
Told over the course of a year, Batman: The Long Halloween follows Batman as he tries to apprehend a serial killer whose crimes coincide with holidays. While originally released in 1996, The Long Halloween remains one of the definitive Batman stories thanks to the dark, moody storytelling of award-winning creative team Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time,
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed.
Speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send the Talon for your head.
Following a complete reboot of the DC Comics line in 2011, writer Scott Snyder introduced Batman fans to the highly-organized secret society known as The Court of Owls. Operating in the shadows of Gotham City since colonial times, The Court of Owls are revealed to have played a role in many key moments in Bruce Wayne’s life, including the death of his parents. Batman: Court of Owls was released to near universal acclaim, and it’s impact on the Batman series can still be felt six years later.
Detective, crime fighter, father? Batman & Son marks both the beginning of writer Grant Morrison’s six year run on Batman titles, and the first appearance of Damian Wayne, son of Batman and grandson of Batman villain Ra's al Ghul. Now known as the fifth iteration of Batman’s sidekick, Robin, Damian Wayne was first shown to be a violent and rambunctious ten year old, trained by the League of Assassins. Batman & Son casts Bruce Wayne in a new light as he attempts to tend to the responsibilities of being Gotham City’s protector, while caring for a son he never knew he had.
Set in the world of the classic Batman television series, Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson combat the fiendish rogue’s gallery of the Joker, Catwoman and the Riddler. Both silly and charming, this series is every bit as entertaining as the show from which it was inspired.
No list is complete without the mention of Frank Miller’s magnum opus, The Dark Knight Returns. Set in a bleak, not-too-distant future, Batman has been missing from the streets of Gotham for over ten years. As gangs roam the street and world becomes more dangerous, Batman is forced out of retirement to settle old scores. Endlessly imitated, and inspiring countless other Batman tales, The Dark Knight Returns stands tall as arguably the greatest Batman story ever told.