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Reading List: The Ten Essential Batman Stories

Batman: Year One, DC Comics
Batman: Year One, DC Comics

So you've decided to read about Batman! I would definitely applaud this decision, as I have spent the majority of the past thirty years doing exactly that, but I also know that it can be pretty daunting to figure out where to get started. There have, after all, been thousands of Batman stories published since he first debuted from Bill Finger and Bob Kane in 1939, and despite a few missteps along the way, he probably has more classic and definitive stories in print than any other superhero.

But don't worry, ComicsAlliance is here to help with a list of ten essential Batman stories. Read these, and you'll (hopefully) come away with a solid foundation for understanding the Dark Knight and how he works.

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Woman With The Iron Fist: Revisiting Jo Duffy’s Classic ‘Power Man & Iron Fist’ Run

Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

There's no getting around it; Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist. the champion of K'un Lun, is an insensitively conceived character; a white guy who stumbles on an immortal race of Asian people and turns out to be better at their whole existence than them. That's the bedrock any creator has to deal with when crafting his stories.

A similar challenge faces the blaxploitation-themed Luke Cage, who became Danny's partner in 1972 in Luke Cage, Hero For Hire, which became Power Man & Iron Fist, in order to save both characters from cancellation. Originally written by Chris Claremont, the book passed to Jo Duffy when he left to focus on the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Duffy's solution to Iron Fist's problematic backstory? Make him an idiot.

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All The Image Comics Announcements From Emerald City Comic Con [ECCC ’17]

Image Comics
Image Comics

When Image Comics has new titles to announce, it doesn't play by halves; the publisher has been known to throw down a massive number of awesome sounding titles led by amazing creators, before dropping the mic as if to say, "Top that".

Last night at Emerald City Comic Con, the publisher did exactly that as it announced fifteen new comics and original graphic novels, including new work from Jeff Lemire, Declan Shalvey and Matt Wagner.

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Ask Chris #327: The Thin Line Between Love And Hate

Ask Chris #327, background art by Curt Swan

Q: Is it possible that Lex Luthor is actually in love with Superman? Is it the reason for his obsession and jealousy? — @RedEarth18

A: No.

Don't get me wrong: As much as it's been overused and misapplied over the years, the trope of a villain who's lashing out at a hero through some twisted kind of love isn't exactly one that I'm opposed to. It can be the source of some genuinely great storytelling, like Noelle Stevenson's Nimona, and it adds a lot of layers to villains that you don't often see in straightforward adventure stories where someone wants to punch someone else because they robbed the Crossword Puzzle Museum. I just don't think it works for Lex.

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Comics Alliance Gift Guide: For the Fan Who Has (Almost) Everything

wizardstale-feat

There’s a strong strain of the collector in fandom, and buying for a comics fan can be a difficult endeavor, because so much of what they want is something they already know about. But even the most famous writers, artists, and characters have obscurer works that often go overlooked.

This gift guide looks at deep cuts for the superfan in your life, and we've divided into three sections; favorite artists, favorite writers, and favorite characters. If you know someone who is passionate about Darwyn Cooke, devoted to Warren Ellis, or a big-time Superman fan, we may have the perfect gift suggestion.

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Heroes Hit Hard In ‘DKIII’ #6 [Preview]

DKTMR_6_featured

It's raining in Dark Knight III #6, we can say that for sure, based on this preview courtesy of DC. Batman is there, wearing his famous "I beat up Superman one time" armor. But Superman is there too, and they're on the same side.

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New ‘Gotham’ Season 3 Set Photos Look Like Gordon Vs. Human Godzilla

Gotham Season 3 Photos Monster Michael Montgomery
FOX

FOX’s Gotham has always seemed to crib from Batman mythology far ahead of Bruce ever donning the cowl, but rarely do we see imagery plucked from even the Dark Knight’s worst nightmares. New Season 3 set photos reveal the kind of crazy new villains tearing across Batman’s future stomping grounds, looking almost right out of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

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How Wolverine’s 1982 Mini Series Redefined Everyone’s Favorite Canadian [Mutant Week]

Wolverine Miller

Wolverine is, as the saying goes, the best there is at what he does. And what James "Logan" Howlett does best is make Marvel a ton of money. Since his first appearance fighting the Hulk in a comic by Len Wein and Herb Trimpe in 1974, to joining the X-Men, to making Hugh Jackman a box office draw, all the way to his recent death, Wolverine is one of the House of Idea's true superstars.

But the unspoken truth is that very few Wolverine stories are out-and-out great. Sure, there's a ton of great Wolvie moments out there --- "Now it's my turn!," that bit in his Civil War tie-ins where he survives being burned to atoms, "Tell Cyclops I made him a convertible" and so on --- but very few Wolverine-centered comics are classics. One exception to that rule is the original 1982 Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.

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James Harvey’s Colors Breathe New Life Into Frank Miller’s Art

Miller-colors-featured

Frank Miller is unarguably a legend in the comics industry, and in his own way was responsible for changing the direction of American superhero comics in the mid-'80s with his work on classic characters like Daredevil and Batman. However, Miller's recent output has been met with derision and outright mockery by some fans who see him as well past his prime.

James Harvey of Masterplasty and Bartkira sees things differently, and claims that Miller is as good as he ever was; DC just doesn't know how to color his art to get the most out of it. In a blog post last week, Harvey shared some examples of what he would do if he were Miller's colorist.

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Cool For Cats: A Tribute To Selina Kyle, Catwoman

Catwoman-Featured

On this day in 1940, DC Comics published Batman #1, which, as well as being the first appearance of The Joker, also featured the first appearance of the character we would come to know as Catwoman. Selina Kyle has been one of the most versatile characters in not only Batman’s canon, but the whole DC Universe. She’s been a hero, a villain, an ally, a lover, and for over twenty years she has been a leading lady in her own right.

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