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Denny O'Neil

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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Cast Party: Who Should Have Starred In A Bronze Age ‘Diana Prince: Wonder Woman’ Movie?

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March is Women’s History Month, and we’re looking at the history of Wonder Woman. As we all know, her first theatrical film is due out later this year. But what if it wasn’t her first? What if there had been as many onscreen Wonder Women as Batmen?

So far we've done a Golden Age Wonder Woman movie and a Silver Age Wonder Girl movie; this week we march on into the early 1970s, for another movie featuring stars of the era.

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The Strange Library: Ten Essential ‘Doctor Strange’ Comics

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Doctor Strange is a second-tier character in the Marvel pantheon, but he's making the leap to the big leagues thanks to the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. To help get you up to speed with the character, we've compiled a list of ten of the best Doctor Strange stories ever published. These are the stories that will introduce you to his major foes and his main supporting cast, and get you acquainted with all the many great talents that have worked on the character over the years.

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The Evolution of Green Arrow: Best Green Arrow Stories by Decade

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Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.

With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Green Arrow comics.

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The Evolution of the Green Lantern: Best Green Lantern Stories by Decade

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Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.

With this new feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the Green Lantern.

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The Evolution of Superman: The Best Superman Stories by Decade

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Many of comics' most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.

With this new feature we'll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics' most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we're taking a look at Superman.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Batman’s Deadly New Year! (1972)

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Last week, one of the questions that came in for my Ask Chris column came from someone who was curious about how Batman celebrated New Year's Eve, and really, that's a pretty interesting question. I mean, we have plenty of comics, cartoons and even one goofy-ass movie about how he spends Christmas, but stories that address whether or not he watches the ball drop and toasts a cup of kindness are significantly harder to come by. Fortunately, we have Batman #247, a classic from the Bronze Age that addresses exactly this question.

As it turns out, Batman spends his New Year's Eve punching out criminals. What the hell did you think he was going to do?

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The Batmanologist Guide To Comixology’s Massive 99-Cent Batman 75th Anniversary Sale

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Okay, so there's good news and bad news. The good news is that ComiXology is having a massive sale on Batman comics, and has knocked a bunch of them down to 99¢ each, which means that you can grab some great stories on the cheap. The bad news? Since this whole thing is in honor of Batman's 75th anniversary, they've put 750 comics on sale, plus a handful of graphic novel collections. All things considered, that's a pretty good problem to have, but still, that can be pretty overwhelming.

Fortunately, we're here to help. As the World's Foremost Batmanologist, I've sifted through the sale to bring you safe bets for what you should be grabbing during the sale. Assuming you've got the obvious ones -- like The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One and the recent runs by Morrison, Snyder, and Capullo -- here's what to grab next!

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Denny O’Neil & Michael Kaluta’s Lost ‘The Shadow’ Graphic Novel Available for the First Time in Two Decades [Preview]

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A good number of of the old comics which continue to influence the aesthetic interests of this website were first discovered by me in 2001, during an epic quest into the deepest, darkest parts of the convention floor at San Diego Comic-Con. I'd pledged to identify and purchase as many hardcover collections, paperbacks, graphic novels or other comics-with-spines as I could, so long as they were things I'd never heard of before (this was very easy to do for a child of the '90s, since Wizard was unlikely to devote any time to anything useful like that). I bought so many comics that year that even today, some remain in my "unread" pile.

One of the books I discovered was The Shadow: 1941, a hardcover graphic novel by the great Denny O'Neil and Michael Kaluta with Russ Heath and Mark Chiarello, published by Marvel. Despite the auspicious pedigree of its creators, I'd never heard of the book, had no idea Marvel ever published Shadow comics, and didn't really know anything about the character anyway. As such, it was exactly the sort of forgotten, out-of-print gem I was looking for.

Subtitled Hitler's Astrologer, this Shadow book is exactly the dark, globe-trotting adventure of war and mysticism that its title and cover suggest. It's a gorgeous pleasure of a comic book, and more than two decades since it was originally released, Dynamite Entertainment are reissuing it this week.

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Bizarro Back Issues: The Joker’s Solo Series (1975)

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If you've been down to the comic book store over the past couple of weeks, you've probably noticed that for DC, it's Villains Month, where a tie-in to the big Forever Evil event has led to the bad guys headlining the monthly comics instead of the heroes. As a result, we're getting comics with names like Batman #23.1/Joker #1, which I think we can all agree makes things easy to follow. The thing is, while this definitely isn't the first time the villains have stepped into the spotlight, it's not even the first time we've gotten a comic called Joker #1.

That happened way back in 1975, when somebody at DC figured that it was a good idea to give the Clown Prince of Crime his own ongoing series that managed to last a mere nine issues -- and it's actually even stranger than it sounds.

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