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.
This week, Comixology has launched a Batgirl sale, celebrating 50 years since Barbara Gordon first donned the cape and cowl in 1967's Detective Comics #359. If you're a fan of Babs, there's plenty there to choose from --- including Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr's critically acclaimed "Batgirl of Burnside" relaunch, the post-Rebirth world-traveling adventures, and even some underrated deep-cut classics like Batgirl Adventures and DC First in there, too.
But Barbara Gordon isn't the only character to ever take the identity of Batgirl, and if you're up for diving into the hazy years of the early 2000s, there's a bunch of great stories in there about the second Batgirl, Cassandra Cain.
Here's something that you already know: Batman: The Animated Series is arguably the single best representation of Batman in the Dark Knight's 75-year history. It boiled down the character to his essentials, creating a beautiful and thrilling version of Batman that was acessible to fans of all ages and still holds up as a high point over twenty years later. Now here's something you might not know: The comic book that was created to go along with the show, The Batman Adventures, was every bit as good as the show.
This week, DC Comics released a collection of the first ten issues by Kelly Puckett, Mike Parobeck, Ty Templeton, Brad Rader, Martin Pasko and Rick Burchett, and that means this is a great time to talk about how that comic is about as close to being perfect, and how it's essential for anyone who wants to read some of the greatest Batman comics ever printed -- including the single best Riddler story ever.
This week marks the premiere of Gotham, the new Fox television show focusing on Jim Gordon's first year as a cop in Batman's hometown, and the origins of young Bruce Wayne and the people who will one day become the greatest enemies of his war on crime. That the show exists at all is a testament to how strong Jim Gordon and the rest of the Gotham city Police Department are as heroes in their own rights.
So if Gotham has you in the mood to read about Gordon, Harvey Bullock and the rest of the GCPD -- or if you just want to dive into some solid Batman comics where the spotlight isn't entirely on the Dark Knight -- then I've got some suggestions for great comics about Gotham's top cops!
A: Here's the least shocking thing you're going to read this week: I love Cassandra Cain. That probably goes without saying, given that she's a relatively obscure member of the Batman family that made her debut when I was a teenager, but really, it goes deeper than that. She came out of the gate with a compelling edge, some phenomenally solid storytelling, and a hook for drama that put her in contrast to the rest of Gotham's assorted heroes and hangers-on, while still feeling like a natural compliment to the other characters. And then, less than a decade later, she'd gone from being a new character with an incredible amount of potential to an also-ran who only really shows up to fill space in crossovers -- something that almost never happens to characters in the Batman family, especially when they've got 70+ solo issues under their utility belts.
So what happened? Man, I can't even tell you, I just read the darn things. But folks, it got really weird there at the end.
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