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Batman Books You must Read!

If you like Batman as much as I do and are looking for some of his greatest stories to dive deeper into the crazy world that is his life, below is a must read list to get you to where you want to go. These are in no particular order of all time greats and I know the list could be bigger but I just don’t want to write anymore…. so enjoy.

The Dark Knight Returns

Thanks Frank Miller. You did a great job with this. After years of campy Batman books Frank Miller took the Dark Knight and made him badass again. Say what you want about him recently, but this will go down as probably the defining book in the world of Batman.

“You don’t get it boy… this isn’t a mudhole… it’s an operating table. (KRAKKKKK) And I’m the surgeon.”

Batman Year One

Yet another addition by Frank Miller. Retooling Bruce Wayne’s origin. Walking you through the first year as Batman, meeting Selena, having Gordon be a badass (probably seeing Bruce as the man who saved his son) and driving a dagger into the Falcone crime Family. Just a solid read for any comic book lover.

“Ladies. Gentlemen. You have eaten well. You’ve eaten Gotham’s wealth. Its spirit. Your feast is nearly over. From this moment on…none of you are safe.”

Gotham Central

The Wire meet Batman. That is what this book is. Written by Ed Brubaker who is just so good at detective/ crime stories and Greg Rucka, also just so so so good. Gotham Central is focused on Gotham Major Crimes detectives and their perspective of live in Gotham around the insane people living there. It just gives you such a new and different vantage point of what the major criminals in Gotham feel like to the everyday person. 

“Whatever you do, remember that. You’re going to make a difference. A lot of times it won’t be huge, it won’t be visible even. But it will matter just the same. Don’t do it for praise or money, that’s what I want to tell you. Do it because it needs to be done. Do it to make your world better.”


The Killing Joke

Alan Moore before he hated the comic world… or even when he hated it. I don’t know. Obviously makes the list of must reads. I honestly don’t know what to write about this book that has not been written already. A Joker origin story focused on him trying to drive Commissioner Gordon insane by 1) crippling his daughter and 2) sexually assaulting her.

Just read it.

“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.”

Earth One

Geoff Johns writing. Gary Frank art. That should be enough.  A retailing of Batman origin. Angry and not quite ready to dawn the cowl. A young Bruce Wayne not like your used to. Gordon kind of being a little wimp and a freaking insane Alfred. A whole different perspective on the Batman mythos but never the less a very good read.

“Do you know what body armor says about a guy?
It says he needs body armor.”

Long Halloween and Dark Victory

Next step in a Batman retooling would be the unofficial “Year Two” story written and drawn by one of my favorite duo’s Loeb and Sale. A more established Batman takes control while facing off against a strong Falcone family and a new holiday based serial killer. One of Batman’s first failures that never gets resolved.

“I made a promise to my parents that I would rid the city of the evil that took their lives.”

Chapter two of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s arc. Dark Victory introduces Dick Grayson with just a heart breaking telling of his origin story. This one brings out some more depth to Two-Face and the Falcone family once again. Also, the introduction of the Dynamic Duo!

“I’m not here to be liked.”

A Death in The Family and A Lonely Place Of Dying

I did these two together. One has the “death” of a Robin. The other an intro to a new one and the showcases the reason why Batman needs a Robin.
Death in the Family is a huge moment for Batman. Joker beats Robin within an inch of his life with a crowbar, then becomes Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations. Yes weird. Regardless, with fans voting on wether Robin lives or dies, this story is a huge turning point for Batman.

A Lonely Place of Dying answers why does Batman need a Robin.  It is pretty much because if he did not have one, or someone like Robin, Bruce would go daaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrkk. Looking after someone else helps Batman take more precautions and think clearer.

Chapter two of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s arc. Dark Victory introduces Dick Grayson with just a heart breaking telling of his origin story. This one brings out some more depth to Two-Face and the Falcone family once again. Also, the introduction of the Dynamic Duo!

“I don’t know why you decided to wear that costume, but it makes you a symbol. Just as Robin was a symbol. Or Superman, or Nightwing, or the policeman who wears his uniform. And this isn’t just a symbol of the law, it’s a symbol of justice. When one policeman is killed, others take his place because justice can’t be stopped.”

Arkham Asylum A Serious House

Mind warping craziness…. psychos and religion, abnormal psychology and insane occult symbolism. Then add in Batman’s crazy mind. Grant Morrison writes the craziness and Dave Mckean art truly brings the minds of Batman’s most insane villains to life.  Just one of the bestselling graphic novels of all time… you should read this.

“I run blindly through the madhouse … And I cannot even pray … For I have no God.”



At the height of his career Jeph Loeb writes one of my most fan favorite Batman stories of all time. He brings in so many old characters and puts you through the ringer emotionally at the end of it all. Coupled with the fantastic Jim Lee art and you have an instant classic.  A truly great 12 issue detective story. Ignore the movie. Read the book. Can’t stress that enough.

“Deep down, Clark’s essentially a good person… and deep down, I’m not”


Court Of Owls

Coming hot off of his Detective Comics run that showed us how awesome Dick Grayson would be as Batman (although much different than Bruce) Scott Snyder was handed the reigns of the Batman book. The first arc is a deep dive into the history of the Wayne family which shows that Gotham has more then one powerful family. The story has Batman looking into the Court of Owls, a crazy nursery rhyme and a fucked up maze so ridiculous it drives Batman nearly insane and you, as the reader, wondering if you are reading it right. Honestly, one of the best Batman reads in the past 10 years.

“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 of them, or they’ll send the Talon for your head.”


Tower Of Babel

Here is a book that answers. If Batman had the time, is he unbeatable. The answer…. yup. Just ask the JLA. In Tower of Babel, we discover that Batman has made plans to take out any and all of the league members incase they turn and go dark. Mark Waid and Howard Porter come up with some brilliant ways to take down the League Members.  When his parents bodies are stolen by the League of Assassins (dicks) to distract Batman Talia sneaks into the Batcave and steals the before mentioned take down plans for the JLA…. And then uses them. One of my favorite stories for Batman.

Superman: “Tell me why.”
Batman: “I had my reasons. But I’m no happier than you that Ra’s decrypted my computer files.”
Superman: “Our sympathies are marginal.”


The Man Who Laughs

Another Ed Brubaker written book. This time Doug Manhke doing the art.

Introducing the first tussle between the Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight. Another well written crime book set with dark noir tons and shows how the joker is more methodical than just pure chaos. It feels as if he is the counterpart, not only in ethics, but in preparation to Batman.  Which. Is. Terrifying.

“Good evening, Gotham and Gothamites everywhere… Thought I’d take some time out of my oh so busy schedule to say hi and make a few not so veiled threats… so, hello — goodbye, you’re all going to die.”


Black Mirror

Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla do nothing but great things in this story arc. Dick Grayson as Batman after Bruce leaves to run Batman Inc.

The story starts of with Gordon knowing this Batman isn’t the Batman he knows and is not happy about it being, who he knows to be, the previous Robin.

Freaking James Gordon Jr. The psycho killer son of Commissioner Gordon would and could be a villain that equals the Joker for Dick Grayson Batman.

“I’m not going to pretend I’m a good person. Have I hurt people? Yes. Have I done bad things—?”

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