Batman (DC Comics)
1940 - 2011
The Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight, Bats, The World's Greatest Detective, The Great Mouse Detective; They all stand for one thing. The one, the only, Batman AKA Bruce Wayne. Batman has been thwarting the villains of Gotham City in all their attempts at various crimes over the past 75+ years, and he looks just as good doing it now as he did when he started. From jokers to scarecrows to penguins, he's seen them all. He's even gone after Hitler as depicted on the cover of Batman issue 18 (but not actually in any of the pages of the stories). If you're a threat to the innocent, Batman will be there to thwart your plans.
Batman first appeared in the pages of Detective Comics (issue 27), and was the creation of artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. Together, they crafted the story of young Bruce Wayne, the son of Thomas and Martha Wayne, who seeks justice against the crime ridden streets of Gotham for the death of his parents. Are we really saying anything anyone doesn't know already?
From his early iteration to the silly pop culture era of the 60's and 70's to his grittier edgy side in the 80's and 90's, Batman has seen numerous changes to keep him relevant as one of the most iconic comic book super heroes in history. He's been in print for over seventy years in numerous comic book titles, books, magazines, and even seen a fair amount of television series and films. It's a safe bet the character will outlive us all.
The original Batman comic book series began in the spring of 1940, and continued all the way through issue 713, concluding in August of 2011. The series also included one special, and 28 annuals. Mind you, this was just one of the many ongoing titles which incorporated Batman as the lead character at the time.
Today, in honor of the caped crusader and free comic book month we're showcasing every issue from the highly popular original Batman series. Please enjoy.
Issue three features the first appearance of Catwoman in her costume, and issue four names Gotham City for the first time. Issue five brings the roar of the Batmobile to the pages, complete with bat-head battering ram. Linda Page first appears of one of many of Bruce Wayne's flings in issue six.
Issue twelve reveals the deep cavern below Wayne Manor as Batman's secret lair - AKA the Batcave.
Alfred gets introduced in issue sixteen as the Wayne family valet.
Batman and Robin get a little silly when they travel back through time in issue twenty-four to face dangers in Rome.
Meanwhile, issue twenty-five features the first villain team-up story with The Joker and Penguin. Things go right back to silly in issue twenty-six with the Bat-Sled which enables the dynamic duo and Alfred to have some winter fun.
Enter the first appearance of the Bat-Boat in issue thirty-four! This is followed up with issue thirty-five which features a blond haired Catwoman in her official purple cat-eared garb.
Aliens appear for the first time in the pages of Batman forty-one.
Meanwhile, Batman acknowledges Superman's existence for the first time in issue forty-five - Despite the character not appearing in any of the pages. Things then come full circle in issue forty-seven when Batman tracks down Joe Chill - The man who killed his parents.
The Mad Hatter joins the line-up of Batman rogues in issue forty-nine. Additionally, Vicki Vale, Batman's most enduring love interest, gets introduced.
Deadshot makes his first appearance in issue fifty-nine.
Batplane II is revealed in the pages of issue sixty-one, while Catwoman's origin is chronicled in issue sixty-two. Killer Moth then makes his first appearance in issue sixty-three.
Batman graples with one of his many ape themed enemies in issue seventy-five. Then the Caped Crusader and Superman finally meet in issue seventy-six.
The Bat-Marine surfaces in issue eighty-six, and the series says goodbye to the Golden Age of comics shortly thereafter.
Ace the Bathound makes his first appearance in the pages of issue ninety-two.
The series crosses the milestone one hundredth issue in 1956.
Signalman makes his first appearance in issue one hundred twelve.
Mongo the Batape joins the Batman family in issue one hundred fourteen. Mr. Zero, who would eventually evolve into Mr. Freeze makes his first appearance in issue one hundred twenty-one.
Bette makes here first appearance as Batgirl in the pages of issue one hundred twenty-nine.
Issue one hundred thirty-one brings us the imaginary tale where Batman and Batwoman are married and have a son named Robin. Meanwile, in the same pages of this issue, Robin assumes the mantle of Batman.
Batman becomes a Bat-Baby in issue one hundred forty-seven. The tale is declared as "The Story of the Year!" on the cover.
Baman encounters the Getaway Genius for the first time in issue one hundred seventy.
The alluring Poison Ivy makes her first appearance in issue one hundred eighty-one.
Batman reaches issue 200 in 1968, and does battle with the master of fear, The Scarecrow.
Ra's al Ghul makes his menacing debut in issue two hundred thirty-two. The series also enjoys a brief title change from Batman to Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. Two-Face then returns from a long hiatus in issue two hundred thirty-four.
The series reaches the milestone three hundredth issue in 1978.
Lucious Fox is introduced in issue three hundred seven as the financial wizard who guides Wayne Enterprises.
The pyromaniac Firebug makes his debut in issue three hundred eighteen.
The prison / hospital, Arkham Asylum is introduced in issue three hundred twenty-six.
The Electrocutioner makes his debut in issue three hundred thirty-one.
Meanwhile, in issue three hundred fifty-two, Batman does battle with the evil Colonel Blimp.
Two characters make their first appearances in issue three hundred fifty-seven - Jason Todd and the reptilian villain Killer Croc.
The hardened detective Harvey Bullock makes his debut in issue three hundred sixty-one. This is followed up in issue three hundred sixty-six with the first appearance of Jason Todd as Robin.
Roman Sionis, AKA Black Mask debuts in issue three hundred eighty-six. Batman then enters the modern age of comics.
October 1986 brings the milestone issue four hundred. This leads up to the highly popular Frank Miller story, Batman: Year One which concludes in issue four hundred five.
Jason Todd appears in Crime Alley in a post-crisis story in issue four hundred eight. Meanwhile, Batman encounters the Mime in issue four hundred twelve. During this period, Batman also enjoys another brief title change to Batman: The new Adventures.
The KGBeast debuts in the four part mini series "Ten Nights of the Beast" which begins in issue four hundred seventeen.
The amazing "A Death in the Family" story arc begins in issue four hundred twenty-six. The story arc asked readers to vote if Jason Todd would die at the hands of The Joker - Which he does in issue four hundred twenty-eight.
The Year Three story arc comes and goes, follow up with the epic "A Lonely Place of Dying" story arc (issues for hundred forty - four hundred forty-two) leading to the debut of Tim Drake as Robin.
The mute engineer-savant, Harold Allnut makes his debut as one of the Penguin's henchmen in issue four hundred forty-seven.
Tim Drake officially joins Batman's side as the new Robin in issue four hundred fifty-seven. Meanwhile, Harold Allnut begins making a home for himself in the Batcave in issue four hundred fifty-eight as the resident mechanic.
The multi-title crossover story arc, Knightfall begins in issue four hundred ninety-two.
After being paralyzed, Bruce Wayne hands the mantle of Batman over to the more violent nature Jean-Paul Valley. The series then crosses over the milestone issue five hundred in 1993 where Valley adopts a more formidable Bat-armor in order to defeat Bane.
Knightfall continues into the continued multi-cross over series Knight Quest.
Knight Quest then shifts into Knight's End, and finds a recovered Bruce Wayne battling Jean-Paul Valley to reclaim the mantle of Batman in issue five hundred nine.
Though it's not shown until further down, Batman 0 is published in October of 1994 alongside several other bat-related titles which also receive an issue zero.
The schizoid known as Schism makes his debut in issue issue five hundred twenty-seven.
The Ogre and Ape make their debuts in issue five hundred thirty-five.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne's latest love interest, Vesper Fairchild makes her debut in issue five hundred forty.
The fifth Clayface, Cassius Payne makes his debut in issue five hundred fifty.
Cassandra Cain, who would eventually become the next Batgirl makes her debut in issue five hundred sixty-seven along with the assassin, Cain.
After a year of No Man's Land, Metropolis citizen Lex Luthor spearhead's rebuilding Gotham City.
Just as the rebuilt Gotham City becomes stable again, the zealot known as The Banner attacks in issue five hundred seventy-five. Batman then does battle with Orca in issue five hundred seventy-nine.
The multi-part story arc entitled "Officer Down" begins in issue five hundred eighty-seven when Commissioner Gordon is nearly killed by a mysterious gunman.
The optically enhanced villain, Philo Zeiss makes his debut in issue five hundred ninety-one.
Batman crosses six hundred issues in 2002, making it one of the longest consecutive monthly comic books in history. He then does battle with Nicodemus for the first time in issue six hundred one.
The epic "Hush" story line begins in issue six hundred nine. In the pages, The Huntress acquires a provocative new costume, and Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, Tommy Elliot first appears.
After manipulating Batman and his rogue of villains for months, Hush finally makes his appearance in issue six hundred fourteen. This is followed by Batman revealing his identity for the first time to Catwoman in issue six hundred fifteen.
Batman meets the Japanese gangsters known as Fatman and Little Boy for the first time in issue six hundred twenty-three.
The War Games story arc includes the controversial torture and death of Stephanie Brown who served as Robin for a short time.
The story arc, "Under the Red Hood" brought with it a surprise twist when it was revealed Jason Todd was the man behind the mask in issue six hundred thirty-eight.
Issue six hundred seventy-six starts the brutal multi-Batman title crossover story arc, R.I.P. In the pages of the numerous issues, Batman faces the Black Glove organization who are bent on destroying everything Batman stands for.
Batman hit issue seven hundred in 2010, but sadly milestone events in the pages of the books were becoming few and far between.
In June of 2011 DC announced it was rebooting all of its series which were intertwined in its shared universe. This would give the company the much needed opportunity to revision long running characters who may have had numerous continuity errors or retconed concepts. It was also the perfect opportunity to bring in new readers who perhaps would be more interested at the opportunity to engage in titles beginning with issue one as opposed to six or seven hundred. The long running Batman series concluded in October 2011 with issue seven hundred thirteen.
Also shown above is Batman 1,000,000 which was published in 1998.
The above mentioned Batman Zero.
The Batman series was formidably rounded out with numerous annuals which in their own right contained milestone appearances and story lines.
Okay, so we all know the opportunity for your Average Joe obtaining a full run of (first print) Batman comics is in all likelihood impossible. As such, the majority of us who want to enjoy Batman stories in their entirety from start to finish are bound to the various trade paperbacks, collections and / or online sources. Of course, one also needs a whole lot of time to get through almost seven hundred fifty issues - But, it's well worth the time.
On a side note, if you haven't seen the documentary Batman & Bill, we highly recommend it. It's a great insight story into how the man who was equally responsible for Batman as we know him today was shunned out of the spotlight by a greedy Bob Kane who took every iota of credit. Seriously, you'll never look at Bob Kane in the same way after watching this. He really was a [insert word of choice here].
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