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“B” Is For …

… Batman! (1940)

I actually think that Batman has been better in Detective Comics (to say nothing of The Dark Knight Returns) than he has been in his own book, but clearly, “B” is for Batman.

One of the fascinations of this book is that it has something for everyone, depending the era you pick. The Golden Age stories stand on their own, but if I had to pick the peak it would likely be the O’Neil/Adams era. I have an affection for Batman’s “Grey Knight” period, and of course the Silver Age stories have their own goofy charm. The Englehart/Rogers stuff is ace, too.

Tell me about your own favorite take on Batman — or let me know about some great “B” title that I’ve overlooked — in the comments section, below!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Black Panther (1977)
  • Batwoman (2011)
  • Blue Devil (1984)
  • Badger (1983)

Read more about Batman at Longbox Graveyard:

Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on February 3, 2018, in Comics A-To-Z and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. For “B”, Batman is the only choice for me as well. In terms of the Bronze Age, the all too-short run by Englehart/Rogers was my favorite by far. I remember how much I looked forward to each new issue. In the waning years of my second run of comics as a hobby (90s), Detective was one of the few books I still read.

    As a youngster, I also liked reading Golden Age and Silver Age Batman stories (still do). The golden age books are fun because of how ruthless the characters are, hero and villain. The Silver Age stories cannot be beat for that patented DC-style nuttiness that you either love or hate.

    Runner up for me in this category is another Batman book: Brave and the Bold. You want DC nuttiness? Bob Haney is the caretaker (or he is an inmate?) of that nuthouse. Pair up Jim Aparo’s awesome art with Haney’s kookiness and get a thing of beauty.

    Distant third for me: Black Lightning, a book I loved. That character design was fantastic! Glad to see he’s made it to the small screen; I have not checked it out yet.

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    • I need to read some more (any?) Brave And The Bold. I am a diehard fan of the animated series it inspired.

      I caught the first episode of Black Lightning on Netflix the other night. Solid show. I’ll watch again, but my episodic TV viewing is pretty … episodic. Plus I am thoroughly over-served with geek stuff these days. (A happy problem to have).

      Right there with you on the Englehart/Rogers Batman. (And let me include Terry Austin’s inks as an equal partner).

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      • Be forewarned that B&B includes some real bat-sh#t crazy stuff…. for example, Batman deciding that he needs a vacation so he takes a cruise. As Batman. Really. Wearing his bat suit on deck and all.

        Most issues are not THAT insane, but for me that was part of the fun. As a teen it took a while to realize I needed to compartmentalize this Batman from the “real” Batman.

        The Super-Sons had that same thing going on too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It is crazy, but I consider Batman my 2nd favorite superhero behind Superman and Catwoman is my favorite villain, but I’m not really a fan of Batman’s comics. It is all a matter of timing. By the time I joined comics, Batman was doing these massive crossovers that were way too expensive for me. Then, Batman became way too dark.

    I love Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman ’66. But, not that many of the comics.

    Another problem is that by the time I tried bronze age Batman comics, I found that most of the great stories had been adapted to animation, so much of the wonder and surprise was missing for me.

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    • You are right, of course, there are even more versions of Batman when you include animation and film (the animated Batman Brave and the Bold tops my own list).

      Didn’t know Superman was your favorite … I’m going to disappoint you when we roll around to, “S.” Supes makes the list but I went with a different book (though still a DC title). How do you feel about the looming Brian Michael Bendis Superman books?

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  3. I honestly can’t think of any other B titles… Bider-Man? Bex-Men? Boward the Duck?

    1998’s Black Panther run by Christopher Priest is teeeee-riffic. I hear it influenced the movie. I caught the tail end of it’s Marvel Knights run, and went back to re-read it all. Considering the era, it was really one of the first “smart” Marvel books in years. Far less empty calories than its peers.

    As for Batman, I completely agree on Detective Comics. There is a fairly recent run, maybe 10 years ago, with black-and-white covers by Simone Bianchi. The issues span from the 820s-860s or so. They are all single-issue stories, truly episodic. They mined the character’s history and pulled out a few deep cuts, too. ….Now I gotta dig mine out.

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    • Damnit, Mojo, it’s not fair to recommend random DC runs when I can’t just whistle them up on a monthly digital subscription service.

      Fortunately, that Panther run IS on Marvel Unlimited, and I expect to get to it before the movie come around. I read the first couple issues back when they came out, then dropped out of comics or got a head wound or something, and lost track of the series. But nothing ever ages out at Longbox Graveyard. It is a benefit of living in the past.

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      • Couldn’t agree more on DC’s lack of digital subscription. Its my main form of comic consumption these days (with library rentals rounding it out), so Marvel gets 95% of my attention by default. So many DC things I’d like to try without real commitment. They are consistently 8 steps behind Marvel in Hollywood, and haven’t even left the start line with digital. Dopes.

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  4. … and also Don McGregor’s run on Black Panther in the 70s – pioneer quality;

    also, just surmising here, has Black Canary ever had her own book?

    and please, please, do not forget Black Orchid in Adventure Comics in the 70s and ESPECIALLY Neil Gaiman’s book – that was beautiful;

    and don’t forget Black Goliath … actually let’s forget Black Goliath;

    … 1967-onwards Batgirl had a kooky charm, especially Infantino-brushed;

    Liked by 1 person

    • McGregor’s run is noteworthy but by the arbitrary rules of my series, it falls under “J” (for Jungle Action). It was those same rules that pit AMAZING Spider-Man against the Avengers in round one.

      No love for poor Black Goliath, though, not even if he was “Zlack Goliath” (when we get to “Z” it will make sense).

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  5. Yeah, it’s gotta be Batman. No contest, really. However, I’m a sucker for teamup books, so I’ll put in a mention for the Brave & the Bold. I did enjoy the 70’s Black Lightning series. The 70’s Black Lightning series was OK, though his Jungle Action appearances were better. I actually did kinda like Black Goliath, too. Ah, I love the anonymity of the internet!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Add another vote for Brave and the Bold. One of the early comics I owned was B&B 91 with Black Canary and Art by Nick Cardy – including the incredible cover. And before it became the Batman team up book B&B also launched both the Justice League and the Teen Titans. Hard to top that.

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  7. Batman’s my fave, but only because of his Rogue’s Gallery. Fun blog, thanks.

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