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Comics You Should Own flashback – Detective #583-594; 601-614

When I first wrote this, I questioned whether this featured the best Batman artist ever. Boy howdy, that was a fun thing to bring up! So I present the evidence!

I wonder whatever happened to this Mignola dude? The first of many great Breyfogle covers! Not the greatest issue, but what a great cover! Crazy insane!

Detective Comics by Alan Grant (writer), John Wagner (writer, issues #583-594)*, Norm Breyfogle (penciller; inker, issues #586-592, 594), Kim DeMulder (inker, issue #583), Steve Mitchell (inker, issues #584, 593, 601-614 ), Ricardo Villagran (inker, issue #585), Adrienne Roy (colorist, issues #583-587, 589-594, 601-614), Anthony Tollin (colorist, issue #588), Todd Klein (letterer, issues #584-594, 601-609, 611-614), and Albert de Guzman (letterer, issue #610) (no letterer is credited for issue #583).

* Our Dread Lord and Master, in his incessant quest to educate us all about all things comics, points out that Wagner co-wrote only the first five issues (#583-587). He signed a contract for a year, however, so Grant kept his name on the credits. Just go read the link!

DC, 26 issues (#583-594; 601-614), cover dated February 1988 – January 1989; June 1989 – May 1990).

Well, that has to suck! Anarky rulez!!!! Another decent issue with a bad-ass cover! Batman gets all sentimental!

Very minor SPOILERS: It’s Batman. He wins. Get used to it.

Batman is almost unique among major superheroes in mainstream comic books for at least one reason: he doesn’t need a supporting cast. The big guns in the DC and Marvel worlds not only need their supporting casts, some are practically defined by them. Superman wouldn’t be Superman without Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson, Perry White, the Kents, and (possibly) Lana Lang. Spider-Man would be far less interesting sans Mary Jane and Aunt May. With the possible exception of the Punisher, whose stature is far less than the others and who’s a Batman knock-off anyway, Batman stands alone as a hero who is not defined or limited by a supporting cast. He doesn’t need Alfred Pennyworth or Robin or Commissioner Gordon, the three mainstays throughout his long career. Batman is rare in that he is defined largely by his villains – he has the most memorable rogues’ gallery in comic book history, and honestly, no one comes close (okay, maybe Flash) – by his detective skills, and by the death of his parents, who comprise the only indispensible part of his supporting cast, and they’re dead. That’s not to say that Batman can’t have a rich and varied group of people around him. Several writers have built up his supporting cast and made him interact far more with them than others. However, a writer can certainly write excellent Batman stories with hardly any interaction with those around him, something that cannot be said for many other superheroes.

Case in point: Alan Grant and John Wagner. These gentlemen came onto Detective Comics after a bit of turmoil on the title. Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis were the creative team until #575, then Todd McFarlane did some issues (the last three chapters of “Year Two”), then Jim Baikie drew a Two-Face story, and then we had the awful Millennium tie-in (Norm Breyfogle’s first issue). With issue #583, however, we got Grant and Wagner teamed with Breyfogle, and for the next few years, Detective was a no-holds-barred, roller-coaster-ride of comic book goodness, with Batman doing what he does best: Solving crimes and beating up bad guys. Robin? Bah! Tim Drake shows up at the very end of the run, but even before the fans killed off Jason Todd, he was nowhere to be found in these pages. Alfred? He’s here for a few panels every so often, but usually it was just to answer the phone and look something up on the computer before Batman was off again to kick some butt. Gordon? Also present, but basically as a Greek chorus to explain the crime to Batman before fading back into the shadows. Even Bruce Wayne is hardly present – he does play a key role in a few of the stories, but as an assistant in Batman’s crime-solving passion and not on his own. Only in the final few issues does Bruce Wayne do anything not connected to Batman – he has a lunch date with Vicki Vale and he sponsors a class of underprivileged kids (which is still related to his nocturnal activities, but it doesn’t go toward solving a crime). For these 26 issues, Batman takes center stage. He fights villains, he experiences horror, he solves crimes. So why are these issues so special?

Grant and Wagner, quite simply, told great short stories. Grant and Wagner wrote a three issue story (#587-589) and Grant wrote a three-issue and a four-issue story (#601-603 and #604-607), but the rest are either two issues long or one issue. They waste no space whatsoever with these stories – they are stripped to the bone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s almost impossible to believe in these built-for-the-trade days that a writer could consistently put out 22- or 44-page stories with such excellence. We get a bad guy doing bad things, and Batman stops him. The stories are completely pulpy and noir-ish, which is what Batman ought to be. Breyfogle’s magnificent art only makes the stories fly along even more quickly – the fluidity of his drawings almost make Batman look like he’s moving through the book. It’s one of the most impressive examples of taking a static medium and seemingly making it flow.

The writers also did something extremely interesting – they resisted the urge to populate their books with the standard Bat-villains. As I mentioned, Batman has wonderful villains, but they have also been around for decades, and many writers seem unwilling or incapable of coming up with new villains to join the rogues’ gallery and fall back on the Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, et al. Grant eventually succumbed, bringing us a two-part Penguin story in issues #610-611 (which, it should be noted, also stars a few of the villains he created earlier in the run) and a Catman and Catwoman story in #612 (Selina’s appearance is really an extended cameo). (He also wrote the second part of a Penguin crossover and a Joker story, but those are not Comics You Should Own, for reasons I’ll discuss). But other than that, the only villain Grant used that he did not create was the Clayfaces, and he even took that story (issues #604-607) to create a new version of Clayface. By ignoring the classic rogues’ gallery, Grant and Wagner (and then Grant by himself) were able to bring us some villains that were every bit as strange and classic as the Bat-villains of the past: Right out of the gate we get the Ventriloquist and Scarface, and down the line we get the Ratcatcher, the Corrosive Man and Kadaver, Umbaluru the aborigine (who’s not really a villain, but he fights Batman), Cornelius Stirk, Wyatt Tenzin and his tulpa, Clayface V (yes, the fifth one!), and Anarky. Many of these villains have shown up again, but they have never really risen too far in the hierarchy. This is both a good thing and a bad thing – it’s bad because these villains are as weird and twisted as anyone else in Batman’s rogues’ gallery, but it’s good because these villains mostly are very specific to the stories in which they appear, and using them over and over would cheapen them. It has happened with some of them – Stirk was a brilliant killer in his first appearance, but his subsequent appearances have not been as memorable. The same thing has happened with Anarky and the Ventriloquist (although Anarky is no longer the first one now, I guess, and the Ventriloquist is dead). But for these stories, the villains are excellent and show the two main themes of these issues of Detective: Drugs and moral ambiguity.

Grant and Wagner’s stories are saturated with drug use. The first story (issues #583-584) introduces the Ventriloquist and his dummy, Scarface, who are purveyors of a new drug, Fever. Batman comes across some users, who become psychotic and aggressive when they take the drug. When Batman confronts the Ventriloquist, he gets a dose of the drug and almost beats the crime boss to death, but he is able to regain control of himself just in time. This begins a series of stories in which Batman must confront drug use and its myriad consequences – all of them bad, of course. These issues came out in the late 1980s, when the War on Drugs was just heating up, and Grant and Wagner do their part. I’m not suggesting that they’re just writing propaganda – it’s more subtle than that, and the users aren’t necessarily evil, even though the pushers are. In issue #589, Grant and Wagner conclude a three-part story with an ironic twist – a cocaine dealer who fell into Gotham harbor two issues earlier is run over by a local DJ, who was high on his product, thereby bringing the problem of drugs full circle. Drug use comes up again in the Cornelius Stirk story (issues #592-593), in an interesting way. Stirk possesses a hypothalamic disorder that has given him a psi-power – he can appear to people as anyone (and he shows up as Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, and a woman), and he uses this to lure his victims to their deaths. He butchers his victims after terrorizing them and eats their organs, believing this helps keep him sane. He believes, because he was released from the hospital and declared “sane,” that he has no need of his prescribed medication – sane men, he tells us, have no need for it! This is an interesting comment on what makes us sane and keeps us there – in Stirk’s case, drugs. This is an instance of a user going cold turkey with bad consequences, rather than the other way around. In issue #594, Grant and Wagner give us another drug story, a creepy tale of a man who becomes a paranoid psychotic when he takes Ecstasy. Grant’s final story in this group of comics, issue #614, is another drug story, one in which Bruce Wayne is confronted with a problem the Batman simply can’t punch – how do we keep kids from trying drugs in the first place?

These drug stories show people who are caught up in circumstances they cannot control, but they’re not necessarily at fault. Yes, Batman hates drugs, and he does all he can to stop their use. But these stories, as well as the rest of the run, are characterized by a certain moral ambiguity. This has recently become a bit more of a catchphrase than it was fifteen years ago [Edit: Or, now, twenty years ago] because of all the heroes of both major comic book companies wondering whether it’s okay to beat up a bad guy. It’s been a feature in comics for a long time, and Grant and Wagner use it nicely, even though Batman still beats people up. Drug users are the easiest way to look at this – we can blame them for taking drugs, but do they need our help or our scorn? Batman has to stop them when they commit crimes, but shouldn’t he use what power he has to stop the pushers and keep the users off drugs in the first place? This question is raised in a couple of different stories, which I’ve already mentioned. In issue #594, Ed Hallen, a player in the high stakes world of foreign exchange dealing, gets a taste of Ecstasy from his co-workers. This causes his personality to rupture into a “good” side and a “bad” side, with the bad side egging him on to kill junkies, destroy the Ventriloquist’s boarded-up club, and finally attempt to blow up his place of business. Ed is a villain and a killer, but Batman’s anger is saved for his co-workers, who gave him the drug in the first place. In issue #614, he tracks some junior high school kids who are stealing satellite dishes to try to impress a local street gang. The gang members tempt them to sell drugs instead, and Batman threatens them at the school yard. This is where the story takes an interesting turn – Batman speaks to the principal, who tells him how horrible their lives are and that joining a gang is the only way out that they see. Bruce Wayne steps in and decides to sponsor the class, paying for their college education if they graduate high school. It’s a novel solution in a Batman comic, and even though we have never heard of it again, it’s the kind of thing more writers should do – how much good does Bruce Wayne do in the community as well as Batman? Batman can beat people up, but Wayne can do other things, and this story shows us that Batman and Bruce Wayne could easily do the same work in different ways, if writers would only see that.

The moral ambiguity extends beyond the drug parables, as well, and in different ways. The Ratcatcher story, in issues #585-586, seems simple enough – bad guy controls rats and uses them to exact revenge on society – in this case, the group of people who put him in jail years before. Flannegan, the Ratcatcher, is a villain, but in his twisted mind, he’s just trying to settle the scales, because he feels he was unjustly imprisoned. This bad guy isn’t out for riches, he’s out for his own kind of justice, and although we certainly don’t excuse him, we realize that he’s not just a bad guy – he’s a bad guy who believes he’s doing what’s right, which is always more interesting. The “Night People” story (issues #587-589) contains several interlocking storylines, but the main one is that of an escaped convict, Deke Mitchel, who wants revenge on his former employer, Mr. Kadaver, for tipping off the police about a crime he had committed. Again, it’s not that we feel badly for Mitchel – he is a criminal, after all – but we understand that his sense of “honor among thieves” has been violated. When he is caught in an explosion and bathed in toxic chemicals, he doesn’t die (this isn’t the real world, after all), he become a “Corrosive Man” (it’s comic books!), able to burn through anything because his entire body has become toxic. This turns him from a convict who wants revenge into a strangely pathetic creature – we still don’t agree with his methods, but we feel bad because he is no longer a man and only wants one thing before he dies – revenge. He gets it, in a sense, and dies. These stories featured villains, yes, but they were villains we could see as human beings, because they weren’t bad guys just to make themselves rich or even just to kill random people. They wanted to kill people, but they had very good reasons for doing so.

Grant and Wagner weren’t satisfied with simply writing about bad guys with an axe to grind, however. In issue #590, they begin to flex their creative muscles a bit more and paint Batman’s world in even more shades of gray, even though they misfire the first time out. The issue deals with a Muslim terrorist named Abu Hassan who is also a “fully credited Syraqui diplomat,” according to the FBI agent Batman meets after Hassan’s group kills a bunch of veterans in Gotham. Batman heads to London to get Hassan and finds out he’s planning to blow up the houses of Parliament on Guy Fawkes’ Night, because no one would take a threat to the government seriously on that night. Batman stops the terrorists, of course, but before he does, he confronts Hassan at the embassy. Hassan gives him the standard speech about fighting the imperialism of the West, and Batman hesitates long enough for a flunky to surprise him. When Batman fights back, Hassan falls out the window and is killed on the barbed wire on the embassy wall. Hassan is Grant and Wagner’s attempt to show both sides of the West/East divide, but because it’s a one-issue story, it’s difficult for them to give him much depth, and it comes off as somewhat ham-fisted. The art carries the story, but it’s still a valiant attempt to show that the world Batman lives in does not always make sense. In the next issue, the writers got it right. Umbaluru is an aborigine who has come to Gotham on a mission. Kerry Rollo, an artifact collector, has a power bone from a tribe near Ayer’s Rock (or Uluru, as we should call it these days instead of its white imperialist name) and he’s showing it off. Unfortunately for him, his men stole it when the aborigines wouldn’t sell it, and Umbaluru is going to get it back. Batman interrupts Umbaluru and Rollo, and once Umbaluru explains it to him, he tells him that Rollo will stand trial. Umbaluru rejects his white man’s justice and dives with Rollo out of the window. Rollo falls to his death, but Umbaluru escapes. This is a very nice short story that explores the same theme as the previous one, but it does it much more nicely than the story about Hassan. Umbaluru is not a pure villain like Hassan is, and although he kills people, we understand why he is doing it. Batman does too, but he still must try to stop the crime and bring the criminal in. Added to this is a rare Bruce Wayne appearance at Rollo’s gallery early in the story, where he accepts money from Rollo to help the city’s poor. Rollo is also not a completely bad guy – what he did was wrong, obviously, but he doesn’t understand that other cultures reject him and his culture. It’s an interesting story.

Following a six-issue hiatus (which includes the three-part 50th anniversay story in issues #598-600), Grant (without Wagner) returns with more somewhat ambiguous storytelling. It’s interesting to read these stories, as Batman becomes much of a mediator between two sides, one of which is usually “right” although it might be illegal, and often Batman isn’t sure how to handle this. Issues #601-603, “Tulpa,” are a perfect example of this. We have your obvious bad guy – Rafe Kellogg and his two heavies, Cecil and Lumps, who are extorting money from Wyatt Tenzin for a loan his father took from them. All well and good. To get the money, however, Tenzin is creating doppelgangers of himself – tulpas – and sending them out to steal. Batman encounters one of them on the street (it disintegrates) and Alfred is beaten up by one when it tries to rob Wayne Manor. So Batman is after the tulpas and, by extension, Tenzin. But Tenzin is telling his tulpas to take only the amount he needs and abstain from all violence, and he’s doing this for his own protection. When he realizes he’ll need something else to get Kellogg off his back, he calls up a six-armed demon to kill them. This changes the dynamic of the story – Tenzin is still the victim, but Kellogg and his thugs also become the prey, as the demon is relentless in his pursuit of them. Batman tries to enlist the aid of Jason Blood, and eventually Blood calls up Etrigan, which adds another level of ambiguity. Etrigan kills the demon, but isn’t he really worse than the demon in the first place? Etrigan, naturally, tries to kill Kellogg, but Batman is forced to come between the two, even though Kellogg probably deserves it. Batman, of course, can’t hope to defeat the Demon, but Etrigan relents because he likes Batman’s style and says he recognizes a kindred spirit in Batman. For a three-part story about a small-time thug leaning on a poor shopkeeper which leads to a battle between demons from hell, this tale says a great deal about what Grant wants us to consider while we read: Batman is ultimately powerless against the evil of the first demon and Etrigan, but he never stops fighting, even to defend “bad” people. Wyatt Tenzin is a good man, but he is willing to unleash a killing machine on the world. Etrigan is always nasty, but he has a twisted sense of honor that allows him to spare Batman’s life – probably because he realizes that Batman has fashioned his own kind of moral hell, and why take him away from that? It’s an interesting story on several levels, not unlike most of the run.

Grant continued this idea of ambiguity in the next story, “The Mud Pack” in issues #604-607. Ostensibly, this story is about Basil Karlo, the first Clayface, who simply wore a weird mask. Matt Hagen is there in spirit, but still dead. Karlo enlists the aid of the fourth Clayface, a woman made clay by Kobra (which helps explain the excellent co-star in the book, Looker), to break Preston Payne, the third Clayface, out of prison. He betrays the two and steals their blood, injecting himself with a mixture of it and becoming the Ultimate Clayface, but what’s interesting about the story is that Clayface IV and Preston Payne find love together because they realize they have both been used by men of power and they’re tired of it. Villains are always more interesting when they are human, and these two people are villains not because they want to take over the world, but because they have powers that people fear (especially in the case of Payne) and are excluded from society. Batman and Looker don’t even find them, and they get to have a happy ending.

Grant’s study of moral ambiguity reached its apogee, really, with the next story, the two-part “Anarky in Gotham City” in issues #608-609. Anarky is one of the more interesting characters of the past fifteen or twenty years, not only because he’s a teenager (which is a wonderful revelation in #609) but because of what he wants to accomplish – anarchy as a concept is often dismissed, but it’s worth looking at simply because it is so radical and untenable yet noble. Anarky is a direct contrast to Batman – he is an active agent of change while Batman is simply a reactive agent, reinforcing the status quo (as all corporate superheroes do) and positioning himself as the opposition to Anarky even though Lonnie is trying to make the world better instead of stopping at beating up the obvious criminals. Anarky might go too far – he is planning on stopping Johnny Vomit from singing too loud – which is a bit extreme – before he discovers the rock star is dealing drugs, but the fact is, he is looking out for the good of the people as a whole rather than targeting people who are committing more ostentatious crimes. Lonnie is a fascinating character in that he has a sense of humor (as evidenced by the A-symbol he spraypaints on Batman’s cape after the Dark Knight has captured him) and he’s very smart. He is able to show how ineffective Batman is against the real problems of society, and although Batman stops his spree, we find ourselves sympathizing much more with Anarky than with the representative of the status quo. A few issues after these, Lonnie shows up again, causing havoc from his juvenile detention center. Grant obviously liked the character, and he is one of those creations that you wish was used better in the DC Universe [Edit: Again, he’s no longer Anarky, so I guess that’s not going to happen].

Despite the excellent writing throughout this run, these issues are a wonderful example of how writing and art complement each other, as Breyfogle helps elevate these morality tales into truly great comics. Breyfogle was the second Bat-artist I was introduced to (Aparo was the first), and his stuff here blew me away and continues to shine even after twenty years. He is one of the quintessential Batman artists. His Batman is dynamic, powerful, yet human – in this run, Batman might have more facial expressions than he ever had before or since. Breyfogle’s layouts allow us to follow the action smoothly, and his fight scenes are beautifully rendered and show better than almost anyone how Batman is able to defeat more than one person attacking him at a time. An example of this is in issue #613, a tragic tale about trashing the planet and a boy’s desire to help – a plan that goes horribly wrong. On one page, two men attack Batman in a junkyard. In seven thin panels, Breyfogle shows how Batman avoids the gunshot of one thug, disarms him, and manages to kick him away into another thug who is trying to get a bead on him with his own gun. It’s a simple device, and Breyfogle repeats it throughout the run – flattening his panels to fit more onto a page and breaking down a fight so that we see exactly how Batman is able to do all the wonderful things he does. Despite the fact that Batman dominates this run and not Bruce Wayne, Breyfogle gives him more humanity and more emotions than most artists. There is a great debate in comics over which person is wearing the mask – Batman or Bruce Wayne – and usually artists make Batman the emotionless one, even though he is the character who (naturally) dominates the book. Breyfogle decides instead to make Batman a fully realized human being, despite the mask. Therefore we get various emotions that we see occasionally in Batman comics, but not as often as we do in this run: Rage (issue #584, page 20, #586, page 18; #590, page 15; #594, page 21; #611, page 16); terror (#585, page 21; #605, page 22; #606, page 22); nausea (#586, page 6 – when was the last time we saw Batman vomit?); wry humor (#586, page 21); grim satisfaction (#589, page 22); horror (#590, page 3); shock (#590, page 4; #594, page 4; #601, page 6; #609, page 16); sadness (#590, page 22; #603, page 22; #606, page 3); confusion (#592, page 6; #601, page 6; #603, page 21); boredom (#609, page 10); frustration (#609, page 17); satisfaction (#613, page 15); even happiness (#614, page 22). We usually see an angry Batman or even a grimly determined Batman, but Breyfogle fits his style to Grant and Wagner’s writing so that we experience the emotions Batman feels as he goes through these bizarre stories. This is a Batman concerned more with the effects of the crimes committed in his city rather than simply stopping the criminals. He wants to catch the bad guys, of course, but he is a man who cares deeply about what these criminals do to his city, and Breyfogle’s magnificent art allows us to see that more than just being a grim avenger of crime, Batman is a man who wants to punish crime but also wants to work hard to make the city better. Batman feels all the damage done in his city, and with Breyfogle, we get a much more human Batman. Of course, he gives life to the weird criminals that Grant and Wagner invent. It begins with the Ventriloquist and Scarface, but continues through the new gallery of rogues. Breyfogle’s Corrosive Man is a tragic and bizarre figure, and the toxic waste dripping from his eyes looks like tears even before Deke Mitchel realizes how awful his life has become. Cornelius Stirk is a truly scary villain, far worse than the Scarecrow, on whom he was clearly modeled. Ed Hallen’s alter ego, the “voice” that tells him to kill drug dealers, is a creepy pair of red eyes that only gets angrier and angrier as Hallen tries to resist. Breyfogle’s Etrigan is insanely demonic, and the way Breyfogle shifts him quickly from rage to merriment is wonderfully done. Breyfogle’s Batman, beside the facial expressions, is the triumph of the run. He has to be, because of Grant and Wagner’s emphasis on the Dark Knight aspect of the book. Batman is larger than life, a true hero, and his humanity just makes him more so. When he overcomes the horror that the criminals throw at him, he seems to grow and dominate, because Breyfogle makes him even more epic. Breyfogle uses his cape well, as good artists can, and although it’s still a bit ridiculous to think that Batman could have such a long and flowing cape, it’s not as silly as a McFarlane cape, for instance. In Breyfogle’s hands, Batman’s cape helps make him even grander. His presence terrifies the bad guys who think they’re so tough, such as Cornelius Stirk, who shrinks visibly when Batman overcomes the fear Stirk has instilled in him. This is a Batman who scares the bad guys but is human enough that innocent people remain encouraged. It’s largely because of the way Breyfogle draws him.

The many moods and emotions of Batman!

Batman angry!!!! Who knew he could drool so much? That old milk he found in the fridge isn't sitting well! Batman's eyebrows should always do stuff like that! Batman has no patience with drug dealers! Batman doesn't like the massacring! WTF, man?!? Batman sad!!!! Batman puzzled!!!! Man, I could be home watching 'How I Met Your Mother,' man! This might be my favorite Batman facial expression EVAH!

Grant and Breyfogle continued on Detective after issue #614, but they don’t belong in the same lofty category as these. It’s not that they’re bad comics – they are decent enough. However, Denny O’Neil decided there should be more continuity between the two Batman books, and the work suffered a little. Issue #615 is part of a Penguin crossover with Batman, and as Detective #610-611 is also a Penguin story, and a superior one at that, it becomes redundant. The team also wrote a four-part story with Tim Drake’s parents in which his mother died and his father was crippled, and then Breyfogle moved over to Batman for a time. A bit of the magic had gone, though. Grant and Breyfogle teamed up for a mini-series about Anarky [Edit: And an ongoing, but I never read it], which was interesting enough, and the two launched Shadow of the Bat with a story about Arkham Asylum, but then Breyfogle, at least, disappeared for a while, which is a shame because he never became the superstar he should have been.

These issues are still good reading today for many reasons. They tell short stories with a lot of punch, and although they give us weird criminals who commit somewhat awful crimes, these issues don’t wallow in the nihilism that many comics writers mistake for realism. Batman has to deal with many horrible events, but he is always there to make things better, even when right and wrong are not so clear. Batman doesn’t have all the answers in these issues – he is a flawed hero. But he is a hero because he fights to make life in Gotham City better, and more importantly, he tries to understand why things are not great. Part of the reason I don’t include the latter issues of Grant and Breyfogle’s run in these is because issue #614 is such a nice way to end it. As I’ve mentioned, Bruce Wayne takes center stage in this issue, sponsoring a school class in the hopes to keep them off drugs. Although Bruce Wayne is the catalyst for change in this issue, the final image of Batman standing on a rooftop in front of an American flag, smiling down on his city. His thoughts on the page are in caption form: “It won’t be easy. Bruce Wayne has to get to know them like they were his own children. And of course, there’s no guarantee an education will be incentive enough for any of them. But even if one pulls through, it’ll have been worth it. Fairy godmother? Hah!” Batman scoffs at this notion, but through their run Grant and Wagner and then Grant alone made it clear that Batman is somewhat of a fairy godmother, answering prayers of the Gothamites who are in need. It’s a fine balance between the grim-‘n’-gritty stories of Batman over the last twenty to thirty years and the image of Batman as a savior of the city. Alan Grant, John Wagner, and Norm Breyfogle do a wonderful job giving us action-filled stories with depth and emotion. This run deserves to be recognized as some of the best Batman stories, and maybe someday DC will see fit to reprint them in trade paperback format [Edit: I’m not holding my breath. Jesus, DC!]. Perhaps recognition will come as we get more perspective on them. If you can scour the back issue boxes, I recommend that you look for these.

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There's nothing more all-American than a rich capitalist who dresses in weird clothing!

There's nothing more all-American than a rich capitalist who dresses in weird clothing!

63 Comments

To me, Grant and Breyfogle’s version of Batman will always be the definitive comic incarnation of the character. “Requiem for a Penguin,” “The Mud Pack,” and, especially “Anarky in Gotham City” are easily among my favorite Batman tales ever.

If you never read the Anarky miniseries, you didn’t really miss anything. It was a mess of superheroics and guest stars, and Anarky felt out of place in this context. (DC editorial obviously didn’t care, since the first issue shows Batman telling Anarky essentially to leave Gotham City as it’s declared No Man’s Land, but the final issue has an editorial note saying the entire series took place prior to the earthquake in Cataclysm, which means there had to be some major warping of time and space for it to have existed at all.) The only major event of the entire series was that Anarky was the illegitimate son of the Joker, and the entire staff at DC needs to be spanked for never doing anything with the premise of a slightly unhinged anti-hero who’s the son of the most insane villain in the world, and whose last scene is him riding his motorcycle away from Arkham and wondering when he will succumb to his father’s madness.

Funkmasterdre

July 20, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I’ve always thought that Breyfogle is one of the most underrated artists of all time. I loved his Batman stuff Nd work on Prime. Any idea what he’s up to these days?

funkygreenjerusalem

July 20, 2010 at 8:08 pm

According to a column by some chap named Brian Cronin, Wagner only did five issues, but was credited with the rest due to contracts.

To me, Grant and Breyfogle’s version of Batman will always be the definitive comic incarnation of the character.

Me too, man. Me too.

Matter-Pooper Lad

July 20, 2010 at 8:37 pm

To me, the Neal Adams version of Batman will always be the definitive comic incarnation of the character.
But I hold the Marshall Rogers version almost as high.

Thank you for the fine article. I could enjoy Breyfogle’s art if only the big ears didn’t make me laugh my ass off.

Funkmasterdre: He did a book called Of Bitter Souls a few years ago, which had an interesting idea (he wasn’t the writer) but wasn’t that great and then disappeared. Recently, Breyfogle has done some Archie comics. Yes, I just wrote that.

FGJ: Ah, I found that. Thanks.

Norm Breyfogle and Dustin Nguyen are the two most underrated Bat-artists ever. Both blow away all these Jim Lee-alikes who seem to be all the rage at DCU at the moment.

Norm Breyfogle and Jim Aparo were drawing Batman/’Tec when I started reading Batman (which was when I started reading comics). I wholeheartedly agree that Breyfogle’s rendition is THE definitive Batman, for me (followed closely by Aparo). Don’t get me wrong, I love Adams’, Rogers, Jim Lee and the rest, but when I think of Batman, that expressive, flowing Batman of Breyfogle’s is the first image that pops into my mind. Wish he could get more work (especially Bat-work), b/c I do miss his art. Met him a few years ago at the motor city con, was a super nice guy to me.
Oh, and if you haven’t read it, the first story arc of Shadow of the Bat (1st 4 issues I think? Maybe 6?) is Batman vs. Mr. Szazz (spelled that wrong). AWESOME story, drawn of course by Breyfogle. One of my favorite Batman stories ever.

I remember that. Always loved Brian Stelfreeze’s really abstract painted covers when Grant and Breyfogle moved to Shadow of the Bat. Grant/Breyfogle were incredible on whichever Bat-title they were on, and they had awesome runs on all three of the then-current mainline titles (since Legends of the Dark Knight was primarily tales set earlier in Batman’s career). I also really enjoyed the story in Batman (450-1?) where the Joker resurfaced following his near-death experience in “A Death in the Family” and had to basically re-learn his twisted sense of humor.

(That “The Last Arkham” story from the first few issues of Shadows of the Bat is, unless he’s popped up in the last couple of years or so, the only DCU appearance of Egghead, too, which makes it doubly awesome.)

to me grant and norms run on dective showed batman as the true character he is. plus i remember issue 613readng about the story being called trash and something about a kid gets into a trash compactor and is crushed trying to help batman. plus loved the look on batmans face when Etrigan kisses him . for nothing more creepier then when Etrigan smiles or laughs. as for Anarky he was also the character of the money spider as for him being the joker’s son that is potentail dc wasted with never doing any thing more with the character

Nice article, Greg!

Funny how many comics fans think a creator “disappears” just because they’ve stopped working for DC or Marvel. And, in fact, I’ve been working steadily in the comics industry all along.

I quit Batman in ’93 because I’d received an offer from Malibu Comics that I felt I couldn’t turn down (the offer was to draw Prime, and to write and draw my creator-owned Metaphysique). Malibu only lasted for a few years, and after that, I returned to DC for a while (where I did Anarky for a year and then The Spectre for another year), but for some reason unknown to me, after 9/11/01, DC stopped hiring me.

Since then, I’ve worked consistently in comics for Independent companies (2002-2003: “Black Tide” for Angel Gate press; 2004-2005: “Of Bitter Souls” for Speakeasy and Marcosia; 2006-2007: “The Danger’s Dozen” for A First Salvo; 2008-2010: Archie Comics), and for clients entirely outside of comics.

DC knows I’m available to them, but after they turned down 10 or so proposals from me after 2001, I gave up. It was quite apparent then that they’d put me on some sort of blacklist (I don’t know why they’ve done so). I’ve also heard some things from an editor at Marvel to indicate that I’m persona non grata at Marvel, too.

Ageism? Politics? Personal grudges? I’ll probably never know.

Lately: drew a Munden’s Bar story for IDW , a bunch of commissions, a 9 page Archie story, and four Archie covers. Now, I’m working on 21 full-color illos for Stephen Pytak’s next novel, The Wild Damned. I’m doing a heck of a lot more Archie stuff, too. Two books per month, in fact: “Archie Loves Betty,” and “Archie Loves Veronica” ; the first issues of each title will be on sale around the end fo this month (July ’10).

For the last few years, I’ve also been doing various illustration assignments (for books, magazines, advertising, etc.) via my London-based representative, Debut Art, but it looks like I’ll be so busy with Archie that I won’t be able to accept any such extra work for a long while to come. I did, however accept and complete a recent illustration assignment via Debut Art (for the client Nike) because it paid too well to decline (about as much for one illustration as an entire issue of art for DC or Marvel would pay). And, I understand that it will be just the first of many similar jobs to come my way from Nike.

So, I’m doing better than ever, and as far as I’m concerned, by dumping me, Marvel and DC have once again shot themselves in the foot, which is typical, since they have a long history of doing so by dumping most of their top artists even though those artists are at the top of their powers..

Jim Aparo. Accept no substitutes.

Breyfogle, you are the MAN!! As a young teen, I really enjoyed your Batman work. It’s a shame how the ‘big two’ are sleeping on you, but no doubt it is very much their loss.

Much respect to you, and your future endeavors!

The Batman I grew up with was BTAS and out of all the Batman comics I’ve read over the years, the Grant/Breyfogle ones came closest and ultimately better because it could delve in areas (drugs, politics, etc.) the show couldn’t yet didn’t wade in the charnel house DC’s become. For me, the grim and gritty edge has become as absurd as the Silver Age but without the fun/lulz. I really feel like G/B struck a nice balance.

Now onto Anarky I. The origin story was excellent, his appearance in Green Arrow Crossroads an ironic sequel to Hard-Travelling Heroes (I’m almost inclined to think the Green books might work for him), and the 2001 crossover future was intriguing. As an independent character, he struck me as someone who was just as calculating as the leads of Code Geass or Death Note but with a strong respect for life and free will. It’s not that he hated the president or oil barons or whatnot, just that they were in the wrong line of work. An utter cynic towards institutions, yet optimistic (if not quixotic) about people… I can picture how he ended up in such a bad spot but I’m not keen on Anarky 2. Oh wow- it’s a blend of Sgt. Hatred and Nolan’s Joker.

Norm – I just want to say thanks for your outstanding work on Batman during my formative comics-reading years. You and Alan Grant got the character exactly right, in a way nobody’s been able to since. I met Alan a few years ago and was able to tell him the same thing.

My favourite Batman artists of all time are Adams, Rogers and yourself, and I think you combine the best of the other two, particularly in terms of innovative page-layout and cape/ears awesomeness.

Here’s hoping DC comes to their senses and gives you and Alan a reunion maxiseries on Batman (and a sincere apology).

Once again, thanks for helping create my favourite-ever run in comics.

The Mud Pack arc is one of my absolute favorite Batman stories! (there was as a prequel in an origins book).

The Clayfaces (all of them!) are my favorite villians, esp Preston and Lady Clay. They are both so heart wrenching! There was also an amazing story of them in Shadow of the Bat (in the 20’s?).

And to top it off we get Looker from the Outsiders! One of the most underused and under appreciated DC heroes! Think of her as a cross between Jean Grey (the powers) and Emma Frost (the wit). And Grant wrote her exceptionally well!

I also enjoyed the Catman tale with the tiger (or lion) roaming the city! ;)

Just curious, and save me looking it up! :)

Who did 595-600?

Thanks!

Maybe this will prompt DC to do a deluxe trade or hardcover!

George Travlos

July 21, 2010 at 3:56 am

I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen (and no one does) that Norm Breyfogle is one of the best comic book artists (not just Batman) of all time. His work on DC’s The Spectre was fantastic. You didn’t even mention the one-shots and graphic novels he illustrated (Birth of the Demon or Holy Terror).

I’ve literally been writing to DC for years asking them to (1) bring him back and (2) publish a collected edition of his Batman work. They’ve never gotten back to me. I’ve sent emails, and written them letters. They won’t listen.

Thanks for writing this piece. It’s long overdue.

What I loved about this run (well, one of the things) was the way it introduced new villains one story after another. Scarface, Stirk, the Corrosive Man, Kadaver (he’s overdue for a comeback!) – all great. And as Faust said upthread, Grant made great use of Looker in the Mud Pack story.

I don’t know much about the details, but isn’t one of the reasons this run has never been reprinted something to do with DC’s royalty arrangements in the 80s and 90s? i.e. they’d actually have to pay the creators something if they put these out in trade.

If that is the main stumbling block then DC should be ashamed of themselves. Quite apart from anything else, it’s shooting themselves in the foot sales-wise, because this is unquestionably one of THE classic runs for the most popular character in comics.

I gutted my Batman collection a few years ago but kept my Breyfogle issues (mainly Detective 601-up). In the past month, I’ve decided to rebuild my Batman/Detective collection and the first Breyfogle run was my first choice of issues to buy. This article backs up that thinking. Thanks!

Norm Breyfogle and Alan Grant were two of the finest creators during this time and it’s a shame that DC or Marvel do not seem to recognize Norm’s worth.

Still Norm, I would try again at least with DC Comics as they seem to be under newer management and things like those ‘banned’ Vertigo stories and other changes are being done that people didn’t think would happen.

Anyway thanks for this article.

Brian – Maybe you could investigate this apparent blacklisting of Norm Breyfogle in your Comic Book Legends column

I really can’t pass up knowing that Norm Breyfogle will actually possibly be reading this, so I have to pile on and say I love love love your Batman work and not pairing you up with Morrison these days is a crime.

Faust: Sam Hamm, the screenwriter of Batman, wrote 598-600, while Denys Cowan drew it. It’s not that great, but it looks nice.

Thanks for stopping by, Norm. It’s always interesting to hear from the creators about some behind the scenes stuff.

ap0k: I own many of the early issues of Shadow of the Bat. I was disappointed Breyfogle didn’t stay on the book longer.

Breyfogle IS the man.

I can’t really offer much more than to echo the same compliments to Grant and Breyfogle on this run. I loved how when I was younger there were many back issues all over the place, so it was easy enough to grab issues I had missed. Awesome stuff, and much better than about 90% of the Batman comics I’ve seen in the past ten years.

Annoyed Grunt

July 21, 2010 at 9:01 am

#608 was the first Batman comic I ever read. My Mom took a look at it, thought it was too violent and exchanged it for an issue of Police Academy at the corner store.

Grant´s and Breyfogle´s version of Batman is the one I grew up with, too and my favorite one. The Clayface issues are some of the best I´bve ever read. And I always wanted to see Norman drawing a run on JLA, Green Lantern, X-Men or Spider-Man. I hope people from the big two take notice. I also think it was a shame Breyfogle was never aknowledged as the great artist that he is.

This is still my favorite Batman run, and Breyfogle is my personal favorite Batman artist. Although Graham Nolan also did a great job on the Bat-books and is perpetually underrated as well.

I’ve been trying to pick up some Breyfogle original Batman pages on ebay for a while now. They always end up being out of my price range. Someday, though.

Holy crap, Norm Breyfogle stopped by here. That’s awesome.

Nice to see you mention that you’re doing commissions. I think when I check your site you weren’t doing any at the moment, but I’ll have to check back. Your Batman rocks.

The Breyfogle Batman’s great! I gutted my Batman collection a while back it now consists of a third Breyfogle a third Kelly Jones and a third everyone else. I still find the movement of Batmans cowl a little odd but it is so much a part of the Breyfogle Batman, mark me down for the Scarface and the Penguin issues.
Thumbs up! later!

As much as I admire Norm Breyfogle’s art, I will always respect him most for debating with Neal Adams about Adams’ expanding earth theory. If you can find the original posts, it’s great stuff.

Also, the issues by Sam Hamm and drawn by Cowan are, in my opinion, extremely good. You might want to reread those, Greg. They’re kind of notable for explaining why Batman doesn’t really have a supporting cast.

Pete Woodhouse

July 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Being a Brit, I knew all about Grant & Wagner thru their superb work on my childhood home-grown fetish 2000AD & in particular their work on Judge Dredd (Dredd is probably the UK’s closest character to Batman – grim, driven, obsessed but with black humour – the humour side tends to be forgotten by Batman writers a lot). As a teenager buying US stuff I saw G&W’s name on ‘Tec & thought ‘this is for me’.

A very strong run – but because it was solid without too many outstanding stories compared to thise in the 70-year run (there’s no equivalent here of The Joker’s 5-Way Revenge etc), it gets overlooked.
Breyfogle also very underrated. His stuff could look scrappy & rushed at times, but his storytelling, layouts & composition were superb – just so enjoyable to read. Breyfogle for me had the impact people like Adams & Rogers did on Batman even though some may not agree over issues like technique.

Together, the story & art make it a run well worth reading, thanks for highlighting it Greg!

And Roman – although there were negative comments about #598-600 on these forums before, I also enjoyed Sam Hamm and Cowan’s trilogy. P.

“As much as I admire Norm Breyfogle’s art, I will always respect him most for debating with Neal Adams about Adams’ expanding earth theory. If you can find the original posts, it’s great stuff.”

I believe the debate you’re referring to is this one:

http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2006/12/wacky_physics_it_must_be_right_1.php

Adams posted as “Anonymous” in that thread.

This is one of the definitive runs involving the character, right up there with Englehart/Rogers/Austin, and the O’Neil/Adams stuff. I re-read this run every year, and a batch of these issues are always among the things I loan to friends who want to read some good comics. I would kill for some nice, re-colored collections of these issues.
I just wonder what Breyfogle is up to these days. His rendition of Batman is one of the 5 best ever, and he really should be more high-profile than he is.

Drunken Fist: Read my above comment to see what I’ve been up to lately. Doing illustrations for clients like Nike is in fact quite a bit more more high-profile than is doing comics.

I won’t mince words: It makes me sad to see that Batman has become this twisted parody of itself, with Bruce time traveling back to a world where Dick is Batman and there’s a homicidal Robin, but multiple proposals by one of the greatest artists in the industry (and definitely near, if not at, the top of a short list of the best artists to work on Batman) were shot down without any reason.

And there’s probably someone at DC’s offices wondering right now why I don’t read any of their comics anymore.

Norm’s work was the first I read of any Batman books; my parents bought me part one of Requiem for a Penguin, and I later picked up Mud Pack, Cats, and other issues from the run.

However, the book that sold me on Batman when I really started collecting DC was Batman: Holy Terror. Possibly the best Batman Elseworlds ever done, and the art was really fantastic in terms of setting the mood for the story. I, like a lot of others here, find the art of Norm’s Batman to be definitive to the character.

So for that, Mr. Breyfogle, thanks.

Hi Greg,

It’s Rebecca Chow from Greg’s Comics. I am so excited I found this site-it’s great that you write about comics! I took your advice and started my own blog about comics and other pop culture things I care about. I have a few other blogs but none of them have a comic focus. I just started it today so it is still a work in progress, but I would love for you to check it out (http://ncrpopculture.blogspot.com/). You can see me blog rage about random shit…and all from my lovely girly perspective :-) See you at Greg’s next time I pick up my comics!

Thanks, Rebecca. I’ll be sure to read!

I loved the Grant/Breyfogle run on Detective, and the Tupla storyline was my first exposure to Etrigan (imagine my disappointment when he didn’t rhyme in Justice League) Let us not forget it was under their watch that we saw Tim Drake take up his costume!

I always loved the way Mr. Breyfogle drew the cape like it was alive, and how his signature was hidden in the cover art. My favourite of his works though, was the Batman cover with the Joker in a Trenchcoat shooting bats with a Tommy Gun, while the Batman comes up behind him. Always wanted that one signed.

It is a pity we don’t see Mr. Breyfogle’s work at DC or Marvel. I’d love to see a Cloak and Dagger by him, or his take on Nightwing.

[…] Breyfogle was featured in a Comics Should Be Good piece on nineties Batman comcs. And he decided to add his voice in the comments on why we […]

If I had one wish as far as Mr. Breyfogle’s pencils go it would be to see him do Dr. Strange and the rest of the MU supernatural characters.

Interesting that you mention Grant and Wagner’s supreme ability with the single-issue story form. Of course, the reason they were so good at that is surely due to making their names on 2000AD, where five-to-eight page stories are the norm. So 22 pages must have felt like a luxury! I always have great admiration for a writer that can tell a complete, satisfying tale in such a short space.

@chad, the reveal that the Joker was Anarky’s father was only the FIRST part of that arc, it would have been revealed a couple of issues later that he categorically wasn’t his father, but alas the title was cancelled before they got to THAT part.

Norm should definitely give DC one last shot now that things have been shaken up over there. I would give anything to see him on a Batman book again, hell, it doesnt even have to be Batman, I’d love to see his renditions of some of DCs most iconic characters as well.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole Anarky’s dad bit was just retconned in one of the crisis events since the monthly’s cancellation. Based on the answers I’ve gotten in the Red Robin boards, some sort of flashback on Lonnie (and Yap) is coming in that title but I’m apprehensive.

Cesar> http://everydayislikewednesday.blogspot.com/2008/03/norm-breyfogle-should-draw-jloa-pt-2.html

The whole run is excellent. The Ventriloquist was the best new Bat-villain since the Crisis. Stirk and Zsasz are close behind.

I must mention the best double-page spread in any Batman comic I am aware of. It comes from this run (“Trash!!!”) and starts “The Batman needs no kiss on the cheek…” It’s the perfect blend of words and art and captures the rage and loneliness of his mission.

Norm, I don’t know if you’re still checking in on this page, but if you are, thank you. Detective Comics 608 was the first comic I ever bought and it started me on a full bore obsession with funny books. Oddly enough, it would be about 10 years before I ever tracked down issue 609 and I was flabbergasted that Anarky was a teen, hahaha. Anyway, again, thank you.

When I first read Anarky’s first appearance, I’d already read the mini-series and I was struck by how on one hand, it did suggest that Mike Machin was Anarky but you had this one scene where Batman was coming in for breakfast after being out as Batman and Lonnie was coming in for breakfast from his morning paper route.

I’m going to pick a few of these up now, I really enjoy this column. But to be honest the inclusion of issues 608 and 609 turns me off a bit. Anarky was such a blatant rip off of V from V for Vendetta that it seems like a parody minus the humor and cleverness. I do agree that the latter issues after 614 definitely declined in quality. Also issues 598-600 are rightfully not included. Those issues are just a sliver above sucking. I did laugh when Bruce nearly dies in the hospital and nobody cares except the two chars introduced the issue before.

“I must mention the best double-page spread in any Batman comic I am aware of.”

http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/4273/image5rog.jpg

[…] Comics You Should Own flashback – Detective #583-594; 601-614 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) […]

This era of batman is without a doubt my favourite and something I look back very fondly on, I loved Norm Breyfogles art and it was a big influence on me. Alan Grants stories and characters were fantastic and the two complemented each other very well, for me when I look back on reading comics as a teenager and going to comic shops excitedly this is what I think of. Great memories.

When I started collecting comics DC COMICS just started this series, My friend at the time got me into collecting at that time and I thought Id get into a Batman title, when I first saw Breyfogle’s artwork wow I thought this is my kind of BATMAN I was always a HORROR fan and I found his artwork to be SCARY, CREEPY, and the stories were awesome I could not wait till the next issue, I gave up all my comics years later and recently I started to buy all those issues back. My favorite was the MUDPACK storyline with the LOOKER, I wish DC would hire this team up again NORMAN BREYFOGLE and ALAN GRANT to do a new BATMAN series, That would be cool.

I read somewhere once that Anarky was created to be Jason Todd’s replacement as Robin. The idea was to be that Batman, impressed with Lonnie’s creativity, effectiveness in the field, and tactical mind, would train and mold the youngster into a force for altruism and a follower of Batman’s philosophies. When Tim Drake was introduced in Batman by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Tim got the editorial approval and Anarchy fell into obscurity – at least until recently. I don’t know if that was Alan Grant’s plan for the character or not, but it gives that story an interesting dynamic if it is true.

Also, while Shadow of the Bat wasn’t as good as this series (much of it feels like a rehash of ideas and characters from this run, including return appearances of Cornelius Stirk and Anarky) those first four issues of that series, “The Last Arkham”, which has been reprinted in trade paperback, fits in nicely with the comics listed above. As many of your other comment-makers have suggested, Greg, I agree that these four issues deserve recognition. Mr. Zsasz and the Amygdala (introduced in this storyline) were classic Grant/Breyfogle villains. I notice also that they also are so specific to the stories in which they appear that subsequent appearances by both have been — lackluster.

Oddly enough, this message I saw in my inbox isn’t up here yet buuuut…

Anarky did not go through a period of obscurity after Tim Drake was introduced. He was moved into the role of a Robin villain for a couple of years, however. He was a recurring Batcharacter throughout the 90s and even showed up in Green Arrow in a story that’s a subversive twist on Hard-Travelling Heroes. By the late 90s, with his own mini-series, an attempt was made to set him loose in the DCU. I would say #7 of his monthly is one of its best issues. After cancellation, he made a couple of appearances but events like Justice League of ? seemed to indicate DC wanted to distance themselves. Also, it’s interesting that a pair of villains from his monthly showed up in the JLA Elseworlds act of god- I have to wonder if Anarky was originally going to be in it. Anarky’s first appearance after 9/11 was in Green Arrow, and was not collected in the trade. Nicieiza then used him whenever he wrote Red Robin until the new 52, which meant the promise of a Tim and Lonnie team never quite came to fruition, and Ulysses Armstrong pranced about in various costumes including Anarky’s. As of now, Lonnie has not appeared in the new 52 and it is unclear if the bleach- crazed Anarky in the new Batman show is Lonnie, Ulysses or someone new. Also, Tim Drake’s new 52 origin is awfully close to Lonnie’s first appearances.

Norm Breyfogle and Alan Grant created my all time fave run on Batman. The 3-part Tulpa storyline in Detective is an underrated Bat-classic, not to mention their string of one-and-dones around the 612 or so mark with Catman, a flashback to Bruce’s childhood, and a story called Trash that I think sits among the greatest Batman stories ever told. The ending really affected me as a kid, and still gets me now when I think about it. These stories were just well told, and beautifully illustrated. No hype, no event, no tie-ins, no bullshit. Just great storytelling. I miss those days terribly.

joe the poor speller

July 31, 2013 at 1:24 am

norm breyfogle is second only to jim aparo as my favorite batman artist. come on, dc, “legends of the dark knight – norm breyfogle” is WAY overdue.

[…] Comics You Should Own flashback – Detective #583-594; 601-614 (Comics Should Be Good) […]

I love these storylines. They were the very first Batman comic books I read in my life. Norm Breyfogle did an amazing job with pencils.

[…] “I Am Ms. Marvel” (Bleeding Cool) […]

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