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75 Greatest Batman Covers of All-Time: #45-36

In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman. Future installments will deal with Batman creators, villains and stories, but this month will be about Batman covers.

You all voted, now here are the results! We’ll be doing ten covers a day until the top twenty-five, when it becomes five a day. Here is a master list of all the covers that have been revealed so far.

Enjoy!

45. Batman #406

Art by David Mazzucchelli (1987)

44. Batman #231

Art by Neal Adams (1971)

43. Limited Collectors’ Edition #C-51

batcover43

Art by Neal Adams (1977)

42. Detective Comics #366

Art by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson (1967)

41. Death in the Family TPB

Art by Jim Aparo (1988)

40. Batman #423

Art by Todd McFarlane (1988)

39. Batman #11

Art by Fred Ray and Jerry Robinson (1942)

38. The Brave and the Bold #93

Art by Neal Adams (1969)

37. Legends of the Dark Knight #50

Art by Brian Bolland and Rachel Birkett (1993)

36. Detective Comics #590

Art by Norm Breyfogle (1988)

31 Comments

A couple of thoughts about this batch of covers…

– Did you know that Batman #423 and Detective Comics #590 both came out the SAME month?! Quite a month for Batman covers, eh?

– While I was quite familiar with the Batman #423 cover (that’s the image I believe Bob Kane stole and pretended that was his own drawing of Batman), I am less familiar with the Detective Comics #590 cover, so I was surprised to see it get such wide support. Well, at the very least, it got Norm Breyfogle on to the countdown, which is nice, as I would have felt bad if the countdown excluded such an important Batman artist.

– I went with the non-enhanced Legend of the Dark Knight #50 cover mostly because the embossed foil really doesn’t translate to a scan.

– I believe that this section includes our first (and only) two collections to make it (that Death in the Family trade was a HUGE seller back in the day).

I’m just waiting for one or two Knightfall covers to show out.

joe the poor speller

March 26, 2014 at 5:29 am

Limited Collectors’ Edition and LTDK 50 are really great covers. detective 590 was also on my shortlist

fun fact: detective 590 was used as cover for an old “ten nights of the beast” tpb here in brazil. god only knows why

Great to see a Breyfogle cover sneak onto the list, but I’m surprised that McFarlane has managed to take two (or is it even more?) spots so far. I never thought of his Batman-stuff as that acclaimed.

I have a copy of Detective 590 on my bedroom wall. Believe it or not, there is a small green with trees in front of the Palace of Westminster, so this view is theoretically possible – perhaps Alan Grant sent a refrence photo to Norm Breyfogle? Minus the bats pouring out of Big Ben / St Stephen’s Tower / Elizabeth Tower / whatever you want to call it…

This list is one of the best so far – so many surprises and new discoveries!

Until now, I never realized that one of Neal Adams’ most iconic images of Ra’s Al Ghul & Talia was actually from the cover of a reprint, namely Limited Collectors’ Edition #C-51. Well, whever it showed up first, it is an amazing illustration.

I’m curious to see how many Neal Adams covers make it. It would be cool to see a breakdown of artist and the number of covers that made the list at the end.

Two thoughts:

man is that McFarlane cover drawing awful, but in an attractive way, if that makes sense, There’s something about McFarlane’s ink linework that makes his art seem way better than it actually is. I don’t like his aesthetic choices there, especially the wonky size and shape of the cape, looking like a supernatural living thing, but he does have a nice, intricate cartoony line that I like nonetheless. I think the cover colorist’s use of primary colors has a lot more to do with how ultimately attractive that cover is than McFarlane himself.

Second, I don’t think Infantino gets nearly enough credit for being the aesthetic bridge between the Golden Age “Kane” style of Batman and the Silver Age Adams style.

Also, I have no idea why Breyfogle is not as fondly remembered by history for his Batman work as one would expect based on his huge popularity in the 80s and 90s. I feel like people really, really liked Breyfogle, and I recall even the Batman: Animated Series guys talking about how much of an influence his work was, but now he is almost an afterthought when discussing great Batman artists.

I fully expect a top 10 finish for Breyfogle in the upcoming Batman artists. He’s in my top 3, personally.

interesting to see a cover from death in the family on this list already thought not till way in the top ten .and that one cover with the joker and the cat really has to be one of the creepier joker covers.

So happy that Detective Comics #590 made this list. Certainly one of my all-time favorites.

So far, only 2 of my Top 10 have made it: Detective 590 and Batman 452 (Dark Knight, Dark City).

I had a hard time not including Batman 454 on my list as well.

The Year One Swat Team cover was my #3 vote. It’s been robbed coming this low.

Nice entries from McFarlane, Breyfogle and Adams.

The story inside that McFarlane cover is pretty cool. And it’s drawn by Dave Cockrum!

The Year One Swat Team cover was my #3 vote. It’s been robbed coming this low.

I think the exact thing that makes that cover so brilliant, its subtlety, is also the exact thing making it underrated and coming in so much lower than it should.

The Brave & Bold would probably have anyone who grew up with the “Bat God” of recent years scratching their head. Implying Batman can face burnout? That if Commissioner Gordon told him to take a break he’d listen?

I think the exact thing that makes that cover so brilliant, its subtlety, is also the exact thing making it underrated and coming in so much lower than it should.

Plus it is competing in people’s minds with three other Year One covers, one of which is one of the most famous covers in the history of Batman comics.

Brave & the Bold 93: great concept, but that Batman figure is really awkward. The curved cape looks weird to me- is there a breeze billowing it out like that? The hand are in odd positions. Batman almost looks like a colorform stuck over a House of Mystery cover. It’s memorable, but that Batman is jarring.

First, this is an awesome list. It is fascinating how every era of Batman covers has its dominant trends and they change course abruptly. My personal vision of Batman will always be the horror-tinged one that is seen on The Brave and the Bold #93, but there are so many. Richmond Lewis tilted the color palette toward oranges and purples for a generation. Breyfogle and McFarlane had capes that were so expressionistic that they thumbed their noses at realism. Neal Adams turned the Dark Knight into the world’s most constipated man.

Second, Carmine Infantino and Norm Breyfogle are opposite sides of the same coin. Infantino on THE FLASH is such a towering, defining run that it eclipses the rest of the man’s career including his seminal Batman work. Breyfogle, in contrast, only is famous for Batman. There is nothing to argue about. He is a great Batman artist. Full stop.

Damn, I forgot about that Limited Collectors’ Edition cover. That thing is epic.

Only an hour to live but he takes time to draw a Batman icon on his will…

God I love this countdown . . . it should have been the top 500 though, would love love love to see even more Batman covers.

‘Tec 590 – so glad that cover made it . . . love it.

Wasn’t the Bob Kane Mcfarlane swipe based on a page he did on year 2? I think it was in a cemetary

Actually, you’re totally right. I know that they used that McFarlane cover for promo stuff for the Burton Batman movie, but I thought that it was specifically the promo stuff that was “by” Bob Kane, but looking at it now, it was not the image that specifically said “Bob Kane” on it. My confusion was that the image Kane used from McFarlane was the panel you mentioned, only REVERSED, so it looked different than the other places where Kane swiped the Year Two panel.

By the way this is an amazing countdown. Especially since theres so many to go!

fun fact: detective 590 was used as cover for an old “ten nights of the beast” tpb here in brazil

And in Europe it was used as a cover for Anarchy in Gotham two-parter, I believe.

Plus it is competing in people’s minds with three other Year One covers, one of which is one of the most famous covers in the history of Batman comics.

True. And some people set themselves rules that would stop them voting for all four Year One covers.

I didn’t. I voted for all four – and that included my top three votes.

Pete Woodhouse

March 27, 2014 at 4:16 pm

The Brave and the Bold #93 is I believe the first one from my list to turn up.

I for one loved Breyfogle and still do. Dang that Detective Comics #590 of Breyfogle’s completely escaped me. I also forgot about that Limited Collectors’ Edition cover. That Batman #11 was also one of my considerations.

It’s also good to see Carmine Infantino and Anderson/Giella get some love. Man, Infantino could sure lay out a cover – one that says BUY ME as well.

I’d seen that Bolland cover as a poster but never knew which comic (if any) it was from, until now!

Cool, I actually own all but one of these(and I have that one in a couple of collections). Batman #234 made my list, and three of the others were among the final 5 or 6 I cut. Glad to see them show up!

First time one of my covers has shown up, Batman #406. I had it at #4. Memorable cover.

I’m a little worried that the first comment means this will be the ONLY Breyfogle cover we’ll see. I didn’t vote for this one, but another, though this and various other could have made it. Because he was one of the best Batman artists of all time.

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