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CSBG Archive

75 Greatest Batman Covers of All-Time: #35-26

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.


35. Batman #493

Art by Kelley Jones (1993)

34. Batman #291

Art by Jim Aparo (1977)

33. Batman #300

Art by Dick Giordano (1978)

32. Detective Comics #69

Art by Jerry Robinson (1942)

31. Batman #676

Art by Alex Ross (2008)

30. Detective Comics #475

Art by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin (1977)

29. Detective Comics #871

Art by Jock (2010)

28. Batman: The Dark Knight #4 (The Dark Knight Falls)

Art by Frank Miller (1986)

27. Batman #241

Art by Neal Adams and Bernie Wrightson (1972)

26. Batman #428

Art by Mike Mignola (1988)


Huh. I would have thought Dark Knight 4 would have been higher.

I am fully aware that the remaining covers are all iconic, high quality covers, that the difference between placing 28th and 10th is probably a mere handful of votes, and that Dark Knight 4 is at best second in the pecking order of Dark Knight covers (behind Dark Knight 1). I’m still a bit surprised it is this early.

Interesting to compare ‘Tec #69 with ‘Tec #475! Joker has upgraded his wardrobe slightly, but retains his tie, shirt and gloves across the decades :)

Also across all these covers so far it’s interesting to see the changes in fashion for text on covers: text in captions, text in speech balloons, or no text at all.

That is the first Knightfall cover I wanted to see. The second one is the one everybody, even not Batman fans, knows about it.

That Batman #493 cover looks like Bats is either about to rape or cast a spell on the woman in front of him. Seriously, what are his hands supposed to be doing there?

Also, looks like everyone loves covers where either Batman or Robin has died (though obviously most of them are fake-outs). About a third of the covers so far have that theme.

The Dark Knight Falls was my #8 vote (my highest Dark Knight vote was for #2 with the wrinkled knackered looking Batman).

The Jock and Mignola covers are great too.

The Morrison-run had some great covers, three of them (permitted that “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” counts) on the list so far and I’m expecting Batman #700 to show up too. I would like to see at least one of Simone Biancho’s great black and white covers for Dini’s run on Detective Comics as well, but considering how high up the list we’re getting that’s probably not going to happen.

Kelley Jones. Huh. Terrible artwork. Never understood his popularity.

I didn’t vote, but some of my favorite covers have yet to appear. I will be flabbargasted if they don’t show up.

interesting to see a dark knight returns cover already was expecting some in the top twenty or top twelve. plus also death in the family like in the top ten mostly the one showing jason todds final fate. plus also though grant morrisions batman work would be higher

Finally, one of mine shows up! Batman #291 was my very first issue of Batman, and that cover certainly jumped off the newsstand. I really like the colour scheme, too, both in the blue background and in the complementary colour scheme of the various rogues.

(that’s a long running theme, isn’t it: superheroes=primary colours like red/blue, villains=complementary green/purple…pretty prominent in most classic Marvel/DC rivalries…

Batman #291 – It’s funny to see Lex on that cover. The way he is now, he would never stoop so low as to hang out with Batman’s rogues. Heck, he probably wouldn’t even gloat over killing Batman…after all, he is just a man.

Bill Williamson

March 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

I love that Mignola cover. He did great covers for A Death in the Family, it’s really a shame that he’s only pencilled maybe two issues of an actual Batman story.

Somehow I’m guessing the death of Mary McGuffin is just a plot device.

All I want to say is that I was SO fortunate to have been a kid in the 70’s & 80’s. I got to see the artwork of Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, Dick Giordano and Marshall Rogers when it was shiny and new.

And laugh all you want, but I miss the smell of newsprint. :Þ

Batman #291 – It’s funny to see Lex on that cover. The way he is now, he would never stoop so low as to hang out with Batman’s rogues. Heck, he probably wouldn’t even gloat over killing Batman…after all, he is just a man.

Nah, in modern DC the less superpowered you are the MORE formidable you are. Which is why every Justice Leaguer is treated like an extreme underdog against Batman. A perfect illustration of this is the Identity Crisis Deathstroke fight. Deathstroke is less powered so he singlehandedly trounces the Justice League. But among the League, the ones who are less powered do far better than the outrageously powered ones.

“In this issue, the Catwoman!” Just in case her name and picture already being on the cover hadn’t made that clear enough.

so many covers to choose!

You misunderstand, DanLarkin. In each issue of the arc a different villain explains how he or she were the one responsible for the death of Batman. In this chapter, Catwoman tells her story.

I’m guessing the term MacGuffin wasn’t as well known back in the day. You couldn’t get away with naming a character that in a serious story these days.

Buttler no, the cover is quite accurate: Mary McGuffin’s life is on the line, Batman has to find her to save her (she’d been taken by a terrorist/spy as a hostage).
T, one of the things that irks me most about Batman in the League is when he’s supposed to be the top strategist/field commander. It seems to be me he more likely be the lone wolf who has no idea how to work on a team, let alone run one.

Toozin: The term MacGuffin was popularized in the mid-1930s, and that story’s from 1972. There’s no question that the Internet has made it easier to look it up if you don’t know it, though, so it’s less specialized knowledge than it was 40-odd years ago,

Fraser: I was joking.

I just noticed the covers to “Detective” #69 and #475 are near homages. At the very least, they are quite similar.

Just remembered how Batman #291 was my introduction to a bunch of those villains, including Lex Luthor, so I just assumed he was a Batman villain. It took a few Superman/Luthor encounters before I managed to disassociate him from Bats.

Pete Woodhouse

March 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm

I’ve just realised Brian, I almost certainly put Detective Comics 476 when I meant Detective Comics 475 (I even did a short description mentioning the “Hands Up, I’ve got you covered!” gag.
No big deal as 476 (second part of the Laughing Fish by Marshall Rogers) is also a fine cover, so if you’ve given the vote to 476 it’s no shame.

The 291, 241 and Jock covers were also close calls for me.

Pete Woodhouse

March 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Buttler: “Somehow I’m guessing the death of Mary McGuffin is just a plot device.”

I wanted to say that !! :)

I’m surprised that Batman 241 cover is on the list. It was done by two master artists who definitely deserve any accolades they are given, but it’s a pretty boring cover. The look on Batman’s face even seems kind of bored. Just seems very forgettable to me.

It does seem that a lot of the covers either feature Batman and/or Robin dead, as another commenter mentioned, or is just a generic posing cover that really has nothing to do with the story within. I’ve never been a big fan of the posing covers. I absolutely hated it in the early 2000s when Marvel decided every cover of every comic should just be some stock pose. I do see how they can pretty easily become rather well known or iconic, though, since they just represent the character and not the story. Anyway, all this babbling is me just basically saying “It’s interesting that so many of these covers fall into one of two categories.”

I always loved that Batman 291 cover. But, even as a little kid, I wondered why only 4 of the six villains are saying “And to think–I killed him!”. Ivy and Scarecrow are strangely silent on the issue.

I actually think this is the weakest batch yet.

Two covers here almost made it on my ballot but lost out, Batman #676 and Detective Comics #871.

Jazzbo, I so agree with you on the posing covers. Covers were a lot more memorable I think when they were designed to grab casual browsers rather than catering to comic-store regulars.
Dhole’s comment makes me think a “When I first read comics I assumed—” thread might be fun. My first was JLA 30 (Silver Age) which didn’t have them in their secret identities, so I assumed they didn’t have any. They just sat around being Batman, Superman, Dr. Fate 24/7.

Pete Woodhouse

March 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Agree – covers that grab the reader rather than pin-up poses are better.
Nothing wrong with the odd ‘iconic’ cover but ‘strike a pose’ is another modern ill that contributes to comics being no longer a popular pastime, simply a hobby of comic store ageing fanboys .

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