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75 Greatest Batman Covers of All-Time: #25-21

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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!

25. Batman #405

Art by David Mazzucchelli (1986)

24. Batman #608 (Second Print)

Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (2002)

23. Batman and Robin #1

Art by Frank Quitely (2009)

22. Batman #400

Art by Bill Sienkiewicz (1986)

21. Batman #232

Art by Neal Adams (1971)

20. Batman #366

Art by Walter Simonson (1983)

19. Batman #407

Art by David Mazzucchelli (1987)

18. Batman #497

Art by Kelley Jones (1993)

17. Detective Comics #38

Art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson (1940)

16. Batman #194

Art by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson (1967)

15. Detective Comics #880

Art by Jock (2011)

14. Batman: The Dark Knight #2 (The Dark Knight Triumphant)

Art by Frank Miller (1986)

13. Batman #156

Art by Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris (1963)

12. Detective Comics #476

Art by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin (1978)

11. Batman #227

Art by Neal Adams (1969)

33 Comments

As I’ve said before (I think) it’s remarkable what a spectrum of artists and eras this covers. Rather than, say, whatever’s recent/classic/available in TPB.

The first cover is weird. Even if Batman is lifting his cape, it shouldn’t be billowing like that, unless there’s a gust of wind or something coming from underneath him… Is this the Batman version of that famous “Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway vent” scene?

Robin certainly dies a lot.

I really can’t get behind Batman #400

@Tuomas The first one suggests to me that he has just swung his hands and arms forwards from his sides or even from slightly behind, and the cape is still billowing, following this motion. It’s the equivalent of a snapshot capturing a frozen moment in the middle of an action, rather than the static pose that might follow its completion a few seconds later (i.e. after the cape stops moving and drops vertically due to gravity again).

Okay, I get it now. It’s still a weirdly “girly” pose to put Batman in… But that’s okay, I like girly Batman!

I love the cover to Batman #400. It freaked me out when I was a kid. Batman and Robin #1 is pretty great too.

I’ve tried but I just can’t get into Frank Quitely ‘s art. It reminds me of the old Eon Flux character designs in a bad way.

The covers to Batman #232 and Batman #405 are both pretty damn iconic. Brilliant work by Neal Adams and David Mazzuchelli, respecitvely. And, of course, they are from two of my all time favorite Batman stories. I didn’t vote, but if I had, these two would probably have been on my ballot.

#400! My second one to show up. Great eye-catching cover, here.

This is a great batch in general, lots of stuff I actually own. Cool.

It’s interesting to note that the second printing for Batman #608 made the list but the first printing did not (it was literally the last cover off of the list, #76). Surprising to see a second print outdo a first printing by that much, but I guess that image has become a bit more iconic than the actual cover for #608 (do an image search for Batman #608 and the results are overwhelmingly the second print cover, for instance).

One thing I find interesting that I never realized until this list: Batman has had a TON of logos, both for his solo title and for Detective comics. Superman on the other hand has had two classic icons, for his solo title and for Action comics, that to my awareness have never been changed, at least never for very long. I wonder why both Superman titles nailed it on the first try with their logos while the Batman titles are always changing?

Action Comics’ logo changed a few different times during the 1980s and 1990s.

When Byrne re-made the book as a team-up book it got a new logo.

It then got a new logo in 1990 and then in 1991 they introduced a drastically different logo where it was just the regular Superman logo with “in Action Comics” written in the same font underneath. That logo ran for a number of years before they returned to the original logo.

But yes, Batman and Detective went through a lot more different logos.

Robin certainly dies a lot.

Yeah, I can’t keep track of each fallen Robin.

It then got a new logo in 1990 and then in 1991 they introduced a drastically different logo where it was just the regular Superman logo with “in Action Comics” written in the same font underneath. That logo ran for a number of years before they returned to the original logo.

I knew about that one but I kind of didn’t count it based on the fact it still fell under the umbrella of one of the two logos. I didn’t know about a change under the Byrne era though. Are you talking about that period when the word comics appeared within the bigger word “Action” instead of outside of the word? Because I just counted that as a slight variation of the classic logo rather than as a new logo altogether, although I guess it can be seen as different enough to count as a new logo.

@ T.

Great point. The logo doesn’t just change a lot, it changes radically. The font, the presence of the Bat symbol and the shape of the Bat symbol are all in constant flux. In my mind, the Batman logo is some version of the Batman ’66 logo, but that rarely appears on the comics.

I knew about that one but I kind of didn’t count it based on the fact it still fell under the umbrella of one of the two logos. I didn’t know about a change under the Byrne era though. Are you talking about that period when the word comics appeared within the bigger word “Action” instead of outside of the word? Because I just counted that as a slight variation of the classic logo rather than as a new logo altogether, although I guess it can be seen as different enough to count as a new logo.

You’d be hard pressed not to call that a different logo, but what’s interesting is to note that they actually already changed the logo slightly before Byrne’s reboot. VERY slightly.

actionlogo3

And here was the logo before they made it just be the regular Superman logo for a few years:

Yes, I see what you mean. I should rephrase what I meant for clarity’s sake. I didn’t mean there was never any experimentation. There was always a constant tweaking or refining of the two logos from the very beginning, as well as some alterations that could arguably be counted as outright changes, like adding Superman’s name to the Action logo or placing the “Comics” part in different areas of the logo. My point is that for Superman it’s always been variations of the same two logos. Like even when they add Superman’s name to the Action Comics logo it’s usually in the Superman font. Or they’ll change Action Comics to match the Superman font. But at the end of the day, it’s always one of those two logos for those two books.

Batman and Detective though go all over the place.

Anyone interested in the changes of the logo/title should check out the legendary Todd Klein’s blog. He does a recurring look at logos through the years: http://kleinletters.com/Blog/category/logo-studies/ and http://kleinletters.com/Blog/logo-links/ There are seven entries on Superman and five on Batman.

Year One part 2 was my #9 vote – but it is the weakest Year One cover by far so I’m happy for it to be this low.

That Quitely cover is gorgeous and with hindsight I probably should have voted for it. It is my iPad wallpaper.

Wow. Batman and Robin #1 makes it into the top 25, huh?

While I certainly don’t agree with it, I can’t say that I’m surprised.

I never really understood why Jim Lee doesn’t get more grief for Batman’s chest in that picture. In my eyes it’s almost as ridiculous as the chest on Liefeld’s infamous Captain America pic.

Adam: The Todd Klein links are great! Thanks!

Don’t care for Jim Lee all that much & his cover to me is boring.
Batman 400 on the other hand is stunning art to me. Love Billy the Sink!

The Batman on the cover of #400 really needs The Joker to pinch his bum and tell him to “loosen up tightass”

been wondering if any issue of the storyline that added hush to the bat rogues gallery would make the list and surprise one finaly shows plus still find batman four hundred stunning including how batman looks almost like he is made of paper

I’m shocked that Batman #232 and #400 are so low. I think they’re easily in the top 10 Batman covers and I’ll have a hard time believing that any of the following ones will be that much better.

A great batch all around. I think that Batman and Robin #1 definitely deserves its spot here because the body language is so great. As opposed to a TON of other “Batman standing around and being drawn nicely” covers that have shown up here, this one actually functions equally well as a pinup and as an indicator of what’s inside the issue. This was the first real appearance of Dick and Damian in the costumes, and this cover perfectly encapsulated what the dynamic of the new Dynamic Duo was going to be. As good as all of the other pin up-like covers that have placed are, they pretty much just tell you that Batman is this grim, brooding creature of the night. Batman and Robin #1 actually tells the reader something new about Batman and Robin in one nice image..

Batman and Robin 1 making the list and scoring so high surprised me. I do not think I even looked at Batman and Robin when I made my ballot.

Batman 405 and B&R 1 are excellent.

I will be a sad man if we get no Newton, Colan, Williams III, Parobeck, Nolan, Moldoff, Sale, Stelfreeze, Nguyen, Burnham, and Sprang! And Capullo!

Some Win Mortimer would be great too, but that’s probably asking too much.

A guy can dream right?

Two of mine show, Batman #405 and Batman and Robin #1. Knew the first should show, didn’t think the second would so very happy it has. Two great covers.

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