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75 Greatest Batman Stories: #35-26

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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, culminating with the official 75th anniversary of Batman on July 23rd. We’ve done Batman covers, Batman characters, Batman creastors and now, finally, Batman stories!

You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 75 Greatest Batman Stories! Here are #35-26!

Enjoy!

NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.

35. “Club of Heroes” (Batman #667-669)

In this three-part mystery by Grant Morrison and J.H. Williams III, Batman is reunited with the international club of heroes (a short-lived superhero team that was introduced in a 1950s issue of Batman) to solve the seeming murder of the man who originally funded the Club of Heroes. Can Batman and a team of C-List heroes solve the murder mystery before they’re all picked off one by one?

Williams was especially impressive when he showed a flashback to the heyday of the Club (when the British hero the Knight was known as the sidekick to his father)…

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and then transitioned to modern times…

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34. “A Lonely Place of Dying” (Batman #440-442, The New Titans #60-61)

Marv Wolfman theorized that a reason that fans didn’t like Jason Todd was that he was in conflict with Dick Grayson, so in this storyline by Wolfman (spread out over Batman and New Titans) that introduced the third Robin, Wolfman makes sure to directly tie Tim Drake in with Dick Grayson, by having Tim figure out Dick and Bruce’s secret identities and then trying to get Dick to take over as Robin again as Batman is having troubles since Jason died…

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Jim Aparo and Tom Grummett did the art for this storyline.

33. “Year 100″ (Batman Year 100 #1-4)

In a Gotham City that is essentially a federal police state, there is little room for honest cops like Jim Gordon (grandson of the famed Commissioner Jim Gordon) but there is even less room for unexplained phenomena – after all, everyone is being constantly monitored – there is no such thing as privacy, no such thing as secrecy. That is, of course, until Batman somehow shows up on the grid. It is unclear if this is the original Batman (since it is so far in the future it certainly seems unlikely) but whatever the case, this Batman is a thorn in the side of a corrupt federal government and writer/artist Paul Pope does an amazing job showing how Batman manages to evade capture while showing how Batman (along with his pair of young helpers, including a young man known as Robin) keeps up his aura of mystery (think fake teeth to make him look demonic)…

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Go to the next page for #32-29!

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22 Comments

I think #31 got left out by mistake.

Yep, the description for #31, “The First Batman” (Detective Comics #235) is missing.

Glad that “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” made the list. It was one of my choices.

Usually I’m catching up on the tail end of these….

Club of Heroes doesn’t seem to get as much acclaim as other parts of the Morrison run, but I think it was better than a lot of the later stuff.

As pointed out, what made the story work was the care they put into integrating Tim Drake into the story. But the end you’re really ready for Dick Grayson to be replaced and there be another new Robin.

Year 100 is, oddly, maybe the only pre-Nu-52 story I haven’t read in the modern era. They were just out of issue #1, and was just tired of hunting down stuff. Guess I can probably download it in this day and age.

Both good stories, but glad to see the original Batman #1 (which I voted for) over the Man Who Laughs. Very few intros from that age are as good or genuinely chilling.

I wonder if I’d like the whole Red Hood/Tim Drake thing better if Hush hadn’t already teased the idea. Bringing him back wasn’t much of a shock when they had faked us out so recently before.

And I voted for Son of the Demon. Beyond the shocking and ground breaking (though ignored till years later) Bat-baby, it had a nice Barr story, a better version of a “Cain” villain than the varied assassins and such that came after him, and some of the best Bat-art we’ve seen before or since.

Three entries off my list! Venom and Son of the Demon were among my first Batman stories.

I voted for Under the Hood based on Mahnke’s work as much as the story. I can’t believe I still don’t own The Man Who Laughs. I never remember to pick it up when I’m out hunting up books. I know I’ve read it, but I don’t remember much about it.

I’m surprised that Son of the Demon placed this highly, as I thought it was largely forgotten these days. I guess the introduction of Damian Wayne really boosted its profile.

The very first Joker story was my #6 choice. It’s still one of his creepiest appearances ever.

And this list is reminding me that I really need to buy a copy of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”.

Oh yes, the Joker’s debut. A real gem.
And “The First Batman” was a great story too. An origin expansion that worked, at least for me.
I never saw a point to resurrecting Jason other than well, all the good dead characters were back already.

I love Mike Barr’s lighthearted Detective Comics run with Alan Davis, but for some reason I couldn’t get on with a Son of the Demon.

Jude Winick gets a lot of stick, but I quite enjoyed his Batman stuff – including Under the Hood.

Year 100 is great. It made my short list.

Jerry Bingham, from whom I have not seen too much art from, is either very underrated, or outdid himself in “Son of the Demon”

Club of Heroes was one of my votes. A tight, dense murder mystery with a great cast of new characters, brought to life by some stunning artwork from JH Williams III. I just loved how he seemed to have a different artist in mind for each character, like Chaykin for El Gaucho or McGuinness for Knight & Squire. An excellent Batman story.

I didn’t really like the Red Hood comic, but I enjoyed the movie quite a bit!

I like the original Joker comic more than the Brubaker/Manake remake

Son of the Demon was a forgotten little gem until Damian Wayne boosted its morale. Its like an 80s action movie version of Batman, the one-liners, the globetrotting, the big colorful henchmen, all that jazz

Year 100 was on the shortlist. Dialog wasn’t much good at all, but the plotting is interesting, and the artwork is goddamn amazing. People seemed so focused on figuring who Batman was, was it Bruce or Dick or Alfred, it doesn’t matter. In the future, where there is evil and corruption in Gotham, there will be a Batman to stamp it out.

A lot of stories in this portion of the list that I own but simply haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

Been a bit since I read Club of Heroes, but I do remember it being a fun whodunnit and the point in Morrison’s run where I felt like things were going over my head. Ignorance of Batman’s comic history and all that. Williams turned in some damn fine art, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Seeing the artists Morrison got paired up with during his Batman run makes me weep for the art in his New X-Men run. What could have been…

Considered voting for The Man Who Laughs. I still have yet to read Batman #1, so for better or worse this version of their first encounter is “my” version. Not to take anything away from it as it’s still a great story that any fan ought to read. I enjoyed this and Gotham Central so much that I simply don’t know why I haven’t looked into any of Brubaker’s other work in the franchise.

Whatever Happened…was another story that made my short list, but it too was (barely) left off. There are some wonderful character moments in that story (Joker and his parked car is a favorite), but the above bit with Alfred blew my mind. It’s a story I’m very glad Gaiman was given the chance to write. It’s hard for me to think of someone better suited for the task.

Voted for Under the Hood, but perhaps more so for the (fantastic) animated adaptation than the comic itself. I wonder if people these days are first coming into that story via the adaptation rather than the comic. That was the case for me, at least. I’d found out who it was under there beforehand, but I don’t think that knowledge really took anything away from the experience. The opening moments of the animated version basically gives it away, anyway.

I’ve since read the comic and quite liked it. Both versions have their own strengths to them. I loved the in media res opening of #635. I haven’t read any of Winnick’s other Batbook work, but I thought he handled this story well. He retconned Hush to be a slightly better story, which is a bonus in its favor (and that it did so in the annual after the story itself was finished was much appreciated). However, I’d give the nod to the animated version as being the superior version. The chaff and the backstory baggage from the comic is largely thrown to the side. The story is distilled to the salient points (and the awesome Amazo fight), which makes the personal nature of who Red Hood is and the emotional fallout more effective.

I’m a big fan of Venom. There were many scenes that packed quite a wallop, and at least one that was downright shocking when it came out. Gripping, powerful stuff

Joker’s first appearances are great!

I can’t find anything good to say about Under the Hood, unfortunately.

Whatever Happened… was wonderful. So densely packed, it repays multiple readings. So many grace notes

been wondering when or if batman year 100 would show up on this list for it showed that gotham will even have a batman a hundred years from now. venom thought would be way not till the top ten. and interesting to find the first showing of the joker show up for did not think it would till higher in the twenties. plus son of the demon on this list is surpring given how dc editors at the time of its creation had a fit about batman and talia having a bat baby aka damian .

Club of Heroes would have been a runner-up for me on the strength of the concept alone. Possibly the coolest idea for a Batman story that Morrison ever used, and maybe my second or third favorite Batman story of his overall.

And as has already been mentioned, the description and image(s) for #31 are missing.

Not much to say about this crop of stories. Most of them are good, but I’m not a big fan of you-know-who’s Batman run and I haven’t even read Year 100. I think I was put off by the art style. I know, I know. I’ll give it a chance, eventually.

I love The Man Who Laughs. I wish they would animate it at some point, because it would make a great follow-up to that Batman: Year One movie from a few years back. But I guess DC and WB want to just do New 52 stuff now. It’s a shame.

I’m not a big fan of you-know-who’s Batman run

I didn’t realise Voldemort had written Batman.

… Or was that Arseface?

I cannot believe that I forgot about Son of the Demon! If I had remembered that graphic novel I probably would have voted for it. Glad to see it make the list.

“Venom” was also a really good story, with excellent artwork. I recently re-read it, and it’s still a riveting tale. I got the TPB autographed by Denny O’Neil at the New York Comic Fest last month.

“The First Batman” Detective Comics #235 is the fifth story so far on this list that was also collected in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told trade paperback.

One of these days I should check out Grant Morrison’s Batman stories. It sounds like they were interesting.

Let’s see, Moxon served 10 years in prison. Since young Bruce was capable of articulate speech at the time of the costume party, I would guess that he was around 4 or 5 years old, which would seem to indicate that Bruce was around 14 or 15 at the time of his parents death. Interesting to compare that to non-Finger renditions, where Bruce is usually depicted as quite a bit younger. If memory serves, most of the stories/flashbacks that I have seen depict him as being around 8 years of age.

RE: Gaiman’s WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER, I’m somewhat surprised that it placed as highly as it did. I thought that it was a good but not great Batman tale. On the other hand, maybe I’m simply being unfairly influenced by my high regard for Moore’s classic WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW.

Venom and Son of the Demon almost made my list (11th and 12th perhaps)
It is on the strength of son of the Demon that I voted for Jerry Bingham in Batman’s artists

Oh so THAT’s where Doctor Hurt’s Batman costume came from. I thought I must have missed something.

Marlowe, I would agree that you probably are being unfairly influenced by that, since the earlier “Whatever Happened…” is an amazing, heartbreaking, all-time classic. But the Batman one was great, too. It’s one of those stories that gives you what you want from it. If you just want a cool, “Elseworlds”-like collection of stories about different concepts of Batman, you got it. On the other hand, if you want to dig a little deeper, it can also work as a treatise on the importance of the Batman, both in his fictional world and our own.

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