If you are new to comics or new to Batman comics, there are thousands of stories about the Dark Knight.  Detective Comics, which is where Batman got his start, just hit #1000!  Batman Comics vol. 1 reached #713 before DC restarted it.  Batman Comics volume 2 added 52 issues to the catalog and now volume 3 is up to 67 issues.  Those insane numbers don’t include Legends of the Dark Knight, Brave and the Bold, Justice League, any of the Batman Animated series or all the mini-series and Elseworlds titles.  Honestly, it can be wildly confusing for someone new to Batman.  If that is you, here is some help from a lifelong Batman fan.

***Be warned that all of these books will lead you down into the shadowy depths of Gotham.  You’ll experience the grim underbelly of mankind, see heroes pushed beyond themselves and see noble qualities rise above the rubble.***

This is the order in which you should read Batman to get a really good working knowledge of him. All trades are linked to Comics Price Guide so that you can see the issues and their values.

Batman Reading Order

  1. Batman Year One – 1987 Originally published in Batman Comics #404-407. Covers his early years and his motivation for being Batman
  2. Batman: The Long Halloween – 1996 13 issue mini-series
    The rise of several important figures
  3. Batman: Dark Victory – 1999 13 issue mini-series
    Sequel to The Long Halloween
  4. Batman: The Killing Joke – 1988 12 printings should give you a clue about the importance of this story. Major story development for the Bat-family
  5. Batman: A Death in the Family – 1988 Originally published in Batman Comics #426-429. One of the defining moments in the history of the Dark Knight.
  6. Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying – 1989 Originally published in Batman Comics #440-442 How will Batman deal with death and a new ward.
  7. Batman: Hush – 2003 Originally published in Batman #608-619
    This story has more twists and turns than a curvy mountain road.
  8. Batman: The Court of Owls – 2011 Originally published in Batman (vol. 2) 1-11. Gotham is never transparent with its intentions and history.
  9. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – 1986 4 issue mini-series that changed everything. The best Batman story to date and the correct ending. 

Here are a couple stories that are just fun to read but not absolutely necessary.

Ten Nights of the Beast – Originally a 4 part story in Batman #417-420 The originals had gorgeous Zeck covers
Batman: White Knight – 2017 8 issue mini-series A fun little romp with car chases by Sean Murphy.
Gotham by Gaslight – 1989 one-shot by Mignola putting Batman in a different time period.
Batman Year Two – 1987 4 issue series that ran through Detective Comics #575-578. Three issues were done by McFarlane.
Batman Knightfall – 1993 Originally a huge arching story in several titles. Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break…
Batman No Man’s Land – 1999 Originally a massive storyline that took forever to unfold. It’s much better when you buy the 5 trades, yes 5.
Batman: Death of the Family (of the family not in the family)

After reading Batman you might want to delve into other related characters like Harley Quinn, Oracle, Nightwing, Robin, (but which Robin?) Catwoman, Damian, Red Hood, Batgirl, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Ras Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul and that Joker fellow.  It’s completely natural to dig deeper as you relate to one of the heroes, anti-heroes or villains.

Long live the Bat,
Ron Cloer