Key Batman Comics from the 1980’s

This post is solely factual for reference.  There is still confusion in the marketplace about first appearances and cameos of certain characters.  This has been researched, books were opened and appearances verified.  Part two uses this data and pricing information that will help you think differently than the masses who follow the latest “hot” book.  Chasing hot books after someone calls it out is fun but it can be costly.  Looking at data and finding undervalued books is a much easier way to make a wise comic book investment.

Batman Comics in the 80s were a crescendo to the Batman movie with Michael Keaton.  Along that path, several important characters were introduced.  The 80’s era Batman-related comics include
Batman 319-442,
Detective 487-609,
Brave and the Bold 158-200,
Justice League 1-33 and
World’s Finest 260-323.  

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight has two issues in the ’80s but neither makes the list. Suicide Squad sometimes includes the Dark Knight while at other times it excludes him, so it isn’t included.  Here are the important or key Batman comics from the 1980s a few are linked to Comics Price Guide for reference. 

Batman 323 – May 80 – 2nd Appearance of Tim Fox, the first appearance is in issue 313.
Batman 326 – Aug. 80 – The first time Arkham Asylum is mentioned.  Previously it was Arkham Hospital.
Detective 493 – Aug. 80 – 1st Appearance of the Swashbuckler
Brave and the Bold 166 – Sept. 80 – 1st Appearance of Nemesis
World’s Finest 264  – Sept. 80 – 4th Appearance of Black Adam (DC Comics Presents 49 is Sept. 82)
Detective 501 – Apr. 81 –   1st Appearance of Alfred’s Daughter, Julia Remarque
Detective 511 – Feb.82 – 1st Appearance of Mirage
Batman 353 – Nov. 82 – 16-page Masters of the Universe preview and incredible Garcia-Lopez Joker cover.  First Appearance happened in DC Comic Presents 47 (July 82) and Masters of the Universe 1 was released in May 86.  That makes this issue the 2nd appearance
Detective 523 – Feb. 83 – Cameo of Killer Croc
Batman 357 – Mar. 83 – The cameo issue for Jason Todd and Killer Croc
Detective 524 – Mar. 83 – 1st Full Appearance of Killer Croc and another cameo for Jason Todd
Brave and the Bold 197 – Apr. 83 – Batman and Catwoman marry on Earth 2
Batman 358 – Apr. 83 – 2nd Full Appearance of Killer Croc 
Detective 525 – Apr. 83 – 1st Full Appearance of Jason Todd
Brave and the Bold 200 – July 83 – 1st Appearance of Katanna, the Outsiders, Geoforce, and Halo
Batman 361 – July 83 – 2nd Appearance of Harvey Bullock (1st Appearance in Detective 441 from July 74)
Detective 529 – Aug. 83 – Cameo of Nocturna
Batman 363 – Sept. 83 – 1st Appearance of Nocturna
Batman 366 – Dec. 83 – 1st Jason Todd in Robin Costume (Not sanctioned by the Bat) and stunning Walt Simonson cover
Batman 368 – Feb. 84 – Jason Todd becomes the next Robin, officially.
Batman 386 – July 85 – 1st Appearance of the Black Mask
Detective 553 – Aug. 85 – 2nd Appearance of the Black Mask
Batman 404-407 – Feb-May 87 – Landmark Year 1 series by Frank Miller.  1st Appearance of Carmine Falcone in issue 405
Justice League 1 – May 87 – 1st Appearance of Maxwell Lord
Detective 575-578 – Jun-Sept. 87 – Year Two series, 1st Reaper in Issue 575, McFarlane Covers on 576, 577 and 578
Batman 412 – Oct 87 – 1st Appearance of the Mime
Detective 583 – Feb. 88 – 1st Appearance of Ventriloquist and Scarface with a gorgeous Mignola cover
Batman 417 – Mar. 88 – 1st Appearance of the KGBeast and awesome Mike Zeck Cover
Batman 423 – Sept. 88 – Todd McFarlane’s classic Batman cover
Detective 585 – Apr. 88 – 1st Appearance of the Ratcatcher
Detective 592 – Nov. 88 – 1st Appearance of Cornelius Stirk
Batman 426-429 – Dec. 88-Jan. 89 – Death in the Family with Mignola Covers
Batman 436 – Aug. 89 – 1st Appearance of Tim Drake
Detective 608 – Nov. 89 – 1st Appearance of Anarky
Batman 442 – Dec. 89 – 1st Tim Drake as Robin

Now that we have all the first appearances in a neat little list let’s move on to the implications.  Check out Part 2, Batman Comics in the 80s That You Should Buy Now.

by Ron Cloer

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