staypuffed’s Favourite BATMAN Comic Book Covers (Part One)

staypuffed’s Favourite BATMAN Comic Book Covers (Part One)

Batman's appeared in thousands of comics, and some of the most most iconic covers in the history of the medium. I've selected a group of my all-time favourites, including work by Bob Kane, Greg Capullo and more, in celebration of the Dark Knight's 75th anniversary. Check it out!

Though we are reaching the later part of 2014, there’s still plenty of time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Batman, my all-time favourite comic book character. The character has featured on some of the most imaginative, intuitive and iconic one-sheets in comic history, so I’ve selected 19 of my favourites to highlight, in no particular order. Let’s kick things off with the first group of covers!

 

Detective Comics #27 (1939) by Bob Kane

What better place to begin than at the start? Bill Finger and Bob Kane set the stage right away with their very first cover: the ubiquitous and unforgettable image of ‘the Bat-Man’ swooping in to stop a criminal. Though, in all honesty, it hasn’t aged too well; the figures are clunky and a little crude, and get a load of those colours. But it is incredibly iconic, and no Best Of Batman list would be complete without it.



Batman #675 (2008) by Tony S. Daniel

Tony S. Daniel has done some fine work on the Caped Crusader, but I feel this is his crowing achievement. Like many entries on this list, the concept is fairly stock-standard — a grumpy Dark Knight gritting his teeth in the rain, preparing to likely land some fisticuffs — but Daniel’s execution is what sells this. The figure is striking and dynamic, the rain blistering but not overdone, and the colours are wonderful.

 

Batman #227 (1970) by Neal Adams

I’m a big fan of homages, so Neal Adams taking a crack at reimagining a famous Golden Age cover definitely deserves to be here. Inspired by Bob Kane’s chapter one of ‘Batman Versus the Vampire’ in Detective Comics, mystery, horror and suspense take centre stage with a spooky mansion surrounded by mist, a demonic foe and a damsel in distress, plus the overbearing figure of the Dark Knight, to top it all off.



Batman #612 (2003) by Jim Lee

Jim Lee’s artwork in Batman: Hush is some of my favourite work on the character, and the cover of the fifth part of the 2002/03 storyline is definitely one his the most famous images. Demonstrating the power of Superman through light and shadow, it highlights the struggle the great Detective faces when coming toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel. It’s pretty amazing, and certainly not the last you’ll see of Lee on this list…

 

Batman #1 (2011) by Greg Capullo

Kick-starting their acclaimed (and thankfully, still ongoing) run on the character, the first issue of Batman post-DCU reboot is exciting before you even turn the cover page. As Bats fights his way through a plethora of Arkham inmates, we get a sense of urgency and excitement; the swarm of enemies and the outstretched cape only add to that. Greg Capullo has an extraordinarily distinct art style, and this is just one of the many great images from his time working on the character so far.



Batman #679 (2008) by Alex Ross

This triumphant image of the Dark Knight interestingly juxtaposes with the ‘R.I.P.’ slapped up the top, but whatever the context, the legendary Alex Ross hit it out of the park with his Batman R.I.P. covers — this one being my particular favourite. Capturing exhilarating speed and wonderful action, we also see the raw emotion in the man’s face; one of Ross’ many talents.

 

Detective Comics #880 (2011) by Jock

A fan-favourite Modern Age cover, this grizzly but stunning image of the Clown Prince of Crime is a fine piece of work by Mark Simpson, better known as Jock. He makes use of negative space, stark white and scratchy blacks, with a splash of colour to inject some more energy into it. And, just to top it all off, the inclusion of symbolism through the symbol in his eyes and the bats in his hair elevates it from a good cover to a fantastic one.



Batman #497 (1993) by Kelley Jones

The Knightfall story arc holds a special place in many hearts, and this image plays a big part in that. Thre’s a lot to look at here: an enemy overwhelming the Caped Crusader in his cave, in his environment, with Bane’s exaggerated physique representing pure power and strength, and Batman in total anguish and unrelenting pain. 

 

Batman #9 (1940) by Jack Burnley

Probably my favourite cover of the Golden Age, this simple piece works on several levels. Firstly, Jack Burnley’s composition is fantastic, positioning the characters with a flurry of lines and lovely, bold characters amongst endless darkness. Like many on this list, it also evokes questions from readers, tempting them to grab the comic from the shelves and take a flip through.



Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe Edition (2008) by Brian Bolland

Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal tale of love, violence and madness is brilliantly captured on the graphic novel’s cover. The unabashed, almost sadistic, look of glee on the Joker’s face as he takes advantage of a horrible situation speaks volumes about the character — sinister, shadowy, insane. I selected the cover of the 2008 Deluxe Edition over the original 1988 version, due to the nicer colours and redesigned text layout.



And that wraps up part one of my favourite Batman comic book covers! Feel free to leave your thoughts on my selections so far and share some of your favourites. The concluding instalment should be posted tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
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