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  1. #1
    Funky Lantern Corpsman
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    Default Notable / Favorite runs on Batman and Bat-Family titles

    Hi all,

    I've been thinking about past runs on Bat titles and AFAIK there are not many runs that have both length and central themes / ideas (i.e. not just a collection of "random" stories by a writer who happens to stay at a title for a long time).

    Of those I do know, my favorites are:
    1. Morrison's Batman / Batman and Robin / Batman Inc run - #1 by a wide margin
    2. Brubaker and Rucka's Gotham Central
    3. Chuck Dixon's Nightwing


    * I think Snyder's Batman run is a good candidate for that list, but it needs a bit more "meat" (time) - perhaps if you add his Detective Comics run..

    I'd love to get your input - both on notable runs on Bat titles in general, as well as your favorites.

  2. #2
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    I think you might fit the Moench-Jones-Beatty run on Batman into that list, in the mid-90s.

    Beyond the consistent style of the long-running creative team, this article makes a case that there are themes that continue to run throughout each of the individual 1-, 2-, and 3-part stories. The art is grotesque, moody as hell, and downright beautiful. Some of the best 2-page spreads and covers. There's about 3 years worth of issues there.

    Not quite as strongly defined by length and theme, but Rucka's first Detective Comics run, immediately post-NML, is also worth checking out. It's rarely mentioned, partly because it seems to stand in the shadow of Rucka's second, later run on Detective Comics. A muted art palette gives the book visual consistency even as artists rotate during the first run. One of the long-running stories was a Ra's al Ghul plot to manipulate a organized crime war in Gotham (itself collected in the "Evolution" TPB), though there were other stories in between and beyond the "Evolution" story. A running theme was the role of the GCPD - heightened quite considerably in the book (and a very clear precursor to Gotham Central), as well as the idea of a "New Gotham" post-NML. Another long-running story thread included Gordon's retirement (as the "Officer Down" arc took place in the middle of the run).

    I would define that run as being between issues 742-765. Rucka continued the run somewhat after that (entering into the Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive story), but the unique visual palette was retired and the writing became weaker (due partly to the extensive Murderer/Fugitive crossover), so I don't consider issues past 765 as part of the "proper" first run.

    Concurrent to that book and story was Brubaker and McDaniel's run on Batman, post-NML, starting with issue 582. Strip the crossover tie-in issues out and you have about 20-21 issues, with some solid writing, including a long-running plot involving new villain Zeiss and the Moxon crime family. McDaniel did all the pencilling, and Brubaker wrote all the issues, with the exception of a 3-part story by guest writer Brian K. Vaughan (of Y: The Last Man fame) about Matches Malone.

  3. #3
    Funky Lantern Corpsman
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    all are welcome to share their thoughts (hint hint thread bump) :)

  4. #4
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    Len Wein's BATMAN (1979-1980)

    A) Brought Bruce Wayne and Wayne Industries back to the forefront, with the introduction of Lucius Fox, and have it all under threat from the opportunistic but obese Gregorian Falstaff

    B) Reforming Selina Kyle, from Catwoman, to Selina, dating Bruce on her way, to Catwoman again, that time under friendlier terms, as fighting WITH Batman, rather than against

    C) VILLAINS! Deadly and Colorful! From big-time (Joker, Riddler, Two-Face) to forgotten (Calendar Man, Crazy Quilt, Kite Man, Cat-Man) the in-between (Mister Freeze, Blockbuster), unexpected (Gentleman Ghost) and new (Firebug)
    Last edited by ngroove; 12-14-2012 at 11:22 PM.

  5. #5
    evil maybe, genius no stk's Avatar
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    Aparo's Brave and the Bold. Written by Haney & Barr, with Burkett, Fleisher, Brennert, and Conway. 1972-1983

    I list it as Aparo's run, because even though he was the artist, he became the unifying force on that series.

    Way better than you would expect a series featuring a new artificially random team-up every issue to be. Waaaaaaay better. And surprisingly consistent through multiple writers. More than a decade of greatness.


    Bob Haney by himself wrote it from 1966 (the point it became a Batman book) to 1979. Outrageous!

  6. #6
    The Alpha and The Omega Godlike13's Avatar
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    Morrison and Snyder's Batman stuff is great, and for the Bat-Family titles i gotta go with Dixon. Dixon's Bat-Family titles are the first comics that i started really collecting.

  7. #7
    No task too small ForeverTaskmaster's Avatar
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    Englehart/Marshall Rogers stuff.

  8. #8
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonG View Post
    I've been thinking about past runs on Bat titles and AFAIK there are not many runs that have both length and central themes / ideas (i.e. not just a collection of "random" stories by a writer who happens to stay at a title for a long time).
    (I know you said AFAIK, but) that's not really that true, is it? Milligan had a decent length run which was thematically solid. Alan Grant has great length and "central themes" in his Batwork. Devin Grayson, particularly her Nightwing and Gotham Knights were both lengthy and each had a particular set of themes and concepts that were gone over from various angles deliberately. Rucka, Brubaker, Englehart, Haney, Moench, even the O'Neill stuff isn't just a collection of random stories by someone who happened to be writing Batman; the stories may stand on their own, which they should, but there were recurring themes and developments. Miller's written thirty-some-issues' worth of Batman, though not consecutively, of course, and certainly the thematic relevance and tonal progressions are part of the attraction with each part and the whole. As a writer and editor on Detective, Archie Goodwin spent his brief time (a year? just over that?) structuring Batman thematically and narratively, and making Tec a 100 pg giant also added a larger-world sense to a character/sub-world that sometimes can come off as too insular.

    I can't think of any long run/canon that isn't replete with recurrent themes and ideas.

  9. #9
    Gotham Guardian Captain Jim's Avatar
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    Dixon's runs on Nightwing and Robin are both classic.

    I also loved Rucka's time on Batman and (to a lesser extent) Brubaker's.
    Jim Zimmerman
    Co-moderator, CBR Batman Forum

  10. #10
    Junior Member The Duke's Avatar
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    Gerry Conway's run on Batman and Detective (when they used to intersect in the 80s) was a personal favorite.

    Technically the entire run from about 1971 to 1981 was loosely thematically linked.

    Attached is a letters column from Batman 331, announcing a storyline called the Lazarus Affair that says would finish off a storyline that had been going for a decade.

    That was under two editors and four or five writers, advancing the story along.

    That makes sad thinking about how creative and forward thinking comics used to be.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Page33.jpg  
    "Mistah Joker, he dead."

  11. #11
    just does things Vil_Dee's Avatar
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    Alan Grant's run on Shadow of the Bat was awesome (he wrote most of the issues for that series).

    And if you like the artwork of Kelly Jones, the Moench/Jones run on Batman was great, had a bit of a horror vibe.

    And anything by Dixon, really.

  12. #12
    Gotham Guardian Captain Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Duke View Post
    Gerry Conway's run on Batman and Detective (when they used to intersect in the 80s) was a personal favorite.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vil_Dee View Post
    Alan Grant's run on Shadow of the Bat was awesome (he wrote most of the issues for that series).
    Yeah, I'll definitely go along with both of these.
    Jim Zimmerman
    Co-moderator, CBR Batman Forum

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Duke View Post
    Gerry Conway's run on Batman and Detective (when they used to intersect in the 80s) was a personal favorite.

    Technically the entire run from about 1971 to 1981 was loosely thematically linked.

    Attached is a letters column from Batman 331, announcing a storyline called the Lazarus Affair that says would finish off a storyline that had been going for a decade.

    That was under two editors and four or five writers, advancing the story along.

    That makes sad thinking about how creative and forward thinking comics used to be.
    You really believe that? LOL.

  14. #14
    pygophile and podophile Dr. Cheesesteak's Avatar
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    Man, I really want to read Dixon's Nightwing run. all 7 vols (or however many it was) are out of print, right? They're expensive as heck on Amazon...
    Comics were happier before the Internet turned writing superhero stories into fruitless attempts to impress/entertain a small group of ppl who appear to hate comics and their creators.
    Grant Morrison

  15. #15
    Junior Member The Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vil_Dee View Post
    Alan Grant's run on Shadow of the Bat was awesome (he wrote most of the issues for that series).

    And if you like the artwork of Kelly Jones, the Moench/Jones run on Batman was great, had a bit of a horror vibe.

    And anything by Dixon, really.
    For all the pillorying their runs gets, those three working together in the mid 90s really worked. As I think Denny put it, if Batman stubbed his toe in Batman he would rub it in Detective and be limping in Shadow of the Bat. Well, maybe not to that extreme but they did interact. It went to hell in hand basket in early 1997 after Legacy where the books all had their own continuity. As I think I've said, Vesper Fairchild was a major supporting character and love interest for Bruce in Batman but I cannot for the life of me remember her being mentioned in Detective or Shadow.

    Whether that has to do with Denny O'Neil being burnt out or as I've latterly heard Jordan Gorfinkel starting to muscle in on the editors chair I'm not sure but it did get really messy at the end of their runs.
    "Mistah Joker, he dead."

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