This year the Dark Knight celebrates his 75th birthday, and he’s never been more popular. The blockbuster Christopher Nolan movies are about to be followed up by Batman v Superman, which will no doubt rake in just as mind-bogglingly sums at the box office. The character has barely been off our screens since the nineties animated series, and will soon receive a live-action outing in the form of prequel show Gotham. In the comics, Bats is going through something of a renaissance thanks to the team of Scott Snyder on Greg Capullo, who have done an incredible job of retooling the Caped Crusader for new readers who have jumped onto the book as a result of his pop culture ubiquity. Still, even with the brilliant main Batman title and an origin story that’s so well know it’s practically a modern myth, 75 years of history can be more than a little intimidating for people who are just now getting into the comic books. Maybe they really enjoyed Christian Bale’s depiction, perhaps they caught Beware The Batman on Cartoon Network before it got shunted to the graveyard slot, they may even have come across him for the first time in the Injustice: Gods Among Us videogame. They want to get started with reading the Batman comics, but with over seven decades of material to choose from, where do they start? Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of the essential Batman stories for new readers, for people who have little to know idea of what the Dark Knight is like in his comic book incarnation. This isn’t necessarily a countdown of the best Batman stories, period, but a carefully curated selection of the single issues, story arcs and graphic novels that will give novices the best handle on the character, his extended Bat Family, his rogues gallery, his home city, and his place in the DC Universe. And it just so happens we will touch on some of the best Batman stories along the way, as well as some that are less well known. With that in mind, let’s get started with this beginner’s guide to Batman! And if there’s any other essential starting points we missed, shine the Bat signal in the comments and at the very least we’ll have Huntress come along and check it out.
10. The Court Of Owls
Recently DC Comics took the unprecedented move of completely rebooting their entire line of heroes, including Batman. So where better to start than with this new beginning, and the first story arc by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, that reintroduced old fans to the Dark Knight and made new readers just as welcome? The Court of Owls – and its sequel, City of Owls – didn’t bother going over the tragic childhood of Bruce Wayne that lead to him adopting the cowl, instead heading straight into an established crime fighter facing the toughest challenge of his career thus far. Capullo’s art is certainly stylised, but teamed with colourist FCO Plascencia he creates a dark, cold version of Gotham City instantly familiar from the Christopher Nolan films. Scott Snyder, meanwhile, focusses on Batman’s reputation as the World’s Greatest Detective as he uncovers a decades-long conspiracy that is engaging and exciting, whilst also giving us a peek into the character’s family history and building to a confrontation which reminds us that, unlike most superheroes, Bruce Wayne is only human.