Where To Start Reading: Batman

Where To Start Reading Batman

Our Where To Start Reading Batman guide lists several books, each in the character’s fictional chronological order despite it’s publication date – so the first book is at the beginning of Batman’s career and we go from there. Each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

Batman: Year One

Year One 1987

Following the 1985 mega event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC rebooted many of its titles, Year One was the Batman reboot. With the success Frank Miller had received from The Dark Knight Returns just the year before he was tasked with retelling Batman’s origin. This is the modern day definite origin and starting point for all things Batman. Even today, stories are built around and pull from Miller’s 4-issue run. Also unique to Year One, it is the only Frank Miller Batman work that lives in both DC continuity and the continuity Frank Miller wrote for his other Bat-works (Dark Knight Returns, Strikes Again, and All Star Batman and Robin). Not only is Year One considered one of, if not the best Batman comic, it’s regraded by some as one of the finest ever.

What to read next | Batman: The Man Who Laughs

The Long Halloween & Dark VictoryThe Long Halloween & Dark Victory 1996 & 1999

Written to take place anywhere between six months to a-year-and-a-half after Year One the 13-issue limited series, The Long Halloween, is most notable for showing the transition of Batman’s rogues gallery starting with mobsters (specifically the Falcone family) to the more familiar villains, along with the origin story of Two-Face – who for the majority of the tale is strictly District Attorney Harvey Dent. For all intents and purposes this is Year Two. Dark Victory is it’s direct sequel, with the same creative team and finishing the story from Long Halloween along while introducing Dick Grayson.

What to read next | Batman: The Gauntlet and Robin: Year One

The Killing Joke

The Killing Joke 1988

The Killing Joke is a 1988 Alan Moore one-shot graphic novel whose story continues to affect Batman’s mythos even today. Although it plays a significant role in the Batman and DC continuity elements of it’s story are debatable, including exactly where in Batman’s career it takes place (it’s placement here is our best guess) along with a the origin for the Joker (although Alan Moore’s origin is recounted in other stories later on, in other words this is a possible origin story.). Regardless of it’s debatable elements though it remains one of the more impactful events in Batman, Joker, and Barbara Gordon’s careers and is a must read for any Batman fan.

What to read next | Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

Batman: Death In The Family

Death in the Family 1988

Death in the Family is one of the most significant stories in all of Batman’s many years of publication. Not only would the death of Jason Todd go down as one of mainstream comics biggest and most shocking moments but Jason Todd would go on to be nearly more famous and influential dead than when alive. His death would motivate and haunt Batman for years, playing it’s role in the character becoming the darker and more gritty Batman we know today. It’s style is a little dated compared to more modern comics but the creative team is legendary amongst long time fans and if you read Batman long enough, the death of Jason Todd will eventually come up.

What to read next | Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying & Robin: A Hero Reborn

Batman: KnightfallKnightfall Part 1-3 1993

Knightfall is not only important to Batman’s fictional career but also a milestone in his publication career, one of the first Batman (and not the last) large-scale crossover “events” that would spark a trend and begin the Modern Age of comic books. Published shortly after The Death Of Superman, Knightfall volumes 1-3 collect the breaking of Batman’s back by Bane, the introduction of Jean-Paul Valley as Batman (formerly Azrael) and Bruce’s return to the mantle. The story elements in the “Knightfall” event are not only substantial themselves but also had short term and long term affects that can still be felt today.

What to read next | Batman: Prodigal

Batman: Cataclysm & No Mans LandCataclysm & No Man’s Land Vol. 1-5 1999

A massive earthquake strikes Gotham and most the city is destroyed; Cataclysm catalogs the rescue efforts and chaos immediately after the quake while No Man’s Land is the 2-year saga in which the government declares Gotham a “No Man’s Land,” cutting off any access in and out of the city. Several notable events and character introductions happened during this span including Cassandra Cain (Batgirl), Luthor’s rise to president, Harley Quinn, and much more. As Batman events go this is arguably the longest running and most epic.

What to read next | Batman: Evolution – New Gotham Vol. 1 & 2

Batman: HushHush 2002

Hush was the return of Long Halloween and Dark Victory author Jeph Loeb and legendary artist Jim Lee’s first work at DC after leaving Image, most notably though it is one of the most popular and mainstream Batman arcs in the modern era. The collected edition continues to be reprinted in various ways and it’s story is revisited in the comics frequently. It introduces the villain Hush, reemphasizing the romance between Catwoman and Batman, plays a significant role in the return of Jason Todd, and allowed for Jim Lee to artistically explore the Batman universe. Just how much each Bat-fan loves the story is subjective but it’s popularity and effects on the character (both in and out of the fictional stories) can’t be denied.

What to read next | Batman: War Drums & Batman: War Games Vol. 1-3

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis 2004

Although not specifically a Batman book, the story isn’t even about Batman really, Identity Crisis (along with paving the path for Infinite Crisis, 52, and Final Crisis) would shake up the entire DC Universe and play an even more significant role in the life of Batman and the entire Batman family. It’s easily one of the most important non-Batman books that directly affects Batman. And don’t let “Crisis” in the title worry you, it’s a stand alone mystery thriller that only sets the stage for the more continuity-driven “Crisis” events. It’s also a great way to get to know characters outside of the Batman family.

What to read next | The OMAC Project

Batman and Son

Batman and Son 2006

In 2006, starting with Batman #655, Grant Morrison took over the writing duties for the main Batman title and his run on the character continues even today, it’s one of the longest runs in modern comics and his first arc is collected in Batman and Son. The book quickly introduces Batman to his child with Talia Al Ghul (Damian, who he didn’t know exsisted) along with foreshadowing and introducing the many themes and events that continued to unfold throughout Morrison’s run. Were actually in the works of a “Where to Start: Grant Morrison’s Batman” article, so keep an eye out.

What to read next | Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul

Batman Vol. 1: The Court Of Owls

(The New 52) Batman Vol. 1: The Court Of Owls 2012

In September 2011 DC relaunched their entire line of comics, 52 titles got a new #1. While the majority of the universe’s continuity was completely rebooted certain pockets were left alone, Batman and his supporting cast were one of those pockets, still got a new #1 though. And since then writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo have crafted arguably the most successful book of the relaunch and set the stage for a Batman shakeup worthy of the hype. The first six issues collected in this volume not only offer a great jumping on point for new and veteran fans alike but also sets the stage for the crossover event, The Night of the Owls, which will feed the Batman mythos with new characters and ideas for quite some time. This is the best place to start if your wanting to get caught up quickly.

What to read next | Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls is scheduled for a March 2012 release, until then catch up through the single issues.

Batman: Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns 1986

Regarded by many as the greatest Batman story of all time, Frank Miller’s 4-issue Batman arc shows us what might become of Bruce Wayne, who is 55 years old at the time of the story, comes out of retirement and back into the costume. Not only is the story considered a masterpiece within most of the comic book community but it’s also one of the many works that helped shape the modern “gritty” and “dark” Batman were more familiar with today; while Batman had been trending away from the more campy or silly stories and settings in the comics this book was an early full on jump into the deep end of the gritty noir/crime genre. And although strictly out of continuity it offers an interesting future for Batman and his supporting cast which is hinted at every so often in regular continuity.

What to read next | The Dark Knight Strikes Again

If you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment and we’ll try to help you out. Until then, happy reading!


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112 Comments

  1. Grizzleybruin says:

    Absolutely amazing list! Love the fact that you added identity crisis & hush……both great arcs, but the detective quotient alone makes them worth reading.

  2. Stephen McMillan says:

    Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou! I would never have known were to start otherwise. I am almost through reading Dark Victory, after reading Year One, The man who laughs and The Long Halloween, I am now completely hooked on Batman (though he’s been my favourite Comic Book hero for years).

  3. Airts says:

    So after redding dark knight strikes again what do we read? Do you start with the new 52

    • Once you’ve read all these I’d say your good to venture pretty much anywhere in the Batman world – you should be able to tell where things line up, if not ask here or hit up the internet.

  4. Zkifi says:

    Thanks for the great article!
    I’m now working my way through these great books, but like the previous commenter, I’m concerned where to go next? I’m not that familiar with the batman chronology, so what should I read when I finish Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul? TDK Returns is alternative continuum, so don’t really see that as a stepping stone to anywhere… Great piece although.

    Bruce’s “death”, Dick as a Batman, Bruce is back. All what i know beforehand sounds very confusing to me…

    • I’m currently working on a “Where To Start Reading: Grant Morrison’s Batman” which would answer your question. But to help a brother out real quick the next book after Resurrection of Ra’s would be Batman: The Black Glove (VERY good).

  5. Juan says:

    thank you so much, but what should i read after the las one?

    • Since the last book suggested is supposed to be a sort of “the last Batman story ever” it’s kinda up to you. However, Frank Miller wrote a prequel to his Dark Knight series called All Star Batman and Robin. It never finished but the first volume is out there and it’s a great read (at least I think so) so I’d go there.

    • Sebastien says:

      I suggest the Batman Black & White
      Those are short stories with multiple storytellers and styles.
      I Just loved those new bosses and styles. It would stand alone ?after Hush? maybe?

  6. Jasper says:

    I don’t undertstand something you put the title of the novel, give it a description and then put a what to read next. Am I to read that novel next and then read the next novel you are describing. Example Batman Year One – Batman the Man Who Laughs – Batman The Long Halloween and Dark victory? Plz answers this question cause I don’t want to make any mistakes if I start buying these novels.

    • Jasper -

      These are meant to be one big reading order highlighting which books we think are both a) essential and b) stand alone good places to jump on. So in the example of Batman: Year One, the next book in the exact reading order is The Man Who Laughs, but if you just want to jump to the ‘ten best-ish Batman books to start reading’ you’d get to The Long Halloween.

      There are gaps between all of the books we highlighted (wrote about), so we’ve put the “What to read next” suggestion as a book that kinda fills that gap.

      Hope that makes sense. I’ll look at our structure and make sure we explain further. Thanks!

      • Jasper says:

        Ok I understand that so if I got Batman Year One, I would then get Batman The Man Who Laughs and then get Batman The Long Holloween and Dark Victory? Am I right or have I still made a mistake?

  7. @ Jasper

    Yup. There are lots of books that fill the gap between Year One and Long Halloween, The Man Who Laughs is just a) the absolute next book after Year One and b) the most significant between Year One and Long Halloween.

    The point of spacing the books out rather than giving a ordered list of every batman book ever is to point out the most significant ones; so while there are more than 10/20 Batman books these are the most significant, in the right order, from start to finish.

  8. James says:

    Firstly thanks for putting this together. So helpful.
    I’m starting to get why comics are so confusing for the uninitiated though… I swear reading in order… that Two Face shouldn’t be in Robin: Year One… and yet there he is! What the heck, haha. I guess just because comics are in the same cannon there are still inconsistencies?

    • Nail on head. Comics can even be confusing for long time readers. I think you just have to take everything in stride and decide that it isn’t always going to make sense and just take everything for what it is – a cool adventure.

  9. ComicNewbie says:

    Hey man, this is really awesome. I have always wanted to start reading comics but never did because I didnt know where to start. So thank you very much

  10. david says:

    Read them all…never reallt thought about making a list of what you need to read to better enjoy the rest kind a list great job and perfect batman selections.

  11. Rigormortis says:

    You should add The Killing Joke right after The Man Who Laughs since it’s set directly afterwards. When Batman goes to Arkham at the start of Killing Joke, it’s supposed to be just after he’s ever caught Joker for the first time. His first encounter with Joker takes place in The Man Who Laughs, which put The Killing Joke immediately afterwards. Awesome list.

    • I’ve always thought the Killing Joke is one of those stories that lives in continuity purgatory. I mean, we see Harvey Dent locked up at the start of Killing Joke, something that doesn’t happen till after Long Halloween/Dark Victory. And it’s implied that Joker and Batman have known each other for quite some time.

      I’ve just always thought it’s actual place in continuity isn’t as important as the event itself.

  12. Martin says:

    Great list!

    But what to read after the Dark Knight strikes again?

    Is there something important between this and RIP and Battle for the Crowl?

  13. Tress33 says:

    Hey John, I just wanted to quickly say thank you AND damn you for your list. I recently jumped back into comics with the New 52 launch. I figured that sense I was jumping back in and Batman was always my favorite that I should try and do justice to a Batman collection. I say thank you because this list is amazing and has reignited my love for Batman and comics in general. I say damn you because I keep spending too much money on comics! Haha. Great list and great website!

    • Hahaha, thanks! Comics and money are unfortunately the closest of friends/worst enemies…just ask my starving wife.

      (disclaimer: I feed my family, I promise. lol)

  14. Elliott H says:

    Hey, i’ve just read Batman Year One, but where it says you should read ‘Batman Gauntlet and Robin Year One’ are they two comics/books or are they together as one title?

    • Stephen says:

      Robin Year One is a trade paperback (ISBN 978-1-56389-805-1). Batman Gauntlet is a separate TP (ISBN 978-1563893643).

  15. Erin says:

    Thank you so much for making this list! I’ve read a few books here and there but had no idea how I should read them to get Batman’s story in more or less chronological order. Thanks again!

  16. Li Hei Bao says:

    I noticed Batman Year Two didn’t make the list. Any reason why? Year 3 was supplanted by Dark Victory, but thought Year Two would fit nicely.

    • John Barringer says:

      Batman: Year Two was written out of continuity in Zero Hour and does have the kind of impact these stories do. Also, Batman: The Man Who Laughs was written to take place directly after Year One.

  17. Jeff says:

    Thanks for this site. I have wanted to jump into Batman comics for a while, but I had no idea where to start. Just to clarify:

    We should read the featured titles, the ones listed underneath, and then move on to the next featured title?

    Thanks again for the help.

    • John Barringer says:

      All the featured books are our “must reads” and they are in order, the “What to read next” books are minor suggestions to read right after the featured books but aren’t crucial.

      • Jeff says:

        Thanks for the response. I noticed you answered this already, and I apologize for asking the same question again. I went ahead and ordered Year 1 and The Man Who Laughs this morning. I’ve wanted to start reading for a while, so I appreciate this blog. I’m going to bookmark it to for the future. Thanks again John.

  18. Aoi Kurenai says:

    This is a pretty awesome list, great job! I’ve always been looking for a fairly comprehensive means of getting into Batman that isn’t just reading every single issue from the modern era. I’ll definitely be reading these, thanks!

    • John Barringer says:

      Yeah, it can be pretty intense trying to figure out where to hop on and whats the most important, we tried to break it down for yah. Hope you like em!

  19. Theo Meyer says:

    Does this cover the whole series of the Batman comics

  20. Nope, just the best places we suggest to start. :-)

  21. James Farrar says:

    Hi John..What do you make of ‘The Joker’ by Brian Azzarello story? Is it worth picking up? cheers!

  22. Masi says:

    Hey John, still planning that Grant Morrisons Batman guide? I’d really like to start going through Morrisons works before starting to read the Court of the Owls.

  23. Jeff says:

    John – I just wrapped “The Man Who Laughs”, and they combined “Made of Wood” afterwards. It doesn’t seem to fit the order though. Gordon seems much older, and I was just curious about that. I’m going to break the bank buying all these!

    • Bruce says:

      I wouldn’t have read “Made of Wood”. After finishing “The Man Who Laughs” you should just put the book down, lol.

      • Lol, I think “Made Of Wood” was put in there because it was another work of Brubaker’s and why not include something already written so you can up the price of the book? lol. It’s not a bad read – just kind thrown in there that’s all.

  24. Ufuk says:

    Thanks for your suggests John. I want ask a question: do you suggest “Vengeance of Bane” for “Knightfall” and “Trail of Catwoman” after/earlier to “Batman:Year One”?

  25. Jack Marlowe says:

    Great list. There should be Gotham Central and Kingdom Come somewhere too.

    • Both EXCELLENT reads. Not really core to Batman (in fact, the exclusion of Batman in Gotham Central was intentional and one of it’s strong suits) but core perhaps to the Batman mythos.

  26. Carson says:

    I just want to know where the picture is from at the top of this article.

  27. Drakul says:

    Very nice list.
    I’d had Venom for a bit more insight into Knightfall and Batgirl Year One otherwise the Killing Joke deosn’t really have any impact.

    • I think The Killing Joke is pretty impact all by itself, one of the reasons it’s stood the test of time perhaps, but you are right that Batgirl: Year One is a great read for any Barbara fan.

      Same with Venom and Bane.

  28. Taymerica says:

    “And since then writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo have crafted arguably the most successful book of the relaunch and set the stage for a Batman shakeup worthy of the hype.” – I enjoyed your article, but completely disagree. Snyder’s doing some crazy things with Bruce, first of all he’s only 5-ish years into being Batman.. ridiculous. Also according to this first arc, he’s barely a detective.. It’s brutal. He is way too average and makes way too many mistakes. The court of owls don’t even make sense, how did Bruce not know about them? Why did Bruce trust his childish instinct and not believe they existed? Why did a team of rich people get the better of Bruce, a richer person himself. How did the court claim Gotham so quickly, it is Bruce’s city? Yet most importantly, how did they beat Bruce so badly. Assassins? Bruce can handle, Rich people? Bruce has got it… Rich people hiring assassins? No problem.. There wasn’t even anyone smart behind it all. It was just rich people and assassins and Bruce was left almost dead in a maze.. Just completely ridiculous. All Snyder has done is revisit all of Morrison’s key points from his run and made them less epic and worse. Rich people, Thomas Wayne/family member, and a drugged and beaten down Batman. Snyder should not be having this much creative freedom being a new writer on Batman.. In fact this whole reboot is going terribly considering the other titles as well. Personally I think they should have just bargained with Siegel and Shuster, rather than reinvent all the characters for this whole New 52 coverup for copyright purposes..

    • It’s true that there are holes in Synder’s Batman run (some of which I’ve discussed in my reviews) but you can’t argue with the sales numbers, it is one of the most successful comics on the relaunch.

  29. Brandon says:

    I had a question about The Gauntlet comic. I’ve finished Year One, The Long Halloween and Dark Victory. I’m about to move onto The Gauntlet. However, I wanted to ask: Since The Gauntlet is part of the Chronicles series, should I read all of the Chronicles? Or JUST The Gauntlet?

    • Bruce says:

      Honestly, you don’t have to read “The Gauntlet” at all. I’d read it if I were you because it’s a pretty cool story and I’d assume the reason John put it in there is because it’s the story that connects Grayson being this little kid who helped Batman out to being Robin. In it, Robin officially becomes Batman’s sidekick.

  30. Brandon says:

    Okay John, I’ve read Batman: The Gauntlet and TRIED to move onto Arkham Asylum: Serious House on a Serious Earth, but I just don’t think it was for me. Anyhow, I’ve continued on through your list and started Batman: A Death in the Family. I was wondering though, on the first few pages the book introduces Robin as Jason Todd. However, from your list; we never saw a “Departure” so to speak of Dick Grayson. Last we saw in Robin: Year One; Grayson was SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER teamed up with Batman yet again. Are we just supposed to assume we know what happened to him?

    • Yah know – that is a good hole in my list. I mean, this is a “Batman” list and the death of Jason Todd was much more of an event than the switch between Dick and Jason and as far as Batman goes he still had a Robin, it was just a different one, but you’re right, the change between the two was never noted.

      Yah know, I think I’d rather do a “Batman and Robin” list rather than make this list any longer (as it is supposed to be a simple list) but great catch and you’ve inspired me!

    • Bruce says:

      Brandon, if you’re really interested in bridging the gap between the two, check out Nightwing: Year One. It shows the transition from Dick to Todd.

  31. Kirin says:

    So I have one quick question, the dark victory introduces dick Grayson as a kid robin, and then the killing joke as no robin, and then a death in the family jumps right to Jason todd as robin, is there a novel that shows dick Grayson becoming nightwing? Or a novel introducing Jason Todd?

  32. Herafk says:

    Damn, it seems John isn’t checking out the comments in this article anymore, even though it was re-posted a while ago.

    If you do get answer John, I have one question: I heard Dan Didio had said that no “Crisises” happened in the new DC universe(Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis), but does it account for Identity Crisis too?

    It kind of feels that The New 52 made it even more confusing to get into comics instead of making it easier.

    • I think the New 52 made it easier, it’s going to be hard to fix comic book continuity no matter what you do.

      But yes, I too have heard that no “Crisis” events “happened.” Which leaves Identity Crisis in question. I’ve not been reading enough of New 52-Tim Drake but I imagine whether or not his father in alive would be a good place to start.

      Batman wasn’t supposed to be touched all that much, so I say it still counts. At least in my own head.

  33. Si says:

    Hey John,

    I just purchased Batman: Year One – thanks for the article.

    I do still have some questions though.

    I’m still confused about the order of comics and if they all stories coincide with each other or if they don’t add up.

    From my understanding DC introduced Batman in ’39, then the following year released his own comic. I would have thought that would have just continued to this day and that would be it. 1 comic, 1 story, regular updates. But I see other comics etc with different orders of the story released in random years and I just don’t get it. I just want to understand overall, how the system works. Your list is great for a newbie like me, but after that I get through this, where do I go? I’d just be really confused.

    Anyway, hope you can get back to me and thanks again.

    Si

    • Bruce says:

      Si,
      I’m not John but I can answer that question for you. There have been many varying stories to the Batman name. They all contain more or less the same basic properties (Batman, Bruce Wayne, Gotham City, various characters, etc) but the story arc varies from different ones. This list mainly consists of the most promenant story elements in the Batman lore put into a sensible order. It isn’t exact and there are thousands of issues you wont read in this list but this will essentially tell you everything you need to know and it is in a decent chronological order. I would make the suggestion to add Batman Beyond to the end of the list but other than that, it’s a damn good starting point for new readers.

      • @Si, Bruce is correct. Reading Batman in complete publishing and continuity order is nearly impossible considering all the different creators and re-boots/relaunches that have taken place in the last 75+ years. This is merely an easy-to-understand list of anyone getting started. I think if you’ve completed this list you probably have a good idea of where anything falls – so just pick anything up and try it out.

  34. Haider says:

    Great list, helped me out a lot, just one thing though, right before batman and son, is another issue, Batman: Son of demon, one in which they show batman’s love with talia blossoming and stuff

  35. Julie says:

    Thanks a lot for these suggestions, just what I was looking for! :)

  36. nica says:

    Nightwing- year 1 fits perfectly before the killing joke! It portrays the exit of dick as Robin and the introduction of Jason Todd. Barbara Gordon can still run around, therefore it can´t happen before a death in the family, so i assume that jason todds absence in the killing joke and arkham asylum only means he´s still training back at the bat-cave!

    • Bruce says:

      And you could probably throw Batgirl: Year One in front of Nightwing: Year One also if you really want to get into it since she’s in Nightwing and Killing Joke.

      • “continuity elements of it’s story are debatable, including exactly where in Batman’s career it takes place”

        The Killing Joke I’ve always thoughts is one of those books floating in continuity purgatory. But your right, both Year One fit in front of it.

  37. Bruce says:

    Does anyone know if Tim Drake’s Robin is featured in Batman: Sword of Azrael?

    • Gavin says:

      While Bruce was in Europe during Sword of Azrael, Tim stayed back in Gotham getting into trouble with the Huntress and the Russian mob in the mini-series Robin III: Cry of the Huntress.

  38. Shane says:

    Thanks! This was a lot of help.

    I actually started reading Batman with the KnightFall/KnightQuest/KnightsEnd Series. And what stands out to me is how the story line weaves in and out of Batman, Detective Comics, Shadow of the Bat, etc.

    I’d be interested in reading the New 52 Batman stuff, but will I constantly have to buy comics from across titles in order to follow a story?

    • John Barringer says:

      The Knightfall/KightQuest/KnightsEnd series was a crossover, meaning it spanned several different series. The New 52 Batman did that to a smaller degree with Night Of The Owl recently but the main story stayed in the Batman title, if you want to just buy that you’ll be fine. Although, I’d also suggest Batman and Robin as that is killer right now.

  39. Angus Cunnngham says:

    is it essential to read Batman: The Gauntlet and Robin: Year One or can i move straight on to to the killing joke from dark victory ….

  40. Brad Carmichael says:

    I’ve just finished reading Knightfall series, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and am now going to backtrack to Year One & read through. I was curious as I was looking at your list aside from Arkham and Batman & Son, you don’t have any Grant Morrison. Do they fall outside the canon?
    It’s a great list & thanks for your effort!

    • I’m working on a “Where To Start” for Grant Morrison’s Batman (taking me forever, sorry) but no, they do not fall outside of cannon (although with the New 52 continuity who knows).

      I don’t think Morrison’s Arkham is essential. I mentioned it as a suggestion for something to read after The Killing Joke but on a streamlined list of books to get readers started on some Batman I didn’t think Arkham was a must read. I do suggest reading it though.

  41. Raff says:

    Hi! I just bought BATMAN VS BANE. I want to know where does it fit in order of your reading list?

    • Raff says:

      Hey John! I just bought BANE VS BATMAN. I just would like to know what comic books should i read before BANE VS BATMAN and what should i read after. Where does it fit in order of your suggested list. And lastly, do you know what i should buy where it features the origin of batman and his training into becoming batman?

      • Gavin says:

        I’m not John but maybe I can help since I just bought that book as well to finish my collection. Batman VS Bane is complicated because it combines 2 books (Vengeance of Bane/Bane of the Demon) that were separated by 4 years of stories in between them but I’ll try to make it simple. On John’s list the first story, Vengeance of Bane, fits in right before Knightfall and the second story, Bane of the Demon comes after Batman: Prodigal. The books I would suggest before reading Bane VS Batman are: Batman: Sword of Azrael #1-4. Then after that you should read the first story of Bane Vs Batman (Vengeance of Bane) which leads into:

        Batman #489-490 (Part of the build up to Knightfall)
        Batman: Knightfall
        Batman: Knightquest
        Batman: Knightsend
        Batman: Prodigal (not necessary but still great)
        Batman Vengeance of Bane II: The Redemption

        The second story in Bane VS Batman (Bane of the Demon) takes place after Vengeance of Bane II and is a build up to the crossover Batman:Legacy but that book is very rare and hard to find now with copies going for $70 or higher online so you can just wikipedia that story.

        WHEW, that was not as easy to explain as I thought it would be!

        The best book that explains Batman’s origin is Batman: Year One. As for his training, there’s not really any specific books that I know off the top of my head (maybe John knows!) but I would suggest picking up “The Batman Chronicles” trade paperbacks which collect all his early comic appearances from Detective Comics and Batman.

  42. Andrew says:

    Are Two Face: Year One and Scarcrow: Year One worth reading and where do they fit in the chronology?

    (There’s also a Ra’s al Ghul Year One but the reviews seem pretty poor).

  43. Brad Carmichael says:

    I was wondering, are the Bruce Wayne: Murderer & Batman: Fugitive line worth picking up? It doesn’t appear it really does much for the Batman mythos.

    • Gavin says:

      You can skip over those books since they don’t add to the mythos and were forgotten soon after. The only thing they contributed was the character Sasha Bordeaux who plays a prominent figure in the OMAC Project mini-series.

  44. Jaff says:

    So can I read the main ones in any order? So for example, can I read Year One, then Knightfall?

  45. Tomor says:

    Is it ok if I skip Dark Victory?

  46. Harkaran says:

    Do you know where i can get Batman: The Gauntlet?

  47. Gunga says:

    Awsome list, thought there is the transition between Dick Grayson to Jason Todd as Robin missing. I think “Nightwing: Year One” would do the job.

  48. Drakul says:

    Can’t disagree with this list :)
    For added reading I’d put The Man Who Laughs, A lonely Place of Dying, Bruce Wayne Murderer/Fugitive, Under the Hood…

  49. Kate says:

    I would read The Killing Joke before The Man Who Laughs. They both feature Red Hood and reference the origin story. Great list.

  50. Kate says:

    It’s pretty expensive on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even half.com. Check you local library. Even if your local library doesn’t have it they can most likely borrow it through interlibrary or intralibrary loan. Libraries are great resources for old comics and graphic novels to save you a pretty penny.

  51. Floobersman says:

    So if I also wanted to watch the Batman Animated Series, when does that take place?

    • Gavin says:

      It would take place before, during and after the Batman: The Long Halloween and Dark Victory books since some of the characters on the show were already established (Joker, Penguin) while other characters had origin episodes like Two-face, Dick Grayson, Poison Ivy and Mad Hatter.

  52. Zack says:

    Quick question. If I were to read banes vengance where should I do that in this list?

  53. Guy says:

    Hi John

    Fantastic work with this blog – it’s really helped me piece together the various often disconnected reading that I’ve done over the years!

    One question for you: I’ve recently acquired a copy of ‘Batman: Haunted Knight’ (Loeb/Sale) and wondered where you would say that it fits within your chronology? e.g. Anywhere near The Long Halloween/Dark Victory, or somewhere else?

    Many thanks
    G

  54. Gavin says:

    Batman: Vengeance of Bane goes right before the KNIGHTFALL books.

  55. James says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say thanks for creating this, very helpful. The Grant Morrison list sounds great too, is this still coming? Thanks

  56. steve says:

    hey thanks for putting this together! sorry if I missed something but I was just wondering in what order i’m suppose to read. Never read any comics but recently heard about the Scott Snyder stories so should I start with court of owls? i have volumes 1-3, i’m so confused with there being this owl series then seeing batman #00-15 etc in his works list, cant seem to figure out in which order exactly i’m suppose to follow thanks!

  57. Mustafa Nguyen says:

    After reading robin year one do I just jump into the killing joke?

  58. Luiz says:

    do any of these books have the first time that the 2nd and third robin first came into the story and became the next robin???

  59. Cameron says:

    After Rovin Year one read Batgirl Year One and then Nightwing Year One, followed by the Killing Joke(which I thinks the poorest in the series).

    This list was helpful in getting me started, but you should do some research of your own. Alot of gaps are filled in within other series’. In the case of Batman, very big moments are told in Batgirl and Nightwing comics. If you feel you’ve missed something small that isn’t worth a whole comic series, try a wiki page for a synopsis to fill in blanks.

  60. handleyboy says:

    First of great list ive been wanting to start reading batman comics for a while now.

    Ive read Batman year one and just finished The man who laughs which i really enjoyed.

    I have Batman long halloween and Dark victory on the way to me as we speak, i was thinking of using my ipad to read comics but i think most will agree you cant beat the feel of the pages in your hands and a good colletion of comics on your shelf just looks nice .

    • handleyboy says:

      found a great way to fill in the blanks without spending loads of money.
      you can download nightwing year one and robin year one from dc comics app on ipad, saves u spending 50-60 on it when u can dl for slightly under a tenner

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John Barringer is the founder & head editor of acomicbookblog.com and will update his bio soon since right now it's really boring.