My favorite books that helped me rekindle my love of Batman

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my favorite childhood pictures, circa 1967, shows me in the Batman costume I got for Christmas. And one of my sharpest memories from that time was seeing the Batmobile at a local auto show. Yes, I was a Batman fanatic, thanks to both the TV show and the comics. That passion faded somewhat as I grew older—I can’t rattle off the names of all the villains or discourse on the styles of the different artists and writers who have told his story. But having the chance to write What Is the Story of Batman taught me a lot—and helped me feel like a kid again. 

I wrote...

What Is the Story of Batman?

By Michael Burgan,

Book cover of What Is the Story of Batman?

What is my book about?

Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American philanthropist and business owner, and Batman, his crime-fighting alter ego, have been entertaining audiences since 1939. The character was so popular after appearing in Detective Comics that DC Comics decided to give Batman a comic book of his own. In doing so, they created one of the company's most successful franchises.

Here’s the history of Batman—from his tragic origin story and his infamous arch enemies—to his iconic depictions in television and movies throughout the years. This book, tailored to young readers, explores why this superhero with no superpowers is so beloved around the world.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Essential Batman Encyclopedia

Michael Burgan Why did I love this book?

Essential is right—any fan of the Caped Crusader needs this book! Greenberger is a former DC Comics editor, and his extensive research helped me rediscover characters I had forgotten about and learn about ones I had never encountered before. Along with being packed with great info, the book is filled with illustrations, including 32 full-page color covers.

By Robert Greenberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Essential Batman Encyclopedia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ultimate guide to the man behind the mask . . . and the mythology behind the man.

“Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible. . . . I shall become a bat!” So declared millionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne, orphaned as a boy by a murderous thug and driven as a man to battle the scourge of crime by becoming Batman. Batman swooped into popular culture in 1939–and for nearly seventy years has thrilled audiences in countless comics, live-action…

Book cover of Batman Unmasked: Analysing a Cultural Icon

Michael Burgan Why did I love this book?

While I wanted to know the history of Batman and all the facts and figures, I needed to know Batman’s larger cultural impact, and Brooker’s book helps provide it. He explores the different incarnations of Batman, from the comic-book page to the big screen. Brooker looks at the 1950s hysteria against comic books that targeted Batman, among others; the “camp” Batman of the 1960s TV show; and the Batman of films, from the 1989 Tim Burton version through the 1990s. Now all Brooker needs to do is update the book to include Christopher Nolan’s take on The Dark Knight! 

By William Brooker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Batman Unmasked as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An academic monograph that traces the various ways in which Batman has been interpreted over the years - by wartime film producers, gay teenagers, pop artists, Internet fan communities, and so on. Written from both an academic and a fan's perspective, is examines how a character can be a brand and a myth at the same time. The book draws on substantial research from the DC Comics archives, as well as interviews with DC editors and writers. Also included is a comprehensive Batman iconography, listing examples of how Batman has been used as a reference in other TV shows, movies,…

Book cover of Batman & Me: An Autobiography

Michael Burgan Why did I love this book?

OK, I have to say this upfront: a lot of comic-book aficionados don’t care much for Bob Kane, Batman’s co-creator. He took too much of the credit for coming up with the Caped Crusader, at the expense of writer Bill Finger. And there are details in the autobiography that seem to stretch the truth. But I wanted to get Kane’s perspective on Batman and his development over the years. As a bonus, the book has complete color reproductions of several early Batman adventures. 

By Bob Kane, Tom Andrae,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Batman & Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bob Kane's insights into Batman by Tom Andrae.

Book cover of Batman: The Complete History

Michael Burgan Why did I love this book?

Like the Greenberger book, this official history of Batman from DC Comics is essential for any fan. Unlike Kane’s book, this account gives much more credit to Bill Finger as Batman’s creator and highlights many of the writers and illustrators who followed, shaping the Caped Crusader's image over the years. The color reproductions and photos—including ones of collectibles and movie stills—alone are worth the price of this great book. 

By Les Daniels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Batman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Comprehensive overview of the Dark Kights dark past - now in pb. Now in paperback, Batman: The Complete History offers a comprehensive overview of the Dark Knight's dark past. Best-selling author Les Daniels covers the gamut - from Batman's creation and runaway success, to the 1954 accusations of Batman and Robin's homosexuality, to the campy antics of the Adam West TV show, and the emergence of Frank Miller's very disturbed and very dark Knight. Illustrated with archival comic book art and rare Batman paraphernalia and designed by Batman's biggest fan, Chip Kidd, this history aims to please the core…

Book cover of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Michael Burgan Why did I love this book?

Time to put aside the history and cultural analysis. How could I understand the modern Batman phenomenon without delving into Miller’s classic reimagining of Batman? By his own account, Miller wanted to take Batman and the whole superhero genre out of the realm of kid stuff. Boy, did he ever! This Batman has been called dark and gritty, though Miller supposedly didn’t care for that description. But there’s no question Miller’s work influenced the movies that followed. The book includes the four issues that were originally published separately. 

By Frank Miller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Batman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

It's the thirtieth anniversary of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and now DC Comics presents this classic title in a newly redesigned edition! Ten years after an aging Batman retired, Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now, when his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenaged Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face, for the final time, Batman finds himself in…

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Split Decision

By David Perlmutter,

Book cover of Split Decision

David Perlmutter Author Of The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializing in media history and speculative fiction. I have been enchanted by animation since childhood and followed many series avidly through adulthood. My viewing inspired my MA thesis on the history of animation, out of which grew two books on the history and theory of animation on television, America 'Toons In: A History of Television Animation (available from McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows (available from Rowman and Littlefield). Hopefully, others will follow.

David's book list on understanding the history of animation

What is my book about?

Jefferson Ball, the mightiest female dog in a universe of the same, is, despite her anti-heroic behavior, intent on keeping her legacy as an athlete and adventurer intact. So, when female teenage robot Jody Ryder inadvertently angers her by smashing her high school records, Jefferson is intent on proving her superiority by outmuscling the robot in a not-so-fair fight. Not wanting to seem like a coward, and eager to end her enemy's trash talking, Jody agrees.

However, they have been lured to fight each other by circumstances beyond their control. Which are intent on destroying them if they don't destroy each other in combat first...

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