Title: Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman.
Editor(s): Paul Levitz.
Creator(s): Bob Kane & Bill Finger.
Writer(s): So many!
Illustrator(s): So many!
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: March 12th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
My undying and unconditional love for Batman has only grown to inconceivable heights ever since my first encounter of the Dark Knight as a child. There was so much to love about this superhero on top of the fact that he has no superpowers to compete with Gods like Superman, The Flash or Wonder Woman. Not only is he the world’s greatest detectives à la Sherlock Holmes within a superhero universe, he simply shines with charisma in the darkest of nights with his superior intellect, detective skills, sheer willpower and a mind grounded in rationality and science. Millionaire playboy as Bruce Wayne and dedicated and resolute vigilante as Batman, his stories over the years have explored powerful, intimate, dark and dreary themes that would always easily catch my attention. The kaleidoscope of villains within Gotham City also raises the bar so high for this hero that there’s no other that can match his once humouristic and colourful world and now gritty and gloomy universe.
What is Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman about? Collecting various different stories marking Batman’s saga within his iconic Detective Comics run, this beautiful hardcover deluxe edition looks into sharing some of the most quintessential stories that have ever been published in this series in the comic book industry. From origin stories introducing emblematic heroes and villains within Batman’s universe to adventures of non-superhero characters that were printed within the Detective Comics series, editor Paul Levitz shares these memorable moments interspersed with essays from various contributors who recognize and acknowledge the influence of the Dark Knight on our culture and the individual lives of its fans. With never-before-seen stories and artwork, this celebratory volume, similar to Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman, allows fans to relive the greatness of Batman and his adventures over the years within a comic book series that went on to give the company its name (Detective Comics Comics, also known as DC Comics).
It should be noted that this collection doesn’t solely celebrate Batman’s story but the inspirations behind the hero as well as pulp fiction that highlighted various different heroes who have showcased qualities that mankind strives to propagate. While the majority of the volume does focus on the Dark Knight, his friends and his foes, it is not only his stories that are celebrated in order to fully acknowledge the impact of the Detective Comics series throughout the years. The commentary in the form of short essays is also key to this volume’s pertinence and importance as it helps illuminate the epic scale of Batman’s and this series’ influence on various other stories but also on all of its readers. One of the most interesting essays in this volume is the essay on intellectual property that recounts the unfair crediting of creator Bob Kane for both the story and the art for countless years as the real contributors are left unrecognized, such as Bill Finger and Lew Sayre Schwartz. It is only much later that the issue was fixed and credit was given where credit was due.
What should not be expected from this volume is a chronological analysis of the artwork as its main focus is on the stories rather than the art. While you can see a significant difference in artwork style as you progress through this volume, it isn’t as impressive as it could’ve been knowing that there are some iconic stories in the run that have incredible artwork but would’ve been impossible to include here without adding 300 pages or including a part of the story without context (e.g. Scott Snyder’s Batman: The Black Mirror). The stories also reflect a very humouristic and campy tone that is closer to Adam West’s Batman whilst tackling some slightly heavier themes. In fact, the various stories are sometimes over-the-top and don’t restrain themselves in realism. It isn’t, however, impossible to appreciate these stories. After all, this is the comic book series that allowed Batman to achieve the impossible over the years since his first appearance in Detective Comics #27.
Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman is a stunning and beautiful commemorative collection imbued with a nostalgic value that shares some of the greatest stories published in one of the most important comic book runs in history.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!