“Detective Comics #1,027” celebrates 1000 issues of Batman

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Courtesy of DC Comics

DC’s recent Batman anthology looks at the character through through various lenses and time periods.

Shreyas Banerjee, A&E Editor

Who doesn’t know Batman? 

Since he splashed onto the comic book scene in 1939, Batman has defined the image of the superhero as he transitioned from the pulp hero during the ‘30s and ‘40s, a wacky space adventurer in the ‘50s, a swashbuckling crusader during the ‘60s and ‘70s, a ruthless avenger during the ‘80s and 90s and a family man during the 2000s and 2010s. As we embark on another decade of Batman, a major milestone has been reached in the character’s publication history. 

Batman, or “The Bat-Man” as he was then known, made his first appearance in the 27th issue of “Detective Comics,” the series that DC Comics is named after, created by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane. And now, over 80 years later, DC has hit issue #1,027, marking the 1,000 issue anniversary of Batman. To celebrate, DC has released a massive anthology issue, collecting new short stories from all-star Batman creators. DC pulled a similar move when celebrating the 1,000th issue of “Detective Comics” last March, which ended up being the highest selling comic book of 2019, so it’s understandable they would do a similar issue for this celebration.

Legacy and new Batman creators joined together for this 144 page anthology, consisting of 11 short stories depicting Batman through various lenses and time periods. From showing Batman’s intellect as a detective, whittling his way down the list of villains who could’ve captured him, in a story written by Peter Tomasi, the writer of the acclaimed 2011-2015 series “Batman and Robin” and current writer of “Detective Comics,” to a piece analyzing the changing, yet enduring, relationship between Batman and the Joker by Matt Fraction, a writer new to Batman. 

Other highlights include a story from Commissioner James Gordon’s perspective, written by Scott Snyder, who wrote the main “Batman” title from 2011 to 2015, as he sees Batman’s cosmic adventures with the Justice League and reflects on their partnership. There is another great piece, written by Tom King, where the possible death of Batman is depicted with a story on how loss and hope pervade Batman’s character. Another highlight came from Brian Michael Bendis, the current writer of Superman and writer of the 2019 story “Batman: Universe,” as he depicts the entire “Bat-Family” solving a case together. It shows how Batman has really evolved from the brooding loner to a family man who surrounds himself with sidekicks like Robin, Batgirl and Nightwing. 

Not everything was a hit, however. Pieces by Marv Wolfman, the longtime classic Teen Titans writer, and James Tynion IV, the current writer of “Batman,” did not have as big an impact, and the “Generations” story that was connected to a now-cancelled reboot just seems out of place. 

Overall though, the anthology issue showcases the best of Batman, jampacking everything that people love about the character into one issue.Though Batman’s origins lie in comics, most people’s main exposure to him was probably not in that medium. Batman movies rake in hundreds of millions of dollars whenever they’re released and popular TV shows with him as the main character have been released consistently since the ‘90s. Now another Batman film, starring Robert Pattinson, is on the horizon with a 2021 release date. 

All the while, though, comic book sales keep declining and declining. 

Whether there will be another 1,000 issues of Batman is hard to tell, especially with DC Comics facing massive layoffs and the comic book market becoming increasingly niche, even as superhero media becomes more popular. Whether or not Batman comics continue to be published over the next 80 years, it is safe to say Batman has a long future ahead of him. 

Hopefully, the Dark Knight will continue to entertain and inspire generations to come.