Book Review: DC: Batman – 85 Years of The Dark Knight

by Steve J Ray
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DC: Batman – 85 Years of The Dark Knight

DC: Batman – 85 Years of The Dark Knight is the perfect book for fans who want to start reading the Dark Knight’s adventures, or who want to own a stunning volume featuring some of the greatest and most important adventures the Caped Crusader has had over ten decades.

The stunning volume contains over 300 pages of legendary Batman tales, by some of the greatest creative teams in the character’s history. Stories from his first appearance in 1939 to the opening chapter of the legendary “Knightfall” saga from the 1990s.

Also included is a perfect reproduction of Batman #1, complete with the ads from the Golden Age period and the first appearances of The Joker and Catwoman.

This IS Batman!

As is the case with everything that The Folio Society produces, this volume is beautifully crafted, bound, and printed. The fact that the stories contained were curated by legendary publisher Jennette Kahn, who brought DC back to the forefront of comic book publishing in the ’80s and ’90s, is the perfect pointer to comics fans of the quality of content these pages contain.

When you think about legends, they’re all here. Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, Sheldon Moldoff, Dennis O’Neil, Neal Adams, Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Doug Moench, Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle, Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, and a host of stellar color artists and letterers, too.

We also get a stunning intro going through Batman’s history and evolution. The changing times and world events that helped shape the character and his creators are discussed, and luminaries from both The Folio Society and DC Entertainment provide fascinating insights.

Let’s not forget the list of villains and supporting characters! Robin, Green Arrow, Two-Face, The Joker, Catwoman, Ra’s Al Ghul, Talia, Hugo Strange, Commissioner Gordon… the list goes on.

From 40’s noir to Silver Age hijinks and Modern Age grit, this incredible book covers Batman’s eternal adaptability and capacity to grow, morph, and change with the times. Reading each story you will feel the character grow, and that’s the beauty of any collection by The Folio Society.

Rather than clean up and digitize the vintage issues DC: Batman publishes pages, scanned in the highest resolution, from original physical copies of each period. Opening this book you can almost smell the ink and newspaper stock they were originally printed on. The feeling of nostalgia this evokes is palpable.

When you get to the “Prestige Format” titles, “The Dark Knight Returns” and “The Killing Joke“, we can see how much the entire comics medium has evolved since the halcyon days of the Golden Age. These wondrous publications are no longer seen as throwaway entertainment, they’re respected as pieces of genuine art and sublime storytelling.


Whether you’ve read these stories a hundred times, or are brand new to the world of Batman and DC Comics, to have these wonderful adventures collected together in one place is an event in itself. The list of tales bound in this beautiful volume, and lovingly represented in the stunning facsimile of Batman #1, are a testament to the power and longevity of arguably the greatest comic book character of all time.

The Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight, The World’s Greatest Detective… you’ll find every aspect and version of Batman in these pages. His adventures are brought to life here by some of the greatest talents ever to work in the comics industry. This means that I have only one piece of advice.

The Folio Society has produced a collection for the ages that every Batfan should own a copy of…. so buy this book!

Images and Digital Review Copy Courtesy of The Folio Society, DC Entertainment, and Superfan Promotions

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