Best Batman Graphic Novels of All Time

In the spirit of two of our most popular features, Best Spider-Man Stories of All Time and Best X-Men Stories of All Time , we now set our sights on arguably today’s most popular superhero, Batman. Batman has always been a widely read character in comics, and is also the one most prominently read in graphic novel form. So, we now bring our “Best Of” ranking process to this icon and present to you the Best Batman Graphic Novels of All Time. We went with “Best Batman Graphic Novels” instead of stories this time to reflect the better wealth of source material for the former.

The methodology regarding these rankings is the same as we used in our previous “Best of All Time” lists; we search the web for similar lists, aggregate them using a points based system to put all on equal footing, though with two tiers of influence (Publications weigh in higher than fan lists). Points are awarded to each book depending on its rank as well for the number of appearances (For example, a book ranked 1st would get 25 points for its rank and 1 point for its appearance, giving it 26 points total for its appearance on a list, giving a slight advantage to books with broader consensus.)

Now, on to the list of the Best Batman Graphic Novels of All Time!

Top 25 Best Batman Graphic Novels

Best Batman Graphic Novels : The Runner Ups

The first books are often cited, though there is definitely no consensus regarding these book as being the best, and their ranking could be slightly controversial.

25. Batman: Nine Lives

best batman graphic novels nine livesWritten by: Dean Motter
Art by: Michael Lark

The first entry on this list is an alternate reality tale, one of many to be found on this list of best Batman graphic novels. This particular one features, if you haven’t already guessed, Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman. The twist in this Batman reality is that the setting is the 1940’s, and the style is Noir.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Nine Lives (BUY)

24. Batman: Thrillkiller

best batman graphic novel thrillkillerWritten by: Howard Chaykin
Art by: Dan Brereton

Already another alternate universe story, very popular among this list of best Batman graphic novels, Batman: Thrillkiller is an Elseworlds graphic novel featuring Robin and Batgirl.  It is also another period piece, though this time the year is 1961.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Thrillkiller (BUY)

23. Batman: Gothic

best batman graphic novel gothicWritten by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Klaus Janson

This graphic novel is actually a trade paperback composed of a run of Legends of the Dark Knight comic books. Grant Morrison adds to Bruce Wayne’s origins here all the while telling a compelling tale.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Gothic (BUY)

Collected From:
Legends of the Dark Knight #6 (BUY)
Legends of the Dark Knight #7 (BUY)
Legends of the Dark Knight #8 (BUY)
Legends of the Dark Knight #9 (BUY)
Legends of the Dark Knight #10 (BUY)

22. Batman Adventures: Mad Love

Written by: Paul Dini
Art by:
Bruce Timm

Though it is not always on everyone’s list of best Batman graphic novels, there is definitely consensus for this being the best from the animated series universe. This issue features fan favorite Harley Quinn and her origin.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman Adventures: Mad Love (BUY)

21. Batman: Strange Apparitions

Written by: Steve Englehart, Len Wein, Marshall Rogers

Collected from a Detective Comics run from the 70’s, this graphic novel represents the era well. It features many main villains, such as the Joker, and is all in all a very intriguing read.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Strange Apparitions (BUY)

Collected From:
Detective Comics #469 (BUY)
Detective Comics #470 (BUY)
Detective Comics #471 (BUY)
Detective Comics #472 (BUY)
Detective Comics #473 (BUY)
Detective Comics #474 (BUY)
Detective Comics #475 (BUY)
Detective Comics #476 (BUY)
Detective Comics #477 (BUY)
Detective Comics #478 (BUY)
Detective Comics #479 (BUY)

20. Batman: Strange Apparitions

Written by: Marv Wolfman, George Perez
Art by: Jim Aparo, Tom Grummet

This graphic novel, contrary to many on this list, is very much an in-continuity book, which features the installment of the third Robin.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying (BUY)

Collected From:
Batman #440 (BUY)
New Teen Titans #60 (BUY)
Batman #441 (BUY)
New Teen Titans #61 (BUY)
Batman #442 (BUY)

19. Batman: Black and White

Written by: Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman
Art by: Jim Lee, Joe Kubert

Another of multiple Eisner Award winning books which certainly deserves to be on the list of best Batman graphic novels, this novel features many short stories by some of the best creators in the industry.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Black and White (BUY)

18. Batman: Year 100


Written and Art by: Paul Pope

This is yet again another alternate universe “period” piece, this time set much further in the future.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Year 100 (BUY)

17. Batman: The Man Who Laughs

best batman graphic novels
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Art by: Doug Mahnke

The Man Who Laughs is in part a continuation of the Year One story featuring Batman’s first encounter with the Joker.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: The Man Who Laughs (BUY)

16. Batman: Knightfall Part One – Broken Bat


Written by: Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon
Art by: Jim Aparo, Graham Nolan, Norm Breyfogle, Jim Balent

Perhaps the most controversial entry on this list, Knightfall collects the issues that feature the high-profile event of Bane breaking Batman’s back. It does features a good number of villains, but is mostly on this list because of the event rather than being one great, condensed story.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Knightfall Part One – Broken Bat (BUY)

Collected From:
Batman #492 (BUY)
Detective Comics #659 (BUY)
Batman #493 (BUY)
Detective Comics #660 (BUY)
Batman #494 (BUY)
Detective Comics #661 (BUY)
Batman #495 (BUY)
Detective Comics #662 (BUY)
Batman #496 (BUY)
Detective Comics #663 (BUY)
Batman #497 (BUY)

Best Batman Graphic Novels: Common Favorites

The next batch are much more commonly found in best Batman graphic novels lists, and achieve what would be much closer to a consensus in this regards, though they do not appear at the top of said lists.

15. Batman: Tales of the Demon

best batman graphic novels tales of the demonWritten by: Dennis O’Neil

This collection of stories reprints the comics from the 1970’s detailing Batman’s relationship with Rha’s Al Ghul, also known as being the villain in the Batman Begins movie. The stories are sporadic, as the issues aren’t consecutive, so other storylines get mixed into this arc.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Tales of the Demon (BUY)

Collected From:
Detective Comics #411 (BUY)
Batman #232 (BUY)
Batman #235 (BUY)
Batman #240 (BUY)
Batman #242 (BUY)
Batman #243 (BUY)
Batman #244 (BUY)
DC Special Series #15 (BUY)
Detective Comics #485 (BUY)
Detective Comics #489 (BUY)
Detective Comics #490 (BUY)

14. Batman: Son of the Demon

best batman graphic novels son of the demon
Written by: Mike W. Barr
Art by: Jerry Bingham

Aptly following the “Tales of the Demon” graphic novel, this book continues Batman’s relationship with Rha’s al Ghul and his daughter, Talia.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Son of the Demon (BUY)

13. Batman: Dark Victory

best batman graphic novels dark victory
Written by: Jeph Loeb
Art by: Tim Sale

A sequel to the acclaimed “The Long Halloween” (one of the best of the best Batman graphic novels, which we will undoubtedly be getting to later), Dark Victory is known to be a worthy successor. It contains many of Batman’s well-known villains and has a special role for Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent/Two-Face, reminiscent of the dynamic at the end of The Dark Knight movie.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Dark Victory (BUY)

12. Batman: Blind Justice

best batman graphic novels blind justice

Written by: Sam Hamm

Sam Hamm, a screenwriter for the first Tim Burton Batman movie, delivers this graphic novel which looks into a traitor within Wayne Entreprises. It is notable for introduction Henri Ducard, first introduced in the Batman Begins movie, into the comics, though his role here is not the draw, but more so the great overall story.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Blind Justice (BUY)

11. JLA: Tower of Babel

best batman graphic novels tower of babelWritten by: Mark Waid

The only Team book to appear on this list of best Batman graphic novels, this Justice League book focuses very much so on Batman and features Rha’s al Ghul, a popular villain on this list.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
JLA: Tower or Babel (BUY)

Collected From:
JLA #43 (BUY)
JLA #44 (BUY)
JLA #45 (BUY)
JLA #46 (BUY)

10. Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

Written by: Brian Augustyn
Art by: Mike Mignola & P. Craig Russell

We return to the Elseworlds category as the top 10 best Batman graphic novels begin with Gotham by Gaslight. Actually, this is considered the first Elseworlds trade paperback. We head back to the Victorian era in this book as he battles none other than Jack the Ripper.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (BUY)

9. Batman: The Cult

Written by: Bernie Wrightson

This tale comes from the 80’s era of Batman by horror author Bernie Wrightson. It depicts Batman battling a charismatic cult leader. While not a particular milestone event, the story itself is great enough to get this book included among the best Batman graphic novels.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: The Cult (BUY)

8. Batman: A Death in the Family

Written by: Jim Starlin

Much like the death of Gwen Stacy had nearly as deep an impact on Spider-Man’s motivation, so too does the second Robin Jason Todd’s death has on Batman. In fact, both heroes have their origin motivated by the death of their “parents”, and yet these deaths are almost more important to their motivations, as they happened during their tenure as superheroes. In the 1980’s, DC set up a hotline to allow readers to choose what would happen to Jason Todd, and lo and behold they voted to off him. Regardless of the story, the events of this book are a major milestone in Batman lore, claiming its place among the best Batman graphic novels.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: A Death in the Family (BUY)

Collected From:
Batman #426 (BUY)
Batman #427 (BUY)
Batman #428 (BUY)
Batman #429 (BUY)

7. Batman and Dracula: Red Rain

best batman graphic novels red rainWritten by: Doug Moench

The first of three parts, this is truly a fan favorite that takes the premise of Batman vs. Dracula and goes above and beyond the expectations.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain (BUY)

Also collected in
Batman: Vampire (All three parts) (BUY)

6. Batman: Hush


Written by: Jeph Loeb
Art by: Jim Lee

It’s never too late to create a classic, as Lee and Loeb deliver this detective story featuring a full slate of popular villains, along with great scenes with Catwoman and Nightwing.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Hush (BUY)

Collected From:
Batman #608 (BUY)
Batman #609 (BUY)
Batman #610 (BUY)
Batman #611 (BUY)
Batman #612 (BUY)
Batman #613 (BUY)
Batman #614 (BUY)
Batman #615 (BUY)
Batman #616 (BUY)
Batman #617 (BUY)
Batman #618 (BUY)
Batman #619 (BUY)

5. Batman: Arkham Asylum

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Dave McKean

This beautifully painted graphic novel features Batman in a now familiar situation: the inmates have taken over the asylum, literally. Like most of the best Batman graphic novels, this story features a slew of villains all at once.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Arkham Asylum (BUY)

Best Batman Graphic Novels: Clear favorites

The next four best Batman Graphic Novels all come in very close in points forming a near virtual tie. They are often seen interchanged among the top 4 spots in most individual lists. Every fan should own a copy, and if you only read one Batman story, read one of these.

4. Batman: The Killing Joke

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Brian Bolland

One of the most essential Joker stories, The Killing Joke had enduring ramifications by having Barbara Gordon shot in the spine, leaving her paralyzed and eventually becoming Oracle. Get this graphic novel for no other reason than for the credits: Alan Moore.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: The Killing Joke (BUY)

3. Batman: Year One

Written by: Frank Miller
Art by: David Mazzucchelli

Acclaimed Batman writer Frank Miller pens this bookend to his other popular work, The Dark Knight Returns. While the latter imagines Batman at his end, this chronicles his beginnings in a modern, essential interpretation.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: Year One (BUY)

2. Batman: The Long Halloween

Written by: Jeph Loeb
Art by: Tim Sale

Brought to you by the other dynamic duo, Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb, this is considered one of the best Batman Graphic novels of all time, and definitely the top story that is in canon. It features Batman working alongside of Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent, reminiscent of the first act of the Dark Knight movie, sets up the transformation of Two-Face. It also appropriately follows Batman: Year One chronologically.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: The Long Halloween (BUY)

Collected From:
Batman The Long Halloween #1 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #2 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #3 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #4 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #5 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #6 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #7 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #8 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #9 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #10 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #11 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #12 (BUY)
Batman The Long Halloween #13 (BUY)

1. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Written by: Frank Miller
Art by: Klaus Janson

This graphic novel is perhaps one of the most influential of all time. It is a pinnacle book that redefines a genre and ushered in a new era of comics.  The repercussions of its publications is sufficient to claim the top spot of the best Batman graphic novels of all time.

Just read it.

Best Batman Graphic Novels
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (BUY)

If you liked this list of best Batman graphic novels, check out our other “essentials” lists

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