In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman, culminating with the official celebration of Batman’s anniversary at the end of July. The last installment will deal with Batman stories, but this month will be about Batman’s writers and artists (40 artists and 35 writers).
You all voted, now here are the results! Here is a master list of all the writers and artists featured so far. We continue with Batman writers #15-11…
NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. Specifically, no “Creator X better not be in the top ten!” or variations of that idea (“Creator X better not be ahead of Creator Y,” etc.) I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.
15. Ed Brubaker
Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka’s time on Batman ended up being similar enough that it seems only just that they end up on this list right next to each other. Both men took a fascinating, slightly off-kilter look at the life of Batman. Neither Brubaker nor Rucka were interested much in traditional superheroics, they both tried to look at your standard Batman fights but through a different angle.
In both of their cases, their exploration into what Gotham City would be like for a police officer (a big part of their classic crossover “Officer Down,” where the GCPD deals with the attempted murder of Commissioner Gordon) eventually led to the pair co-writing the excellent Gotham Central, which examined Gotham City strictly from the perspective of its police.
In Bruce Wayne: Murderer? and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, they played with the idea of what happens to Batman when the “safe” part of his life becomes anything but safe. Is Bruce Wayne a necessary part of the puzzle? If things get too bad for Bruce Wayne, can Batman just stop being Bruce Wayne and become Batman full time? It’s a fascinating question and it was at the heart of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive.
That storyline was told in less of a “Here’s part 1, here’s part 2, here’s part 3” and more of a series of stories that ultimately led Batman to clearing Bruce Wayne’s name.
One of the most notable stories in this arc is the compelling tale of Batman being summoned by the police detective who caught the murder case for Thomas and Martha Wayne…
That’s an intriguing way of looking at Batman’s role in the world. Brubaker was always good for stuff like that. He also told a more traditional storyline involving the sort-of-super-crook Zeiss and the villainous Lew Moxon returning to Gotham City along with his daughter, Mallory, who Bruce knew as a child. Is she a good person or is she is part of the Moxon crime family? And did Moxon have something to do with the death of Bruce’s parents? Was Thomas Wayne keeping a terrible secret? It’s a twisty storyline filled with strong Scott McDaniel artwork.
14. Greg Rucka
As noted above, Greg Rucka also liked to look at things from a slightly different perspective. He seemed to often take the approach, “What would something like this be like in the real world?” while, of course, not actually applying strict real world logic to things (as that is never fun). Rucka’s Batman run in Detective Comics spotlighted both interesting conflicts (like the fight between those Gotham citizens who stayed in Gotham during No Man’s Land and those who returned to Gotham only after things were fixed) and an intricate “how did Batman solve this mystery?” behind-the-scenes approach…
Rucka also notably introduced two powerful female characters, a second Ra’s Al Ghul daughter who took over her father’s organization and a bodyguard for Bruce Wayne who slowly gets pulled into this orbit until she finds herself working as a vigilante alongside Batman. The bodyguard, Sasha, was a particularly clever way for Rucka to give us a point of view that we never get to see – a lay person’s look at what it is like to become a vigilante like Batman.
Rucka debuted during the No Man’s Land storyline (where Gotham City is cut off from the rest of the world after an earthquake and things go to hell in a handbasket and only the brave heroes who stayed behind can save things) and he began to develop one character, Detective Renee Montoya, in particular. He spotlighted her all through No Man’s Land and eventually wrote a highly acclaimed storyline featuring her in Gotham Central (he later also made her the new Question).
13. Gardner Fox
Gardner Fox was the first person other than Bill Finger to write Batman. Fox actually joined in very early on and had a major impact on the Bat-mythos with both the first recurring Bat-villain (Doctor Death) as well as the introduction of the Bat-plane (and early form of it) and the Batarang…
After years away from the title, Fox returned as part of the New Look Batman series, writing the Carmine Infantino-drawn issues, which included introducing Barbara Gordon (plus the villainous Outsider). He continued writing for DC until the late 1960s, where he began to be phased out by newer writers like Denny O’Neil and Archie Goodwin.
12. Alan Moore
Besides appearances by Batman during his Swamp Thing run (and, of course, Batman’s visit to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude for Superman’s birthday), Alan Moore has only really written two Batman stories. One of them was a neat Clayface story for an Annual. The other, of course, happens to be one of the most famous Batman stories of all-time.
The Killing Joke deals with the Joker assaulting Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, Barbara, crippling her with a bullet to the stomach. The Joker then kidnaps Gordon, all with the intent of proving that anyone can go insane if they have had a bad enough day…
The Batman/Joker dynamic would never quite look the same after The Killing Joke.
11. Scott Snyder
After impressing readers with an excellent run on Detective Comics featuring Dick Grayson during his stint as Batman, Scott Snyder moved over to the main title when the New 52 launched.
Scott Snyder’s Batman is a compelling one for a number of notable reasons, one being the way that Snyder makes Gotham City a major player in the comic, more so than most other writers have ever done so (he wrote a mini-series, Gates of Gotham, that underscored this approach before he put it into full view in his Batman run). The introduction of a secret cabal called the Court of Owls that was nested within Gotham City’s own infrastructure for over a century was a striking addition to the Bat-mythos.
Another way that Snyder’s Batman stands out is how HUMAN he is – this is not a Bat-God, this is a relatable human being being thrust into practically unrelatable experiences. This was a major aspect of Snyder’s take on Dick Grayson but it worked just as well with Bruce Wayne. When the Court of Owls capture Batman and break his mind down, it isn’t one of those things where Batman is just playing with them – they actually DO break him down. He is not infallible, after all. However, what makes him the hero he is is the way that he fights back AFTER being broken down. He falls to the lowest place he can go but he manages to drag himself back up. And Synder’s Batman not only drags himself back up, he does so with panache…
How badass is that? It reflects his never-say-die spirit as well as the fact that he IS part of Gotham City. He represents the city and is tied to it in ways that few people are to their respective hometown. Snyder is currently exploring Batman’s humanity, his indefatigablity and, of course, his ties to Gotham in the epic Zero Year storyline in Batman RIGHT NOW! Go check it out!