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 #30-26.
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.
NOTE #2: Due to an error, Neil Gaiman was originally in this section. Now he is in a previous section. So keep that in mind when you see comments referencing Gaiman.
30. Brian Azzarello
Brian Azzarello wrote a series set in the past that starred Batman, the Spirit and Doc Savage. He also wrote a great original graphic novel starring the Joker. However, he’s probably best known, Bat-universe-wise, for his stint on Batman directly following Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s blockbuster “Hush.” Azarello’s “Broken City” turned Batman’s world into a crime noir tale, complete with a uniquely descriptive take on the awfulness of Gotham City…
Azzarello has also written a number of Batman sort Black and White stories, as well as a Batman/Deathblow mini-series and an awesome alternate reality series where Thomas Wayne becomes Batman and Martha Wayne becomes the Joker as each reacts to the death of their young son, Bruce, in a mugging gone wrong.
29. Bruce Timm
Bruce Timm essentially co-wrote all of the notable Batman Adventures comics that he did with Paul Dini, most famously the Batman classic Mad Love, which spotlights the relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn. But I figured I’d spotlight a tale he wrote all by himself, which appeared in Batman: Black and White #1. The concept of the story is that Harvey Dent’s injuries have been cured and he has gone back to work and re-entered polite society. He’s even become engaged to a beautiful, sweet woman. However, she has a twin who is baaaad news and the twin is obsessed with Harvey, leading to some bad stuff…
One of the all-time great Two-Face stories.
28. Peter Tomasi
Peter Tomasi’s first involvement in the Bat-Universe came when he took over Nightwing’s ongoing series. He did a fine job, but Nightwing’s series soon came to an end as Dick Grayson took over as Batman (even as Tomasi had firmly established Dick’s bona fides as an independent hero). After Grant Morrison finished Batman and Robin and transitioned to Batman Incorporated, Tomasi eventually took over the title. When the New 52 debuted, Tomasi (and artists Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray) were some of the very few creative teams to make the transition from before the New 52 to the new relaunch. He is still the writer on Batman and Robin, making him one of a very small handful of writers to still be on a New 52 title right from the start.
Tomasi’s work is exemplified by a desire to get to the heart of each character’s personality – his work tends to be heartfelt and character-driven. A great example of this approach is found in his first issue of Batman and Robin, where Bruce Wayne and his “kids” all get together to watch a movie quite familiar to the Bat-mythos…
27. Don Cameron
While Gardner Fox was the first writer other than Bill Finger to write Batman’s adventures, Don Cameron was the first writer other than Bill Finger to take over on a regular basis. Staring with Batman #12, he became a regular contributor to Batman and eventually to Detective Comics, as well. Honestly, throughout the 1940s, Cameron was writing more or less every major DC hero. He was writing Batman, Superman, Green Arrow – he was all over the place. As the decade ended, though, superheroes became less popular and Cameron moved over to the booming Western comics world where he wrote all sorts of Western comics for DC (including his own creation, Pow Wow Smith) before he died in 1954.
Here is a snippet from likely his most famous Batman story, the first team-up (and ONLY team-up during the Golden Age, at least) between the Penguin and the Joker from Batman #25…
26. Frank Robbins
Frank Robbins might just be the most underrated writer in the history of Batman comics, if only because his influence is typically completely overlooked. Denny O’Neil is generally regarded as the guy who brought Batman out of the “camp” era, but it was really Robbins who got there first, he just didn’t do it quite as memorably as O’Neil later did. To wit, O’Neil did not even WRITE an issue of Batman or Detective until 1970. Robbins had been working on the character since 1968. A big part of the problem is that Robbins’ darkening of Batman was incredibly gradual. When he took over the book in 1968, his stories still roughly resembled the camp days, they just slowly but surely gained a bit of an edge to them. Take this early issue of Robbins that ends with the villain deciding he wants to be dressed as Batman as he walks the “Green Mile” to his death…
That’s pretty hardcore stuff for a Batman story of the late 1960s.
Within a dozen or so issues, Robbins’ Batman was beginning to look like the Batman we’d see for good starting with Denny O’Neil’s run…
I think it is fair to say that Robbins’ stint wasn’t quite on the same level as the work of O’Neil or Archie Goodwin, but I think it is far better than he is often given credit for and his influence on the titles was tremendous. He and Julie Schwartz (who obviously decided to let Robbins darken things up) deserve a ton of credit for what we think of as Batman today.