What do I read next after "Batman: Year One"?
November 14, 2010 4:58 PM   Subscribe

I loved "Batman: Year One." What do I read next?

I'm not a huge comic guy, but I do read graphic novels from time to time. On a recent vacation, I read Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. To say I loved it would be an understatement. I thought it was terrific! As someone who loved the darker Batman movies (Burton's first and second, plus the two latest by Christopher Nolan), Year One just "felt right." It was dark, mysterious, and utterly enthralling.

Here's what I'd like to know -- which story (or stories) do I read next?

I went to the catalog of graphic novels in the back of the book and was confused as all hell. Like I said, I'm not a huge comic guy. I have no idea about all the intricate Crisis plot points and continuities. I'm coming into this cold. But I loved Year One, and I'd like to read more Batman stories in the same storyline.
posted by zooropa to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Have you read Miller's The Dark Knight Returns? It's a classic. Also, there's The Killing Joke, which is a great Batman story as well. Oh, and Arkham Asylum.
posted by griphus at 5:02 PM on November 14, 2010

Response by poster: Do they continue the same storyline as started in Year One? Or are they separate.

Sorry if these sound like stupid questions. I have no idea about all the different continuities, so this is all new to me.
posted by zooropa at 5:08 PM on November 14, 2010

They're all separate. You might also try Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
posted by headspace at 5:14 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Due to the intricacies of DC canon, that's a more complicated question than you think it is :)

DKR (and its lackluster sequel, Dark Knight Strikes Again) takes place in an alternate future, the seeds of which may have been sown in Year One which takes place at the very beginning of Batman's career. Miller writes all his Batman stuff with the same characterization and plot points, so it's safe to assume it is in the same universe in Miller's conception, if not DC canon. I'm not even sure if Year One is canon anymore.

There was (is?) a series called Legend of the Dark Knight which overtly takes place after Year One. Couldn't tell you about the quality, might want to check that out. I don't know if there are many trades from it.

The story in Killing Joke has nothing to do with the storyline of Year One. It's still a good book and a major event in the DC universe, however. Arkham Asylum is deeply psychological, and barely has a coherent storyline. It's just awesome.

Oh, and Year Two is crap. Don't read Year Two.
posted by griphus at 5:17 PM on November 14, 2010

Yeah, Long Halloween is set chronologically and continues with a few specific elemts of Year One, and is also the story of how all the "freaks" (Joker, Penguin, etc.) came to Gotham. It's a fun book, very cinematic although not as dense as YO itself.

According to Wikipedia, Batman and the Monster Men, Batman and the Mad Monk, and The Man Who Laughs all fit into the space between YO and Long Halloween.
posted by griphus at 5:21 PM on November 14, 2010

It's not a Batman comic, but don't miss Daredevil: Born Again, made by the same people (Miller & Mazzucchelli) a year before Batman: Year One.
posted by martinrebas at 5:50 PM on November 14, 2010

Thirding Long Halloween; if you like it, Loeb and Sale also did Dark Victory. There was a series called Legends of the Dark Knight, which had standalone story arcs (roughly 5-6 issues each) typically focusing on Batman's early career. I recall there being several decent stories in the first few years; I'm not sure how many made their way into trade paperback, though.
posted by kimota at 7:06 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm relatively new to comics myself, but I've got to say that I think Neil Gaiman's "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader" is perhaps the most quintessential Batman story ever. It's beautiful. A great stand-alone, and a quick read. Could not recommend it more.
posted by bloody_bonnie at 9:48 PM on November 14, 2010

Can I take a moment to de-rec Dark Knight Returns/Dark Knight Strikes Again as STRONGLY as possible? Whoever that jerk in the cape is, he's not my Batman.

N-thing the three Loeb/Sale collabs- Dark Victory, Long Halloween, and Haunted Knight. Brilliant, all three.
posted by Tamanna at 10:40 PM on November 14, 2010

Batman and the Monster Men and Batman and the Mad Monk are awesome-- thoroughly-- but if you are looking for a Serious Frank Miller Sequential Experience, Matt Wagner is not your guy. If you're looking for solid period-piece Batman, though, Matt is your guy and you will dig it.

Also, not Batman, but Andy Diggle and Jock completely owned the Year One thing with Green Arrow: Year One, and you'd probably really dig it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:29 AM on November 15, 2010

Well, OK, shit. I spoke too soon there.

If you are looking for a Serious, Square-Jawed, Fucked-Up Antihero Experience, Matt Wagner is your guy? But the book is Grendel: Devil by the Deed, not his Batman work.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:31 AM on November 15, 2010

Nthing Long Halloween. Frank Miller's work on Daredevil is quite good and gritty also.

Miller also did a series called Give Me Liberty which I am quite taken with. I haven't read the sequels, but at least the original series is funny and disturbing and full of action.
posted by Hactar at 1:34 AM on November 15, 2010

And don't forget Alan Moore's Watchment and V for Vendetta.
posted by PenDevil at 1:37 AM on November 15, 2010

Urgh.. Watchmen that is.
posted by PenDevil at 1:37 AM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Darwyn Cooke's Ego and Other Tails is definite must-read if you like YO. Also, if you can find any of them, The Batman Adventures collections/issues (which were tied in with and drawn in the style of Bruce Timm's excellent Batman: The Animated Series cartoon).

Nthing the Loeb/Sale Long Halloween & Dark Victory. I remember reading an interview with them when LH came out back in the 90's and they said that Miller had ok'd their use of characters he had created in YO for their Batman stories, which for all intents and purposes, are "sequels" to YO. I believe that Frank Miller has said that his recent All Star Batman and Robin is also in that continuity, but I've yet to find anyone who has anything good to say about it. (Miller's, uh, dropped off a bit in the creative department/gone batshit insane the last decade or so.)

A word of warning about canon and continuity when it comes to comic books; to begin obsessing over that stuff is the road to madness. Soon you're buying all the monthly Batman titles and then it's Justice League and then it's other crossovers. Next thing you know you've blown hundreds of dollars over the course of a year on utter shit. Wait for the collections and reviews to come in, you'll be better off. There's enough back catalogue out there to keep you busy.

Focus on good writers and stories rather than "canon." As a matter of fact, I follow writers more than I follow titles/characters these days. The titles/authors that have been mentioned already above are all good places to start, though, if I knew back in the day what I know now, I would take a pass on reading The Dark Knight Strikes Back (more bad Miller. Like AWFUL. Awful in a "I'm pissing all over the legacy of Year One and The Dark Knight Returns and mind-raping your fond memories of them BWAH-HAH-HAH!" way).
posted by KingEdRa at 1:50 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Darwyn Cooke also did The New Frontier, which is one of the best things DC have put out from the last decade. It's not dark and it's not focused on Batman that much, but he's still awesome in it. (Actually, you could just track down a copy of the Special, which has the Batman v Superman fight that's only hinted at in the main book.)

And from Legends of the Dark Knight there's Grant Morrison's Batman: Gothic, which is a year one tale with a similar aesthetic.
posted by permafrost at 3:53 AM on November 15, 2010

Read Dark Knight Returns, but not the followup. Or, if you do, manage your expectations. Recently written Miller Batman is not the same as classic Miller Batman.

Also - have you watched the 1992 animated series recently? It's a little lighter, as it's kid-friendly, but it also has a nice noir feel to a lot of it.
posted by Muttoneer at 5:31 AM on November 15, 2010

Blacksad is probably the best comic I have ever read and the hardbound edition is out. There's only 3 comics in the series. It's a gritty, dark, film noir story. Not for children since it covers racism, hate crimes, illegitimate children, and other adult topics.
posted by chairface at 10:54 AM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: As a fellow non-hardcore comics reader, I wholeheartedly recommend Cooke's "The New Frontier." It's wonderfully epic and both dark and uplifting. It mostly focuses on the Green Lantern's arc, but it also crams in pretty much every significant character in the DC universe, set in the late '50s. It's fun to read and look at, although it takes a while to get going.

The animated adaptation is very much abridged, but it's worth watching afterwards (as is the aforementioned '90s Batman animated series, which has a noir influence like Year One). Anyone know if that "New Frontier Special" will be released as a trade paperback?

I'd recommend Watchmen too. As for another Batman title, I enjoyed "Hush." It crams in every significant Batman character, and there's nice interplay between Superman and Batman. Stylistically, it's kind of the opposite of Year One... much more sleek/detailed, and fast-paced.

I've tried "Long Halloween" and "Dark Victory," but they're just way too dense for my taste.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:44 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are all amazing recommendations. Thank you so much -- not just for the recommendations, but also for not flaming or acting all condescending. It's very much appreciated!
posted by zooropa at 10:19 AM on November 28, 2010

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