Batman in the Copper Age
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I just scored a 9.8 copy of Batman #428, the "death" of Robin II that I’m really pleased with.

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This purchase prompted me to pull my copy of BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY from the library for a re-read. I still enjoy this story, along with Jim Aparo's art. Afterwards I decided to pull a few issues prior to Batman #426 to explore more of the controversial character of Jason Todd. Soon afterward I found myself going down the rabbit hole, pulling all my Batman back issues and graphic novels from the 1980s to re-read.

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BATMAN: SECOND CHANCES (collecting BATMAN #402-403, 408-416 and ANNUAL #11) is a great starting point for examining Jason Todd's Robin, as it chronicles the revamping of the character as a street delinquent. This collection also examines the tension between Batman and Nightwing. A good read if you're a fan of Batman from this era.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE VOL. 1 reprints DECTECTIVE COMICS #568-574 and #579-582. I'm almost done with this volume, I dig Alan Davis' art, and the great writing by Mike W. Barr also. So far, the Robin is these tales seems more innocent compared to the reckless portrayal in the Batman title, in Detective Comics Batman often calls him 'chum.'

Then there is the lead up to the death.

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I also have these Copper gems in my library.

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There are lots of good Batman stories in this era, including Year One.

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I can't wait to read more.

This also caught my eye the other day.

Tales of the Batman HC By Gerry Conway #2-1ST

Collecting Detective Comics #505-513, Batman #337-346 and 348 and material from World's Finest #270.

I know I'm only scratching the proverbial surface here. 

Edited by Brandon Shepherd
Grammar

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Death in the Family is when I started buying Bats off the newsstand, but my favorite part of the era is all pre-Year One: Black Mask, the Vampire arc, Ivy's takeover, lots of fun Joker appearances, Nocturna (:x) and the pinnacle, Bats 400. So much great stuff without so much of the grim n' grit (okay, Black Mask's arc was actually pretty freaking intense). Lots of interlocking stories that really stretched out which gave the characters and plots time to develop. I'm really hoping the Omnibus format will eventually catch up with this material as it's really fun to read through and fairly under-appreciated.

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5 hours ago, shiverbones said:

Bats 400 is the one :x

That’s a good one, I just read it. I wish it would be reprinted someday in a nice TPB or omnibus.

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4 hours ago, Gatsby77 said:

Loved Nocturna. And one of those appearances - # 363 - was my first ever double-cover!

Love that issue! Her whole storyline of trying to win over Jason is one of my favorites.

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I've got the 3 "Red Rain" issues from the Batman title (389-391) in 9.8 as well. Need to grab the rest of the 'Tec issues to complete the arc, but seems like every time I've looked for the 556 I can't find a single copy in 9.8 (or it's miswrapped).

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I was lucky enough to find this one raw at the 2016 Denver Comic Con. The price tag had it graded at 9.4, when I re-bagged it I thought it looked much better. I can’t believe I actually touched it with my bare hands! :fear:

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I still need a reader copy, I was too afraid to read it before I submitted it. I also understand this story is continued in Batman #400.

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The Mcfarlane 423 cover is the best of the bunch, IMO, after the DKR books and KJ.  But the "prestige" format makes those latter books fairly easy in HG.  

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1 hour ago, Brandon Shepherd said:

 

I still need a reader copy, I was too afraid to read it before I submitted it. I also understand this story is continued in Batman #400.

Infinitely skippable. It's just Batman and Robin in front of the computer in the Batcave going over the list of possible villains that could be pulling off the shenanigans that lead into 400. I mean, I'm assuming there was some sort of framing story to pad it out some, but from my memory it was kinda "Batman, someone's been pulling off (x) crime, who could it be?". "I don't know Robin, let's go through some broad descriptions of my major villains and try to narrow it down for 18 splash pages." The cover's a classic, though. I had a 9.8 as well as a 9.4 newsstand that I got for $13 in an auction no one was watching, but sold both when I did some thinning of the herd a year or so ago. I have several raw copies still. If I can get to the boxes anytime soon, I'll see if I can find a reader copy for you. I did save an image of the OA which was for sale a few years back. Just couldn't pull the trigger on it, but really wanted this for a while.....

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19 hours ago, Martin Sinescu said:

Love that issue! Her whole storyline of trying to win over Jason is one of my favorites.

 

I've got the 3 "Red Rain" issues from the Batman title (389-391) in 9.8 as well. Need to grab the rest of the 'Tec issues to complete the arc, but seems like every time I've looked for the 556 I can't find a single copy in 9.8 (or it's miswrapped).

Think you mean "red skies". Red rain was the elseworld Dracula story right?

That tec cover is really nice, never really noticed it before.

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1 hour ago, Avi said:

Think you mean "red skies". Red rain was the elseworld Dracula story right?

That tec cover is really nice, never really noticed it before.

Oof, yeah, you're right. Big difference in those two. 

Another thing I'd say on the pre-Crisis stuff is that, while the ongoing storylines seemed generally solid, the art could be inconsistent from issue to issue (or bouncing between 'Tec and Bats) within one arc as there were many hands contributing (which is why DC's current method of reprinting that era, broken down by artist or writer, can make for a really disjointed, unsatisfying collection). However, I always found Alcala's inking to be a real feast for the eyes, so that's something to discover for those that delve into that era. That's one of the times where I realized just how profoundly an inker can impact the art.

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I'm trying to figure out timelines for the different ages of comics.  Is there a certain Batman/Tec issue that defines when Batman has entered the copper age?

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25 minutes ago, Commr. Gordon said:

I'm trying to figure out timelines for the different ages of comics.  Is there a certain Batman/Tec issue that defines when Batman has entered the copper age?

Not really and you'll probably get 10 different answers from 7 different people (including at least 3 people who will tell you ages don't matter). For me, the Dollar Comics from 'Tec mark the end of the Bronze era (the infamous DC Implosion), which is towards the end of 1980. The Bat title feels like it happens sooner 'cause a book like Bats 321, to me, is Copper and that's early 1980. I don't think anything between 300 and 321 feels much different, though, so that's kind of where it shifts in my mind, although that takes the transition back further to '78-79. Some people like to make Year One the hard transition point, but that's much later in the decade and I just don't see the pre-Year One issues in the 300's as Bronze at all. I think the mood was much lighter, less dour, than the pre-300 issues and became more like a long-running soap opera through all those issues. After Year One, the books changed again, so it's like a mid-decade makeover, but to me they went more toward the compact, defined arc (Death in the Fam, Dark Knight/Dark City, Year Two and Three, Lonely Place) as well as getting "grim n' gritty" (death of Jason, Killing Joke and Dark Knight). I'd say this was more of a transition toward the upcoming age rather than the beginning of his Copper as Bats tended to be ahead of the times rather than behind. Again, just my opinion, I've never really sat down and tried to do hard scholarship on this period.

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3 hours ago, Commr. Gordon said:

I'm trying to figure out timelines for the different ages of comics.  Is there a certain Batman/Tec issue that defines when Batman has entered the copper age?

Batman and 'Tec entered the "Copper Age" quite a bit later than most, just because of the stagnant nature of the titles throughout much of the 80s. Nothing really dramatic happened with Batman until Dark Knight in 1986, and then Denny O'Neil taking over the direction of the character with issue #400. 

And, of course, you have 3-4 years of what some consider the greatest era of Batman ever: Year One, Ten Nights of the Beast, Death in the Family, Year Two, Year Three, Blind Justice, Many Deaths, Lonely Place, the introduction of a Robin that wasn't just Dick Grayson, part 2, the most celebrated creators on the titles, etc.

Of course, it *can* be argued that the Englehart/Rogers run of 'Tec in 1977-1978 were actually the first Copper Batman, but DC abandoned what they did fairly quickly, and Bats would have to plod along for another near-decade.

Edited by RockMyAmadeus
D-ick is a NAME, not just a "naughty word."

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30 minutes ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

Batman and 'Tec entered the "Copper Age" quite a bit later than most, just because of the stagnant nature of the titles throughout much of the 80s. Nothing really dramatic happened with Batman until Dark Knight in 1986, and then Denny O'Neil taking over the direction of the character with issue #400. 

And, of course, you have 3-4 years of what some consider the greatest era of Batman ever: Year One, Ten Nights of the Beast, Death in the Family, Year Two, Year Three, Blind Justice, Many Deaths, Lonely Place, the introduction of a Robin that wasn't just Dick Grayson, part 2, the most celebrated creators on the titles, etc.

Of course, it *can* be argued that the Englehart/Rogers run of 'Tec in 1977-1978 were actually the first Copper Batman, but DC abandoned what they did fairly quickly, and Bats would have to plod along for another near-decade.

I’ve been waiting for you to stop by. :hi:

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I had snow day today so I took the opportunity to catch up on some reading. I've been following Detective Comics in BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE VOLUME 1, starting with 'Tec #568. The four issues from Year Two are not included in this collection, the gap between Tec #574 and 579 left me no choice but to pull Year Two. 

I picked up BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE VOLUME 1 about  a year ago and enjoyed it then. Going back a second time I've come to appreciate the collaboration between writer Mike W. Barr and artists Alan Davis and Paul Neary on Detective Comics #569-575. This run shows us a Batman who actually smiles, I also enjoyed the father son relationship between he and Robin. I also enjoyed the comic booky quirks in this run such as mind control, death traps and appearances from Joker, Scarecrow and Catwoman.

The biggest reminder for me was the prelude to Year Two in Detective Comics #574, featuring Dr. Leslie Thompkins. This issues briefly recounts the origin of Batman, while Robin lays in a hospital bed, seriously wounded. I see that Year Two now has a Deluxe Thirtieth Anniversary Edition, perhaps 'Tec 574 should have been included in said edition for reference.

I enjoyed Year Two more than I recalled in years past, I'm sure there are those out there who would expect this story arch to be a direct sequel to Year One, yet it's not really a second chapter, just as Year Three is not a final chapter in a trilogy. The Bar/Davis/Neary run ends with Year Two, Part One in 'Tec 575. Todd McFarlane steps in to do the art in 'Tec #576-78, I noticed the art blended more with his predecessors in chapters two and three, but chapter four is full on McFarlane style; at least there is the transition style wise between issues, otherwise the art difference could have been really distracting.

Year Two is quite the contrast to the light hearted issues in the run prior, but it's a welcome addition. I'm not sure of the story for Alan Davis' departure, but he did team up again with Barr for Batman: Full Circle, a follow up to Year Two. I've also read that Barr initially proposed the story to DC for what would become Year Two several years prior, as Batman: 1980, as an update on the character's origin. 

I just ordered BATMAN: THE CAPPED CRUSADER VOLUMES 2 & 3, I'm anxious to read them, especially for Year Three, I have the individual issues but I want to read them on nice paper with enhanced coloring. It's been some time since I last read Year Three, I never understood why it was never collected in TPB form, or included with BATMAN: A LONELY PLACE OF DYING. I noticed several years ago DC re-released A Death in the Family to include A Lonely Place of Dying, I was disappointed Year Three was not included, now all is forgiven. 

Edited by Brandon Shepherd

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