Since his first appearance in 1939, Batman has been the star of countless stories that tell the Caped Crusader's story in a variety of ways and from a range of viewpoints. We've put together a quick primer of 10 Batman stories you need to read (and stock in your stores). These have all been released in the past 30 years and, besides being great reads, have proven consistent bestsellers.
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
Bruce Wayne begins his crime-fighting career as a rookie vigilante at odds with criminals and police alike in his first year in Gotham City. This tale also reintroduces important allies and rogues, including James Gordon, Harvey Dent, Selina Kyle and Carmine Falcone.
Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
Batman, Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent must solve a murder mystery taking place over a year, set soon after Year One. They race against the calendar to discover the identity of the serial killer Holiday, which could be any one of Batman's rogues' gallery... or any one of his allies.
Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean
The most deranged of Gotham's super criminals have taken over the asylum in this psychological horror story. Batman goes in to restore order, but may just find out that he belongs in there with them.
Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
The Joker, Batman's greatest adversary, stars in his definitive origin story as he drives Commissioner Gordon to the edge of sanity to prove the point that all anybody needs to snap is one bad day. This is for mature readers.
Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee
Who is Hush? That's what Batman wants to know as this new and deadly villain uses his rogues to torment both Batman and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne.
Batman & Son by Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert, J.H. Williams III and Tony S. Daniel
Batman discovers that he has a son with Talia al-Ghul, and attempts to show Damian what it means to serve others. Also, new villain the Black Glove attempts to destroy the Batmen of All Nations.
Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla
The past comes back to haunt Commissioner Gordon and Batman (now Dick Grayson under the cowl). This dark murder mystery begins Scott Snyder's much lauded run as Batman writer.
Batman v1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
In the first New52 Batman story, Bruce Wayne discovers a secret society that has been running Gotham City since its beginnings, and the society is tired of Batman operating without its permission.
Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
Even the differences are familiar in this alternate reality story that features a younger, angrier Bruce Wayne and an older, grittier Alfred Pennyworth.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
Bruce Wayne comes out of retirement to take back a much darker Gotham City from much more dangerous villains, and has to fight a few friends along the way.