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Batman: 10 Best Comic Issues Of The 1970s | ScreenRant

Batman has been a major part of comic books for 80 years, with each decade and era of the character's history being totally unique. The 1970s represents one of the most dramatic shifts in the character's evolution, with some elements that have inspired past Batman movies and could very well inform the upcoming The Batman movie.

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Turning from the goofiness inherent in the 60s Batman comics and the ABC live-action television show starring Adam West, the best Batman issues of the 1970s turned irrevocably toward realism, horror, and a generally darker tone that then set the stage for the dramatic stories of the 1980s.

10 Detective Comics #395

Detective Comics #395 is in many respects the demarcation point for Batman comics between what he was and what he would become, and the dividing line between the Silver and Bronze Ages of comics.

This story, the first by writer Denny O'Neill on the title, leans heavily into horror elements and gothic elements that were nothing like Batman comics had done before. It also features the outstanding art of Neal Adams, who became a defining Batman artist during this period, making this one of the best and most important issues of the 70s.

9 Batman #234

Batman #251 is a major issue of the period for reintroducing Two-Face back into the Batman mythos after a long absence. Two-Face is arguably Batman's most tragic villain, but much of his story occurs after this issue.

O'Neill and Adams bring the character back after several years outside of the comics. The comic reestablishes Two-Face as an intimidating villain in keeping with the tone of the age, as opposed to his previous appearances, which like most Silver Age Batman villains, lacked the serious tone of later eras.

8 Batman #232

O'Neill and Adams not only brought back major Silver Age villains in the 70s, but they introduced new ones as well. Batman #232 is a key issue for readers as it introduces one of Batman's most powerful enemies, Ra's al Ghul.

The character immediately makes an impression and establishes his power by revealing that he knows Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same person. Much of the mythology around al Ghul, including his daughter Talia, the mother of Damian Wayne, is set up in one of the best issues of the 1970s.

7 Detective Comics #475

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the new more serious tone of Batman in the 70s is the Joker. Batman's greatest villain gets one of his darkest turns in Detective Comics #475, which is major for also introducing the concept of the laughing fish, which has become synonymous with the character in the years since.

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Written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Marshall Rogers, this issue inspired a number of Batman stories in later media, including an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, also called "The Laughing Fish."

6 Batman #291

Batman has one of the greatest Rogue's Galleries in all of comic book history, and in issue #291 of the series, they appear to get their biggest moment. Though Batman obviously doesn't die in this issue, it's an important issue in the history of the comics as it's actually the first mass gathering of his major villains.

The story, by David Vern Reed, brings the villains into conflict over the apparent death of their mutual nemesis and sets the stage for many major Batman story arcs in the decades to follow, like The Long Halloween or Hush.

5 Detective Comics #400

Detective Comics #400 is a major issue since it introduces fans to Man-Bat, who would go on to become a significant villain for the Dark Knight. Frank Robbins takes over on writing for this issue while Neal Adams brings the monstrous villain to life in his distinctive realistic art style, making the villain ideal for the horror style ethos of the period.

The anniversary issue also features a backup Batgirl story that continues to build on the character's lore in the comics and features another horror reference to Edgar Allan Poe.

4 Batman #227

The horror trend popular in comics in the 70s was perhaps best exemplified in Batman in issue #227 of the series. With an evocative and classic cover by Neal Adams reminiscent of classic EC Comics covers, this story takes Batman to Gothos Mansion, which is the home of Alfred's niece.

Denny O'Neill takes the story through a lot of Gothic twists and turns, and Adams' use of deep shadows and stark blacks make for a moody issue that serves as a case example of the types of stories that helped redefine Batman for the 1970s.

3 Detective Comics #457

Detective Comics #457 is significant for providing an (at the time) modern update of the classic Batman origin story. Retelling the story adds a greater sense of loss and injustice for a young Bruce Wayne, key to later interpretations and certainly for the movies and television shows that revisit the story.

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The issue also introduces Leslie Thompkins, a vital figure in Bruce Wayne's life after the death of his parents. She would also become a key part of some screen adaptations, in particular an episode of the Batman: The Animated Series that defined the show.

2 Batman #251

Just as O'Neill and Adams brought back Two-Face for a new age, issue #251 of Batman brings back the Joker after a nearly four-year absence from the comics. The character had become somewhat silly in his Silver Age appearances and gradually fell into disuse.

Batman and Joker's rivalry takes on a new dimension in this issue, as the Joker returns with a vengeance, killing and scheming against Batman and the Gotham police. He's much closer to the violent and unpredictable figure modern audiences are familiar with.

1 Batman #244

Batman #244 features one of the most iconic duels in Batman's history. He fights Ra's al Ghul with a sword, rendered in one of the best comic fight scenes of the era by Neal Adams. The issue also establishes the key role of the Lazarus Pit in the life and death of al Ghul.

At the beginning of the issue, al Ghul is dead but Batman discovers he has come back to life. The issue also explores the romantic aspect of Batman's relationship with Talia, which would eventually lead to the birth of their son, Damian Wayne, who would become Robin.

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