LOTDK was a DC comic that ran for fifteen years and over a hundred issues, featuring canon Batman stories by top line creators like Grant Morrison and Klaus Janson (who teamed up on “Gothic”), Mike Barr, Howard Chaykin, Gil Kane, Abnett and Lanning, JM DeMatteis, James Robinson, Mark Millar, Denny O’Neil, and many others. In fact, it was in the pages of LOTDK that Doug Moench wrote the story “Venom,” which later was used by Chuck Dixon as the way Bane gets his superhuman strength. It’s widely celebrated by comic fans, and I would recommend you get copies of the entire run (they’re usually reprinted just under the story arc name, not as “LOTDK Vol. 1,” so they can be difficult to identify).
DC Digital has brought the series back as an online exclusive, with some pretty hot names attached. The full list follows, after the break, along with my top 10 favorite LOTDK stories from the print volumes….
The DC Digital lineup, and releases, are:
· August 9— “A Game to Die For” written by TJ Fixman with artwork by Christopher Mitten
· August 16— “Slam!” Part 1 written by Joshua Fialkov with artwork by Phil Hester & Eric Gapstur
· August 23— “Slam!” Part 2 written by Joshua Fialkov with artwork by Phil Hester & Eric Gapstur
· August 30— “Slam!” Part 3 written by Joshua Fialkov with artwork by Phil Hester & Eric Gapstur
· September 6— “Bat-Man: The Movie” written by Andrew Dabb with artwork by Giorgio Pontrelli
· September 13— “Together” written by Jonathan Larsen with artwork by Tan Eng Huat
· September 20— “Gotham Spirit” written by Jeff Parker with artwork by Gabriel Hardman
· September 27— “Dungeons & Dragons” writing and artwork by Mike Oeming
· October 4— “Look Inside” written by Rob Williams with artwork by Juan Ryp
· October 11— “Arkham’s Ghost” Part 1 written by Joe Harris with artwork by Jason Masters
· October 18— “Arkham’s Ghost” Part 2 written by Joe Harris with artwork by Jason Masters
· October 25— “Arkham’s Ghost” Part 3 written by Joe Harris with artwork by Jason Masters
And if you’re going to take me up on my recommendation to scoop up back issues, here’s my top 10 faves of the old print version:
THE TOP 10 LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT STORY ARCS
10. Freakout (91-93) by Garth Ennis and Will Simpson, a very strange tale of a drugged out hippie written in the same style Ennis used for his renowned “Hitman” DC comic series;
9. Siege (132-136). One of Archie Goodwin’s (who was also a Marvel editor in chief) last stories, it’s a “home invasion” story—one of my favorite genres—in which a group of mercenaries attack Wayne Manor.
8. Legend of the Dark Mite (38). Alan Grant and Kevin O’Neill tell a Bat-Mite story. Pretty much any Bat-Mite tale gets a vote from me, but particularly one by the great Alan Grant.
7. Criminals (69-70). Batman goes to prison to fight crime from within. This is mostly here because I am a huge fan of Mike Zeck’s barrel-chested art, but Steven Grant’s story is pretty fun, too.
6. Faces (28-30). A creepy tale by Matt Wagner, back in his prime, wherein 2-Face creates his own mini-society on an island of people who all look like him.
5. Prey (11-15). Doug Moench, Paul Gulacy, and inker-extraordinaire Terry Austin tell a Hugo Strange story in which Batman has to fight his greatest foe of all: Bad press!
4. Gothic (6-10). Grant Morrison and Klaus Janson collaboration is a little obtuse—it involves a creepy killer of children who is getting revenge on a group of gangsters who killed him. It’s a little like Nightmare on Elm Street in concept.
3. Venom (16-20). Dennis O’Neil’s story of the super-drug later used by Chuck Dixon in the creation of Bane. It’s probably also the precursor to Marvel’s mutant grown hormone stories.
2. Batman: Haunted Knight. These are actually three separate Halloween specials (1993-95) by the team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (who together created some of the greatest Batman stories ever told). These three LOTDK done-in-ones led to the “Long Halloween” story, which has been collected in numerous formats. Great stuff.
1. Snow (192-196) by J.H. Williams III, Dan Curtis Johnson, and Seth Fisher. Yes, I’m putting this one above stories by legends like James Robinson and Grant Morrison. It’s the origin of Mr. Freeze, and the art and character development are beautiful and moving.