20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels (RANKED)

The fantastic world of Batman is filled with amazing stories. Some of them are better known, mostly thanks to the fact that they have been adapted on screen in some form, but the true essence of Batman’s adventures lies within the stories told in the comic books.

This article is about graphic novels and one-shots, as we are going to bring you a list of the best Batman stories that have been published in the form of graphic novels or one-shots. Enjoy!

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Batman Graphic Novels

While assembling our list, we have tried to be as precise as possible, since the difference between a graphic novel and a non-graphic novel is not always clear. This is why we have decided to include only those stories that have been published (or republished) as graphic novels, miniseries republished as graphic novels, and one-shots, while maxiseries stories (as representatives of the limited series group, meaning that miniseries, due to having less than 12 issues, won’t be included) and collections of issues from an ongoing series won’t be included on the list, as they do not satisfy the basic criteria.

RELATED: 20 Best Batman Non-Graphic Novels

So, this is our list of the best Batman graphic novels and one-shots:

20. Batman: Gotham Noir

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Ed Brubaker
Artist(s): Sean Phillips
Published: March 2001

We start our list with Ed Brubaker’s Elseworlds story Gotham Noir, which is more a Gordon-based story than an actual Batman story. This is a truly interesting take on Gotham’s grotesque scenery and crime, and it was a truly fun read. This film noir take on Batman’s lore is pretty unique and that is why we decided to start our list with this title.

19. Batman: Holy Terror

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Alan Brennert
Artist(s): Norm Breyfogle
Published: 2019

As far as Holy Terror is concerned, it is a rather interesting take on the Batman mythos with a lot of religious elements, which is not something that is usually associated with the stories of the Dark Knight. Holy Terror is an Elseworlds story and is, thus, not canon, but it’s interesting enough to be a fun read.

18. The Joker: Devil’s Advocate

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Chuck Dixon
Artist(s): Graham Nolan
Published: 1996

An interesting one-shot, Devil’s Advocate is another interesting story focusing on the Joker. This story showed us, once again, why the Clown Prince of Crime is so twisted and how morbidly creative he can get when he wants to execute his plans.

17. The Dark Knight Strikes Again

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Frank Miller
Artist(s): Frank Miller
Published: December 2001 – July 2002

The Dark Knight Strikes Again might be the weakest installment in Miller’s The Dark Knight saga, but it is still good enough to merit a place among the 20 best graphic novels about Batman. The story was a bit rushed and not on par with the original one, but it is still an intriguing tale about the Dark Knight and Miller’s brilliant fictional universe.

16. The Batman Adventures: Mad Love

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Paul Dini, Bruce Timm
Artist(s): Bruce Timm, Glen Murakami
Published: December 14, 1993

This one-shot comic book by Batman legends Paul Dini and Bruce Timm is tied to the cult classic Batman: The Animated Series and focuses on Harley Quinn, a character that debuted in the animated series and later appeared in the comics. Mad Love is a fun and quirky story that all fans of the animated series are bound to enjoy.

15. Batman: Two Faces

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Artist(s): Anthony Williams, Tom Palmer
Published: November 1998

Two Faces is among those rare jewels that DC Comics published, jewels that people generally do not know about, but that are actually great stories. In this retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, we get a new perspective on the relationship between Batman and Joker that is certainly intriguing.

14. Batman: In Darkest Knight

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Mike W. Barr
Artist(s): Jerry Bingham
Published: 1994

In Darkest Knight is a very interesting Elseworlds one-shot that showed us one version of the story of Batman becoming a Green Lantern. It is not on par with other crossover events such as Blackest Night and Brightest Day, but In Darkest Knight is certainly interesting enough to land a spot on our list.

13. Batman: Son of the Demon

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Mike W. Barr
Artist(s): Jerry Bingham
Published: 1987

Son of the Demon is not among the best-known Batman stories, but it is certainly one of the best Ra’s al-Ghul stories ever told. Mike Barr managed to create an excellent blend of action and thrills, giving us a story that we can certainly enjoy on more than one occasion.

12. Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Frank Miller
Artist(s): Rafael Grampá
Published: December 2019 – February 2020

The most recent installment of The Dark Knight saga, The Golden Child is a very interesting one-shot that expands the original story and introduces some new characters. Frank Miller’s characteristic narrative style is once more present and the whole story is visually on par with the previous installments. The Golden Child is an interesting story and it certainly deserved a spot on this list.

11. The Dark Knight III: The Master Race

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello
Artist(s): Frank Miller, Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson
Published: November 2015 – June 2017

The Master Race is certainly the best installment in the franchise after the original The Dark Knight Returns and once again demonstrated why Miller is such a good storyteller. Brian Azzarello collaborated on the story and added his specific touch to this story, which has all the necessary Miller-esque elements, but also a dash of originality.

10. Batman: Damned

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Brian Azzarello
Artist(s): Lee Bermejo
Published: September 2018 – June 2019

As we are going to see later on this list, Azzarello and Bermejo are a truly brilliant team. Azzarello’s writing skills and Bermejo’s art have reached their peak in this controversial title that also brought us a full-on nude Batman, which was later retracted by DC Comics. Be that as it may, Damned is still an amazing story and it had to be on our list.

9. Batman: The Last Knight on Earth

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Scott Snyder
Artist(s): Greg Capullo
Published: July 2019 – February 2020

Scott Snyder’s horrifying future where Batman walks around with the Joker’s head in a lantern is another example of Snyder’s narrative ingeniosity and Capullo’s brilliant art. This is a dark and depressing story set in a not-so-distant future, but it is one of the most intriguing views on the future of Batman’s world that we have ever had the pleasure of reading.

8. Batman: Noël

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Lee Bermejo
Artist(s): Lee Bermejo
Published: November 2, 2011

Lee Bermejo’s gritty retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was a truly amazing story with a great atmosphere and even better art. Although primarily known as an artist, Bermejo has told a truly brilliant tale in Noël and we cannot deny that it is one of the best graphic novels featuring Batman ever.

7. Gotham by Gaslight

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Brian Augustyn
Artist(s): Mike Mignola
Published: February 1989

Gotham by Gaslight is much more than a great alternative history Batman tale, it is also historically important as the first Elseworlds story ever. This imprint had given us some of the best Batman stories ever and although they’re not canon, we can still thoroughly enjoy them, just as we have done with Gotham by Gaslight.

6. Joker

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Brian Azzarello
Artist(s): Lee Bermejo
Published: October 17, 2008

Azzarrello has established a name for himself thanks to his dark and gritty retellings of Batman’s lore. Joker is a brilliant graphic novel that demonstrates just how good of a narrator Azzarello is, but also how well he works with Lee Bermejo, whose amazing art made this story even more special.

5. Batman: Earth One

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Geoff Johns
Artist(s): Gary Frank
Published: 2012 (vol. 1), 2015 (vol. 2), 2021 (vol. 3)

Geoff Johns’ Earth-One Batman became one of the best versions of the characters from the whole Multiverse. Johns opted for more realism in these stories, which was brilliantly complemented by Gary Frank’s amazing artwork. This series of graphic novels is certainly amazing and that is why we put it so high up on our list.

4. Batman: The Man Who Laughs

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Ed Brubaker
Artist(s): Doug Mahnke
Published: 2005

Brubaker’s one-shot, The Man Who Laughs, is one of the Joker’s most important stories; it also filled the narrative gap between some elements in Batman’s early career. While not an artistic masterpiece as the titles in the top three, The Man Who Laughs is certainly interesting enough to merit a high spot on our list.

3. Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Grant Morrison
Artist(s): Dave McKean
Published: October 1989

This non-canon story is absolutely mesmerizing in every possible aspect. Grant Morrison crafted a brilliant, ingenious story, and with Dave McKean’s truly majestic artwork, Arkham Asylum entered comic book history as one of the best and most intriguing Batman stories ever written.

2. The Killing Joke

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Alan Moore
Artist(s): Brian Bolland
Published: March 1988

As far as The Killing Joke is concerned, this controversial comic book is not just one of Alan Moore’s best works, it is also one of the most thrilling Batman stories ever written. An inconclusive version of the Joker’s origins, The Killing Joke has shocked readers back in 1988 and has continued doing so even today, which is why we placed it so high up our list.

1. The Dark Knight Returns

20 Best Batman Graphic Novels Ranked

Writer(s): Frank Miller
Artist(s): Frank Miller, Klaus Janson
Published: February – June 1986

The Dark Knight Returns is undoubtedly the best Batman graphic novel and one of the best Batman stories ever written. Miller’s cult classic narrative marked the beginning of the Modern Age of Comic Books and in that aspect, we are absolutely certain that it deserved the first spot on our list.