20 Best Batman Non-Graphic Novels of All Time

Batman non graphic novels
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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.

Some of them were published as graphic novels or one-shots (or republished as such). In contrast, others were published as a limited series (either a miniseries or a maxiseries) event or were just collections of several issues from an ongoing series. The latter two groups are what interests us, as we will bring you a list of the 20 best Batman stories that are not graphic novels or one-shots but rather a limited series issue or a collection of issues from an ongoing series. Enjoy!

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 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; graphic novels, miniseries republished as graphic novels, and one-shots won’t be included on the list.

1. The Long Halloween

Batman thelonghalloween

Writer(s): Jeph Loeb
Artist(s): Tim Sale
Titles: Batman: The Long Halloween #1-13
Publication: December 1996 – December 1997

As far as The Long Halloween is concerned, the comic book has become a cult classic and one of the best maxiseries in the history of Batman comics. This comic book is a must-read. However, you look at it, and you’ll always find it on the list of the best and most important Batman stories in the franchise’s history. Jeph Loeb has done an amazing job in crafting his story and incorporating the Batman mythos, while Tim Sale’s characteristic art made the whole story quite recognizable.

The Long Halloween is an absolute classic, and we highly recommend it, as we have already done before; the mere fact that we have included this comic book on practically all main continuity lists speaks for itself, but there really is no problem with reiterating the importance and the quality of The Long Halloween, which is why we’re – once again – including it on our list.

2. Dark Victory

DarkVictoryBatman

Writer(s): Jeph Loeb
Artist(s): Tim Sale
Titles: Batman: Dark Victory #1-14
Publication: November 1999 – December 2000

And while sequels aren’t always that good, Dark Victory actually lived up to the hype, and although it lacked the originality of its predecessor – Loeb copied a lot of narrative elements from the original story – it is still an amazing story and a worthy sequel to Loeb’s cult classic storyline; Tim Sale once more added to the quality with his characteristic style. All of this made Dark Victory a great story that, despite all of its shortcomings, is still one of the best Batman stories ever written and an integral part of the narrative that Jeph Loeb created for DC Comics.

Dark Victory combines all the best elements of The Long Halloween while continuing the story in a high-quality manner, and despite borrowing some elements from Loeb’s first story, Dark Victory is an integral part of the Batman mythos and one of the best stories about the Dark Knight ever written.

3. No Man’s Land

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Writer(s): Jordan B. Gorfinkel, Greg Rucka, Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Paul Dini, Bob Gale, Devin K. Grayson, Kelley Puckett, Larry Hama, Bronwyn Carlton
Artist(s): Greg Land, Andy Kuhn, Yvel Guichet, Alex Maleev, Dale Eaglesham, Frank Teran, Phil Winslade, Damion Scott, Dan Jurgens, Mike Deodato, Tom Morgan, Mat Broome, Sergio Cariello
Titles: Azrael: Agent of the Bat #47-61, Batman #560-574, Batman: Harley Quinn, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116-126, Batman: No Man’s Land #1-0, Batman: No Man’s Land Secret Files and Origins #1, Batman: Day of Judgment #1, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #80-94, The Batman Chronicles #16-18, Catwoman (vol. 2) #72-77, Detective Comics #727-741, JLA #32, Nightwing #35-39, Nightwing Secret Files and Origins #1, Robin (vol. 4) #67-73, Young Justice In No Man’s Land #1
Publication: January – December 1999

No Man’s Land is a seminal and highly influential Batman storyline. It was a truly major in-universe event that showed what would happen when the criminals divided Gotham and took over the city in an already chaotic environment. This storyline has been loosely adapted in the TV series Gotham and in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Although it didn’t change much globally – although it did impact individual stories – No Man’s Land is without a doubt one of the most interesting and innovative Batman stories ever and is definitely worth your time. To fully comprehend the whole story and its significance, we recommend you read the Cataclysm prequel, but also the sequels Batman: Evolution and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive.

4. Batman: Endgame

Endgame 1

Writer(s): Scott Snyder
Artist(s): Greg Capullo
Titles: Batman (vol. 2) #35-40
Publication: October 2014 – April 2015

As far as Snyder’s run with Batman is concerned, Endgame is quite possibly the best among his stories and certainly one of the best Batman stories ever written. The conclusion of Snyder’s interpretation of the endless Batman/Joker feud culminated in an epic showdown in Endgame, which drastically changed Batman’s narrative for a short amount of time.

The story had universe-wide repercussions, and Snyder’s New 52 stories after Endgame reflected these events and have proven how creative and powerful of a narrator Scott Snyder is. Combine that with Greg Capullo’s majestic artwork, and you get a truly modern masterpiece.

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5. Batman: City of Bane

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Writer(s): Tom King, Tony S. Daniel
Artist(s): Mikel Janín
Titles: Batman (vol. 3) #75-85
Publication: September 2019 – February 2020

Tom King’s new story featuring yet another epic encounter between Batman and Bane was one of the highlights of his run on Batman. In a story that somewhat reminds us of the epic Knightfall trilogy, Batman again has to raise the bar for himself to defeat Bane and another menacing enemy – his own father. With the stakes being much higher this time, King’s new take on the Batman/Bane rivalry is one of the best modern Batman stories. It is certainly a narrative that has already become an essential part despite not being out there that long, which is why we highly recommend it.

6. The Knightfall trilogy

KFSaga

Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Jo Duffy, Alan Grant, Dennis O’Neil, Doug Moench
Artist(s): Jim Aparo, Jim Balent, Eduardo Barreto, Bret Blevins, Norm Breyfogle, Vincent Giarrano, Tom Grummett, Klaus Janson, Barry Kitson, Mike Manley, Graham Nolan, Sal Velluto, Mike Vosburg, Ron Wagner
Titles: Batman #492-510; 512-515, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #16-30; 32-35, Catwoman #6-7; 12-13, Detective Comics #659-677; 679-682, Justice League Task Force #5-6, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #59-63, Robin #7-9; 11-14, Showcase ’93 #7-8, Showcase ’94 #10
Publication: April 1993 – August 1994

It would take a lot of time and space to discuss how the Knightfall saga changed Batman and his stories. This very large series – now available in three omnibus volumes – was a seminal 1990s storyline that not only introduced Bane to the main continuity but also went even deeper into Batman’s psyche and became even darker in tone.

It changed a lot. It changed how the readers viewed the until-then unbeatable Batman. It introduced the possibility of an “out-of-control” Batman other than Bruce Wayne himself, and it gave a larger role to Jean-Paul Valley, who was, until then, a supporting character known as Azrael.

Knightfall was a truly entertaining and important story that set the tone for future stories, and it still remains as one of the most important and must-read stories in the Batman mythos. These three omnibus editions are must-haves for every true collector.

7. Batman: Death of the Family

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Writer(s): Scott Snyder, Adam Glass, Kyle Higgins, John Layman, Scott Lobdell, Ann Nocenti, Gail Simone, Peter Tomasi, James Tynion IV
Artist(s): Greg Capullo, Eddy Barrows, Ed Benes, Brett Booth, Fernando Dagnino, Jason Fabok, Patrick Gleason, Jock, Timothy Green, Rafa Sandoval
Titles: Batman (vol. 2) #13-17, Batgirl #13-16, Batman and Robin #15-16, Catwoman #13-14, Detective Comics (vol. 2) #15-16, Nightwing #15-16, Red Hood and the Outlaws #15-17, Suicide Squad #14-15, Teen Titans #15-16
Publication: October 2012 – February 2013

Although the New 52 imprint had its fair share of controversies, practically everyone agrees that Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman was an absolute thrill. The two of them managed to evolve the character and push him to previously unknown and unfathomable limits. It all started with “Death of the Family,” the storyline that really did change everything when Batman and his archenemy, the Joker, were concerned. The Joker became even more twisted and deranged than ever during his criminal career, pushing Batman to his limits.

Snyder’s brilliant storytelling and Capullo’s amazing art made this narrative an instant classic. There is absolutely nothing we can say against “Death of the Family” and this is why we highly recommend it as a must-read for all true fans. A great thing about this story is that it was just one of many that Snyder and Capullo created for us and just one segment of their take on the relationship between Batman and Joker, a relationship that these two geniuses redefined, which is why their work is listed here, among the best.

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8. Batman: Night of the Owls

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Writer(s): Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, Kyle Higgins, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, Judd Winick, et al.
Artist(s): Greg Capullo, Tony S. Daniel, Jason Fabok, Rafael Albuquerque, et al.
Titles: All-Star Western #9, Batgirl #9, Batman #1-12, Batman Annual #1, Batman: The Dark Knight #9, Batman and Robin #9, Batwing #9, Birds of Prey #9, Catwoman #9, Detective Comics #9, Nightwing #1-9, Red Hood and the Outlaws #9
Publication: April – May 2012

We all know how Snyder and Capullo changed Batman during their run on the New 52 stories about the Dark Knight. Capullo’s amazing artwork complemented Snyder’s brilliant storytelling, and these two genuinely changed much about how we perceive Batman and his adventures. While some stories focused on old elements from the Batman mythos, Snyder never hesitated to bring in something new. Some of his novelties have already become an integral part of the Batman canon, which is almost a precedent when newer additions are concerned.

One of such novelties is the mysterious Court of Owls, a secret organization that is said to have run Gotham City since its foundation. This was a brave expansion to the long-established mythology. Still, the Court of Owls quickly became part of the Batman canon, and the main storyline that gave us a look into the extent of the organization’s powers was the “Night of the Owls.”

This in-universe crossover event is certainly one of the most important modern Batman stories that expands and somewhat redefines the well-established mythos and is not just a great read but a seminal modern story that you have to read.

9. Batman: Zero Year

Batman Zero Year

Writer(s): Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Artist(s): Greg Capullo, Rafael Albuquerque
Titles: Batman #21-27, 29-33, Action Comics #25, Batgirl #25, Batman Annual #2, Batwing #25, Batwoman #25, Birds of Prey #25, Catwoman #25, Detective Comics #25, The Flash #25, Green Arrow #25, Green Lantern Corps #25, Nightwing #25, Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
Publication: June 2013 – July 2014

Another brilliant work from the creative mind of Scott Snyder, Zero Year was a demonstration of how Batman’s origin story can be rewritten while at the same time not losing the touch of the original story. Snyder’s take on Batman was a very thorough one, and Zero Year is, without a doubt, another among the many examples of why this guy was one of the best and most daring Batman writers in history.

The story chronicles Batman’s early days in Gotham City and a new threat in the form of the Riddler, who started his career with a bold and big plan that almost erased Gotham as everyone knew Her. A brilliant story combined with Capullo’s majestic artwork, Zero Year is absolutely a recommendation and something every Batman fan must read if he wants to fully grasp the evolution of the Dark Knight’s mythos.

10. Batman: Hush

Batman Hush cover

Writer(s): Jeph Loeb
Artist(s): Jim Lee
Titles: Batman #608–619
Publication: October 2002 – September 2003

Jeph Loeb was already a well-known Batman writer, as his Long Halloween series was published before Hush. With Hush, Loeb just reaffirmed his storytelling skills and crafted a new, original story that is today considered one of the best Batman stories ever written.

The introduction of Tommy Elliot, a.k.a. Hush, to the main continuity was a great addition to the Batman lore, as Elliot’s brilliantly written backstory perfectly fit in with what we already knew about Batman. Hush was, in a way, the anti-Batman, and Loeb, who had already proven himself to be a great mystery writer (The Long Halloween and Dark Victory both included a sinister, mysterious serial murderer), managed to create a story that was both acceptable for the fans and the critics, but that was also a brilliant stand-alone crime narrative that challenged Batman and his investigative skills.

As an original character, Hush was also great and had both depth and incited fear in the readers due to his psychopathic nature, which is why we love the Hush storyline so much and consider it one of the greatest Batman stories ever told.

11. Batman R.I.P.

Batman R.I.P. scaled

Writer(s): Grant Morrison
Artist(s): Tony S. Daniel
Titles: Batman #667-669, 672-686, 701-702, Detective Comics #846–853, Nightwing vol. 2, #147–153, Batman and the Outsiders #11–14, Special 1, Robin vol. 2, #175–183
Publication: May – November 2008

Grant Morrison’s Batman R.I.P. is one of his most important stories during his tenure as the main Batman writer. Even though some consider the story a bit repetitive due to Morrison reusing some old plot elements, most people consider it to be a daring and intriguing story that certainly deserves to be collected as one of the most important modern Batman stories. What contributes to this is that it was a best-seller, and there have been talks about an animated adaptation of the story, which is why we recommend it for your collection.

12. Batman: Under the Red Hood

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Writer(s): Judd Winick
Artist(s): Doug Mahnke, Eric Battle, Shane Davis
Titles: Batman #635-641, 645-650, Batman Annual #25
Publication: November 2004 – February 2006

Under the Red Hood, although not a direct sequel, is a tie-in to the famous A Death in the Family storyline we’ve already mentioned. This story retconned Jason Todd’s death in the best possible way, reintroducing the character to the main narrative continuity and exploring Batman’s shattered psyche. “Under the Red Hood” deals with the consequences of a famous event and its implications and further explores not just Batman’s relationship to his friends and family but also his moral code.

If you add the positive reviews, you have a truly great Batman story that you must read. Why is it good as a starter story? Although it happens later in Batman’s career, Under the Red Hood is an important part of Batman’s mythos and a story that is a great introduction to many of the basic elements that one must know if he wants to fully explore Batman’s world.

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13. Batman: Cataclysm

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Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, Doug Moench, Dennis O’Neil, Devin K. Grayson, Kelley Puckett, Klaus Janson, Chris Renaud, Rick Burchett
Artist(s):
Jim Aparo, Henry Flint, Mark Buckingham, Scott McDaniel, Klaus Janson, Graham Nolan, Jim Balent, Staz Johnson, Eduardo Barreto, Alex Maleev, Marcos Martin, Rick Burchett, Chris Renaud, Dave Taylor, Jason Johnson
Titles: Azrael #40, Batman #553-559, The Batman Chronicles #12, 14, Batman: Arkham Asylum – Tales of Madness #1, Batman: Blackgate – Isle of Men #1, Batman/Huntress/Spoiler: Blunt Trauma #1, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #73-79, Catwoman (vol. 2) #56-57, Detective Comics #719-722, 724-726, Nightwing (vol. 2) #19-20, Robin (vol. 2) #52-54
Publication: January – March 1998

If you ever thought of reading the above-mentioned No Man’s Land storyline, Cataclysm is bound to come up as a necessary tie-in read. This prelude to one of Batman’s greatest stores is a brilliant story in itself and we absolutely recommend it as a must-read for all Batman fans. Stylistically, the story is very similar to No Man’s Land and since it ties into that narrative, we think it is important for you to read if you want to complete the story.

14. Batman: Contagion

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Writer(s):
Artist(s):
Titles: Azrael #15-16, Batman #529-532, The Batman Chronicles #4, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #48-49, Catwoman (vol. 2) #31-32, Detective Comics #695-696, Robin (vol. 2) #27-28
Publication: March – April 1996

As far as interesting stories go, Contagion is certainly one of the better ones out there. Although it mimics Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of Red Death to a degree, Contagion is a stand-alone story about a plague coming to Gotham City and the heroes’ struggle to battle it and return life to normal. Sounds familiar? While several years from now, when the current pandemic will have gone into history books, this might not be so stunning, now, Contagion is definitely a piece to have and to read, which is why we strongly recommend it.

15. Joker War

JokerWar scaled

Writer(s): James Tynion IV
Artist(s): Jorge Jimenez, Greg Capullo
Titles: Batman #95-100, Detective Comics #1022-1027, Nightwing #70-75, Batgirl #47-50, Catwoman #25-26, Red Hood: Outlaw #48, Batman: The Joker War Zone #1, Harley Quinn (vol. 3) #75
Publication: September – December 2020

And while Tynion’s Joker War might not be as epic as Snyder’s Endgame, the fact is that yet another epic clash between the Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight did not go unnoticed. With the Joker launching yet another large-scale plan to destroy life on Gotham as we know it, Batman and his family, especially Nightwing, and Batgirl, have to – with the help of some unlikely allies, like Harley Quinn – give it their all to stop Joker’s plans and restore order in Gotham. Tynion’s story is a thrilling and exciting narrative that certainly deserves your attention, and it is, without a doubt, one of the better modern-day Batman narratives.

16. Batman Eternal

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Writer(s): Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, John Layman, Ray Fawkes, Tim Seeley, Kyle Higgins
Artist(s): Jason Fabok, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, Andy Clarke, Trevor McCarthy, Emanuel Simeoni, Guillem March, Riccardo Burchiellim, Ian Bertram, Mikel Janin, Guillermo Ortego, Jorge Lucas, R. M. Guéra, Javier Garronm Meghan Hetrick, Simon Coleby, Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, Fernando Blanco, Andrea Mutti, Ramon Perez, Juan José Ryp, Joe Quinones, David Lafuente, Aco, Javi Fernandez, Alessandro Vitti, Juan Ferreyra, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Paulo Siqueira
Titles: Batman Eternal #1-52
Publication: April 2014 – April 2015

As far as in-continuity side stories go, Batman Eternal is the best the New 52 imprint offers. Written by several great writers and illustrated by a plethora of influential artists, Batman Eternal brings us a series-wide side story featuring Batman and a plethora of his supervillains. Batman Eternal is thrilling. It has a great story with brilliant characters, an actual threat, and tangible implications. We recommend it for all Batman fans, as it is a collaboration worth reading.

17. Batman & Robin: Eternal

EternalRObin scaled

Writer(s): James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Tim Seeley, Steve Orlando, Genevieve Valentine, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Ed Brisson
Artist(s): Tony S. Daniel, Paul Pelletier, Scot Eaton, Alvaro Martinez, Roge Antonio, Fernando Blanco, Fernando Pasarin, Christian Duce, Andrea Mutti, Marcio Takara
Titles: Batman and Robin Eternal #1-26
Publication: October 2015 – March 2016

Batman and Robin Eternal is a sequel to Batman Eternal and although it never had the scope of the original story, it’s still a great narrative. It also featured a collaboration between different writers and artists, each one of them brining something original to the narrative. Batman and Robin Eternal is a decent sequel and definitely one you should read, but do not expect the same level of quality as in Batman Eternal.

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18. Batman: Night of the Monster Men

MonsterMen 1 scaled

Writer(s): Steve Orlando, Tom King, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV
Artist(s): Riley Rossmo, Roge Antonio, Andy MacDonald
Titles: Batman (vol. 3) #6-7, Nightwing (vol. 4) #5-6, Detective Comics #941-942
Publication: November – December 2016

Night of the Monster Men is a piece of history and a strong start for the DC Rebirth imprint, although it’s the only noteworthy crossover event from the imprint itself. Namely, this story heavily relies on two earlier stories that likewise featured Hugo Strange and his Monster Men, although this reinterpretation of the latter saw them being far more sinister. What is especially good about this story is the fact that it reintroduced Hugo Strange to modern readers in a great way.

19. Batman: Bloom

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Writer(s): Scott Snyder
Artist(s): Greg Capullo, Sean Murphy, Danny Miki, FCO Plascencia
Titles: Batman (vol.2 ) #46-50, Detective Comics (vol. 2) #27
Publication: January – May 2016

Bloom was an interesting story. It wasn’t, perhaps, Snyder’s best work with Batman, but it was certainly interesting enough to land a spot on this list. Why? Primarily because it introduced a creepy new villain, Mr. Bloom, whose mysterious and enigmatic backstory provided even more horror whenever he appeared. Bloom is the centerpiece of this story, and without him, this issue certainly wouldn’t be on this list, but since he was there – we just had to recommend it.

20. The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul

Resurrection of Ras

Writer(s): Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Fabian Nicieza, Paul Dini
Artist(s): Tony S. Daniel, Freddie E. Williams II, Don Kramer, Ryan Benjamin
Titles: Batman Annual #26, Robin Annual (Volume 4) #7, Batman #670-671, Robin (Volume 4) #168-169, Nightwing (Volume 2) #138-139, Detective Comics #838-840
Publication: October 2007 – March 2008

We conclude our list with The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul, another crossover story written during Grant Morrison’s tenure but which involved several other collaborators, as the story spanned over several titles.

The story is a notable chapter in the history of the Batman mythos as it involves the return of Ra’s al Ghul, one of the Dark Knight’s biggest foes, and gives a lot of backstory to Damian Wayne, Batman’s son with Ra’s’ daughter, Talia al Ghul. Morrison once again demonstrated his unique and special vision in devising this story, which might not be one of the most popular ones but is certainly one of the most entertaining ones during his era.

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