Detective Comics is a DC Comics monthly American Comic Book published since 1937, focusing on detective stories. One of DC's signature titles; the title featured early talents such as Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Sheldon Moldoff, Jerry Robinson and Bill Finger. Detective characters, such as Slam Bradley and the Crimson Avenger, were featured monthly in its early days. As of issue # 27, the title became best known for the introduction of the Superhero Detective, The Batman, who eventually became the main feature. The title has also featured the debuts of Dick Grayson, James Gordon and many of Batman's villains and supporting cast, as well as other DC characters.
Detective Comics was the brainchild of National Allied Publication's owner, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. His first two titles were called New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 and New Comics #1. New Fun, often referred as New Fun Comics #1, was published in February 1935. It became the first comic to contain all-original material, instead of combining newspaper comic strips and the comic-strip style material. New Comics #1, also published in 1935, was retitled twice to become Adventure Comics. Adventure Comics was revived in 2009, by Geof Johns, using Conner Kent's Superboy incarnation as the main story, and the Legion of Superheroes as the back story.
Wheeler-Nicholson, published a third and final title, named Detective Comics. It was scheduled and advertised to be published on December 1936, however, it premiered on March 1937. During that year, he became indebted to Harry Donenfeld, who was a printing-plant and magazine publisher. This forced Wheeler-Nicholson to take Donenfeld on as a partner so that he could publish Detective Comics #1, through a new publishing company, called Detective Comics, Inc. The first owners of Detective Comics, Inc. were Wheeler-Nicholson and Harry Donenfeld's accountant, Larry Liebowitz. Liebowitz and Donenfeld would later force Wheeler-Nicholson out a year later.
Detective Comics #1 featured stories using the hard-boiled detective genre, which was popular around that time. Some of the better known characters in this publication were Slam Bradley, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster before they created the Superman character, Ching Lung, an asian character who was a villain; and Speed Saunders along with other characters. The debut cover was created by Vin Sullivan, who was the publication's first editor.
Issue #27 of Detective Comics is historically famous because this was the first appearance of Batman, then known as "The Bat-Man", as a comic book character. This issue was published in May 1939. Batman (created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger), will later become the star of the publication. His sidekick, Robin (created by Jerry Robinson), was introduced in issue #38, published in 1940. The publication also had several back stories, including "The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdell", featured in issue #225, which introduced Martian Manhunter as a character.
In the 1970s and the early part of the 1980s, the publication showed an expanded format which featured solo adventures of some members of the Batman Family like "Robin: The Teen Wonder" and "Batgirl". It also featured "Tales of Gotham City", which told stories of the ordinary citizens of the famous fictional city. Due to the declining sales of Detective Comics in this period, DC was heavily considering canceling its namesake franchise in place of the much more popular Batman Family in a wave of cancellations called the DC Implosion. However, over the protestations of the comic creators, this series was saved and the other was merged into this one, which resulted in a format change for the series from issue #481 onwards.
In Bruce Wayne's absence, Batwoman was featured in Detective comics between issues #854-863. Currently, the book stars Dick Grayson as Batman, as well as Commissioner James Gordon.
Classic Batman and Archived
- Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years (#27, 83, 211, 216, 327, 359, 395, 442, 474, 574, 633, 711, 757 and 821)
- Issues #27-50 are collected in Batman Archives, Vol. 1.
- Issues #51-70 are collected in Batman Archives, Vol. 2.
- The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years (#64, 168, 180, 475, 476, 726, 741, 826)
- Issues #71-86 are collected in Batman Archives, Vol. 3.
- Issues #87-102 are collected in Batman Archives, Vol. 4.
- Issues #103-119 are collected in Batman Archives, Vol. 5.
- Issues #120-135 are collected in Batman Archives, Vol. 6.
- Issues #136-154 are collected in Batman Archives, Vol. 7.
- Batman: The TV Stories (#140, 230, 341, 346, 359)
- Batman: Arkham - The Riddler (#140, 142, 377, 822 & 837)
- Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives, Vol. 1 (#327-333)
- Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives, Vol. 2 (#334-339)
see also The Batman Chronicles.