It has been reported over at the Silver Age Batman blog and at the Collected Comics Library that DC is going to reprint in a hardcover “archive” format the first three Batman Annuals from 1961 and 1962. This will be a new series for DC which they are calling their “Classic Library” series. You can check out the announcement at the DC Comics website, which gives an on sale date of April 22, 2009. This is not the first time the Batman Annual #1 has been reprinted, as DC published a replica edition of this issue in August, 1999. As far as I know, DC has never reprinted Batman Annual 2 or 3.
This is great news for the fans of the Golden Age and Silver Age. These Annuals are fantastic sources for reprints of late Golden Age and early Silver Age Batman stories. I’ve called this the “wacky” period for Batman, as these stories were full of sci-fi and other themes never before associated with the Dark Knight.
The first Batman Annual was published by DC in the summer of 1961 and they followed with six more issues, number seven being published in the summer of 1964. The new reprint volume will feature the contents of Batman Annual 1-3, and I assume (hope!) other volumes will follow with Annuals 4-7. You can view the covers of each annual over at the Grand Comic Book Database website, where you will also find indexes to each Batman story reprinted in the Annuals.
By the way, after Batman Annual #7 was published in the Summer of 1964, DC did not publish another Batman Annual until #8 in 1982, 18 years later. DC has now published a total of 26 Batman Annuals, the last being in 2007.