The Batman Annuals

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.




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3 Responses to The Batman Annuals

  1. Pat Curley says:

    I’m glad as well to see these old books being reprinted.

    While they did not call the 80-Page Giants after Batman Annual #7 as “Batman Annuals”, they served the same purpose, and there were a slew of them: 80-Page #5, #12, Batman #176, #182, #185, #187, #193, #198, #203, #208…. etc.

    Of course, the “Annual” label was false as well; there were two per year for many years (and 3 in 1966). I suspect that the reason for the renaming from “Batman Annual” to “80-Page Giant” to “Batman #182” had to do with mailing permits; apparently the publishers had to buy a new permit for every new title, so they went to the 80-Page Giant name so they didn’t have to pay extra for a Jimmy Olsen Annual versus a Superman Annual, then they got the bright idea of just incorporating the Annuals as part of the regular title so they didn’t even have to have the permit for the 80-Page Giant name.

  2. Good point. The 80 Page Giant series as you mention, had two Batman issues (5 & 12), and they then called other issues in the main Batman title “80 Page Giants”. They did this in other DC titles as well. DC’s very first Silver Age Annual was Superman Annual #1 (October 1960). Superman was also featured in 80 Page Giant #1 (it was going to be Superman Annual #9). 80 Page Giant #15 was devoted to “World’s Finest” and featured Batman and Superman.

    Even though DC used the 80 Page Giant issues as “annuals”, when they brought back Batman Annual in 1982 and Superman Annual in 1983, they picked up the numbering from the annuals they published until 1963 and 1964 before the “80 Page Giant” series began.

    The last of the stand alone 80 Page Giant series was number 15 (October 1965), and they then moved to the main character titles. In all, DC published 89 80 Page Giants, the last being Justice League of America #93 (80 Page Giant #89 – July 1971). The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (38th Ed.) has a complete list of all 89 80 Page Giant issues under their listing for “80 Page Giant” (page 585).

    Of course, don’t forget DC’s “100 Page Super Spectacular” series, but that’s for another post!

  3. Pingback: Golden Age Reprints - The Batman Annuals Volume 1 – Golden Age of Comic Books

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