cover image BATMAN: COVER TO COVER: The Greatest Comic Book Covers of the Dark Knight

BATMAN: COVER TO COVER: The Greatest Comic Book Covers of the Dark Knight

Neal Adams, Author, Chip Kidd, Author, Jim Lee, Author . DC Comics $39.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4012-0659-8

This dazzling collection of pop-art miniposters spans six decades of readers' fascination with the costumed hero. The editors selected roughly 250 from among the more than 2,000 covers done for Batman-themed publications. Batman has huge advantages as a graphic image. For one, the character has wonderfully dramatic looks—a swirling cloak, an inhuman mask and a grimly clenched don't-mess-with-me jaw. He also lends himself to strikingly lit, foreboding night settings. Regardless of what a particular story is about, he's always been a comics artist's dream subject. Consequently, though the book is organized loosely according to subjects, such as "Fearsome Foes" and "The Batman Family," it also takes pains to include examples of covers from different eras, featuring interviews with some of the artists who created the covers. Famous comics and media people from Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan to actor Mark Hamill also get to choose a favorite cover and explain briefly why they chose it. Fortunately, the editors have resisted the temptation to print a huge number of covers reduced to matchbook size, so these selections are large enough to appreciate. From Brian Bolland's hyper-detailed realism to Alex Toth's b&w minimalist rendering, this book does a good job of showing how much fun artists have had designing this comic book icon. (May)