Continued in Volume 2 (The New 52) and Volume 3 (Rebirth).
Detective Comics is a DC Comics monthly 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.
See also Detective Comics Annual.
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 Geoff Johns, using Conner Kent's Superboy incarnation as the main story, and the Legion of Super-Heroes 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 backstories, 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 The 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.
The Golden Age
Tales of the Batman / Legends of the Dark Knight / Batman by
- Tales of the Batman: Len Wein (#408, #444-448, #466, #478-479, #500 and #514)
- Tales of the Batman: Marv Wolfman Volume One (#408)
- Tales of the Batman: Steve Englehart (#439 & 469-476)
- Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway Volume One (#463-464, 497-499 & 501-504)
- Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway Volume Two (#505-513)
- Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway Volume Three (#515-526)
- Tales of the Batman: Gene Colan Volume One (#510, 512, 517, 528 & 529)
- Tales of the Batman: Gene Colan Volume Two (#530-538 & 540-544)
- Tales of the Batman: J.H. Williams III (#821)
- Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle Volume 1 (#579, 582-594 and 601-607)
- Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle Volume 2 (#608-321)
- Batman by Neal Adams Book Two (#395, 397, 400, 402, 404, 407, 408 & 410)
- Batman by Brian K. Vaughn (#787)
- Batwoman by Greg Rucka and J. H. Williams III (#854-863)
The Dark Knight Detective
- Showcase Presents: Batman Volume One (#327-342)
- Showcase Presents: Batman Volume Two (#343-358)
- Showcase Presents: Batman Volume Three (#359-375)
- Showcase Presents: Batman Volume Four (#376-390)
- Showcase Presents: Batman Volume Five (#391-407)
- Showcase Presents: Batman Volume Six (#408-426)
- Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter Volume 1 (#225-304)
- Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter Volume 2 (#305-326)
- Showcase Presents: Batgirl (#359, 363, 369, 371, 384-385, 388-389, 392-393, 396-397, 400-401, 404-424)
- Showcase Presents: The Elongated Man (#327-371)
- Showcase Presents: Robin, the Boy Wonder (#342, 386, 390-391, 394-395, 398-403, 445, 447, 450-451)
Global Events tie-ins / Crossovers
- Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman Deluxe Edition (#1, 20, 27, 38, 60, 64, 66, 140, 151, 153, 225, 233, 267, 298, 327, 359, 400, 437, 443, 457, 474, 482, 500, 567, 742)
- Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years (#27, 83, 211, 216, 327, 359, 395, 442, 474, 574, 633, 711, 757 and 821)
- The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years (#64, 168, 180, 475, 476, 726, 741, 826)
- DC Through the '80s: The End of Eras (#500)
- The Joker: His Greatest Jokes (#388 & 833-834)
From other characters collections
- Boy Commandos by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby Volume Two (#74-83 & 85)
- Batman: The TV Stories (#140, 230, 341, 346, 359)
- Batgirl: The Bronze Age Omnibus Volume 1 (#359, 363, 369, 371, 384-385, 388-389, 392-393, 396-397, 400-401, 404-424, 481-499, 501-502, 505-506, 508-510 & 512-519)
- Robin: The Bronze Age Omnibus (#390-391, 394-395, 398-403, 445, 447, 450-451 & 481-495)
- Manhunter: The Special Edition (#437-443)
- The Joker: The Bronze Age Omnibus (#475-476, 504, 526 & 532)
- Black Lightning Volume 2 (#490-491 & 494-495)
- Deadman Omnibus (#500
- Elegy (#854-860)
- The Question: Pipeline (#854-865)
Non-U.S. Collected Editions