At nearly seventy years old, Batman still stands among the first-stringers in the superhero pantheon. He is a worldwide recognizable icon that can still make millions at the box office and always has a strong and passionate following among comic book fans. He has unimaginable staying power, ever since his first appearance in Detective Comics in 1939. One cultural critic has said part of the reason for his universal appeal is that his story is so simple and recognizable, you can say it in a single sentence, or even a single word; vengeance.
The sky-rocketing appeal of superhero comics started with Superman a year previously, but comic books superheroes would venture from their magazine-bound origins into a variety of media including radio, film serials, books, and much more. In 1943 and 1949, a film serial was released featuring The Batman (the correct address for the superhero).
In the dawn of the 20th century, comic strips became very popular among children and adults. They would buy their weekly or daily paper and follow the exploits of half a dozen or more characters from the humorous (Popeye) to the mysterious (The Shadow), to the adventurous (Tarzan). Shortly after superhero comic books became popular, their comic strip counterparts followed. By 1940, many of the big-selling comic books had made the leap to newspapers. Batman is, of course, one such case.
Just like today, dailies (or daily comic strips) were printed in black and white, while Sunday strips were printed in color. Additionally, the dailies were one row of three to five panels across; Sunday strips were four rows with two to four panels in each row. While the Sunday strips could (potentially) contain a single story on a page, the dailies needed several days. But like most action and adventure strips, these were serialized to keep readers coming back.
Both editions provide a significant amount of information regarding the background of the comic strips. They explore the authors and artists behind the strips and comment on the details of each chapter or completed serial. They look at advertisements for the serials at the time and several essays that give readers a clear understanding of the work they hold in their hands. While the two books contain overlapping information, they still have some different information in them. Also, while Batman: The Sunday Classics presents all the essays at the beginning of the book, Batman: The Dailies disperses the essays throughout the book, often before the beginning of a new chapter.
Both collections have been touched and cleaned up for the books. They havenít been tampered with per se but have been made clearer than the poor quality newspaper prints of yesteryear (or yesterday, for that matter). Ultimately, The Dailies win out in this process. The crispness of edges and contrasting black and white prove to suite the Dark Knight much better than the bright colors of the Sunday strips.
Either of these would prove a great gift or read for the passive or aggressive Batman fan. Even those just found of early 20th-century pop culture will find this book interesting with its background information, as well as entertaining with some good olí Batman stories.