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Updated: Jun 24, 2021

Writer: Frank Miller

Art: David Mazzucchelli

Publisher: DC

Batman: Year One (tpb), cover, DC, Miller/Mazzucchelli


Batman. Before the gadgets, just starting out. Think later than the Gotham TV show, but more down-to-earth than Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. It’s also a Commissioner Gordon comic in a really big way, as he’s just starting out on the force in Gotham City (so, in that way, it’s a little TV-show-Gotham-y).

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? (Minor Spoilers)

This comic takes place when Bruce Wayne first decides to come back to Gotham City and beat up bad guys, and when James Gordon first joins the police force in Gotham. It covers their first year in the city.

It’s about a 50/50 split across these two characters, with a lot of the weight of storytelling carried by internal monologues from Bruce or Gordon in Frank Miller’s signature style. Bruce’s narrative is focused on learning how to be The Batman – what scares bad guys, how to fight better, and who’s trustworthy in this town of criminals. Gordon’s is much more personal, balancing a familial relationship he isn’t ready for with trying to be the only good cop in a city filled with corruption.

In the end, it’s basically the story of how Batman and Gordon came to have the relationship they do: because, by the time they met, they were the only people in the city each of them could trust.


  • You really don’t need to know much about Batman before reading this

  • The line art is on the cleaner side and feels like it’s more about setting the scene than capturing every detail (see the image below for an example)

  • There’s an interesting balance in the story’s tone and emotion: a lot of the time, the characters will tell us their feelings in this detached, masculine way, but the color of the panel or page betrays how they actually feel

  • If you’re into Batman for noir-style storytelling, emotion and character development, this book is for you

  • It’s really cool seeing these characters just starting out, and watching as their relationship forms organically

  • Even with few action sequences and no small amount of narration, this one’s a page-turner

  • It’s the perfect comic if you want to start reading Batman (but also rewards longtime fans)


  • If you’re into Batman for the gadgets, fights or specific bad guys, you might want to skip this one

  • The book doesn’t feel the MOST Frank Miller-y of his books, but if you’re really against his style, this might not be for you.

  • As mentioned earlier, a LOT of this book is about Gordon – good to know if you’re going in expecting it ONLY to be about Batman

  • It was almost adapted to become a feature film directed by Darren Aronofsky, but Warner Bros. ended up making Batman Begins instead

Batman: Year One (tpb), page 18, DC, Miller/Mazzucchelli


Look, there’s a reason this is the first DC book I’m covering. It tells a complete story in an interesting and heartfelt way, and it’s the perfect jumping-on point for anyone interested in reading Batman.


If you like the writing:

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Miller, Janson & Varley

  • Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper by Cindy Newell

  • Sin City by Frank Miller

If you like the art:

  • Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli

  • 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg & Tyler Boss

  • Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja


Frank Miller – Writer

  • Name Recognition: This guy is one of the big names in comics, in no small part due to his signature noir/inner monologue writing style and his work on comics like 300, Daredevil, Batman & Sin City

  • Award Winner: Won a ton of awards for his work on Sin City and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, as well as other works

  • Multitalented: Has also done cover art and pencils & inks for comics, as well as some directing for film

David Mazzucchelli – Art

  • Dream Team: Married to Richmond Lewis, who colored Batman: Year One

  • Teaches cartooning and comic book storytelling at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan

  • Multitalented: Later wrote several independent comics and did illustrations for magazines and other publications

Richmond Lewis – Colors

  • Dream Team: Married to David Mazzucchelli, who was the artist on Batman: Year One

  • Multitalented: Worked primarily as a painter

Todd Klein – Letters

  • Award Winner: Since starting out in comics over 40 years ago, he has won many, many awards

  • Has created over 100 of his own fonts


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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All DC Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright DC Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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