13 Underrated DETECTIVE COMICS Covers

The Detective Comics #1027 celebratory issue is out — and here are some of the title’s most unsung covers…

We haven’t made an enormous deal out of this week’s Detective Comics #1027 because A) we went all in with an all-out extravaganza for last year’s Detective Comics #1000 and B) it’s kind of a made-up landmark. (DC says the book celebrates 1,000 issues of Batman in ‘Tec but the math actually doesn’t work out.)

That said, it’s not like I’m going to ignore this. From what I’ve seen of the issue it looks groovy and it takes very little to prompt me to write about the Darknight Detective. (By the way, click here to check out Anthony Durso’s spectacular The TOP 13 DC COMICS BRONZE AGE ANNIVERSARY ISSUES — RANKED.)

But since this is kind of an offbeat landmark, we’re gonna give you 13 UNDERRATED DETECTIVE COMICS COVERS — in no specific order. For fun, really.

I’ve kept it to the Silver and Bronze Ages because that’s our jam. I think you’ll dig these selections that often get overlooked.

Right on.

Detective Comics #340, 1965. Underrated? Maybe not when it came out, but this cover — and the Outsider storyline — become more obscure with every passing year.

Carmine Infantino pencils, Joe Giella inks

Detective #520, 1982. Only one artist did Hugo Strange better: Marshall Rogers. Great Aparo atmosphere, with Strange’s head at that creepy, decrepit angle and Dr. Thirteen genuinely shocked by this strange apparition.

Jim Aparo

Detective Comics #333, 1964. Weird on every level, with Robin whacking away at a purple elephant. Very much of its time but an arresting image nonetheless, especially with that bright background.

Infantino pencils, Giella and Murphy Anderson inks.

Detective Comics #466, 1976. Ernie Chan is an underrated artist. The Signalman is an underrated villain. And this colorful piece is an underrated cover. C’mon, it’s Signalman whupping Batman on the Batsignal!

Ernie Chan pencils, Vince Colletta inks

Detective Comics #329, 1964. One of the earliest “New Look” covers, this ominous image gives you a good idea where DC wanted to take Batman before the 1966 TV show hit like lightning.

Infantino and Anderson

Detective Comics #551, 1985. Calendar Man’s Bronze Age outfit was wonderfully goofy and this image is like something straight out of the Golden Age. See? There was a lot of fun still to be had in the ’80s.

Pat Broderick

Detective Comics #360, 1966. This one looms large for me personally because it was one of the earliest back issues I ever got when the Sperlings gave me a stack of their son’s comics. Love it, even if it’s not the most famous cover.

Infantino and Giella

Detective Comics #509, 1981. It was always a kick when Catman showed up. Dig the terrified look on Batman’s face even though you know he could get out of that one in about 7 1/2 seconds.

Aparo

Detective Comics #485, 1979. Better known for the story inside (Kathy Kane’s murder) than the cover, which is especially dynamic when you consider the truncated space for the image. I still remember it from the racks. I was drawn to it.

Dick Giordano

Detective Comics #383, 1968. I know there’s a lot wrong with this cover. It certainly doesn’t pass muster by today’s enlightened standards. That much is obvious. But it’s still really entertaining and plain odd and funny to think of Batman and Robin going out for Chinese food. (The Caped Crusader was still in his post-Batman ’66 hangover.)

Irv Novick

Detective Comics #430, 1972. Jim Aparo’s first solo Batman cover (we recently featured it here) makes me wish we got more of the artist in Batman or Detective in the ’70s than we did. One of the best of the early-’70s boxed-in covers.

Aparo

Detective Comics #503, 1981. Just plain nifty.

Jim Starlin

Detective Comics #561, 1986. This cover should be much more famous than it is. Maybe it’s because every other cover today looks something like it, but at the time “poster” covers were pretty rare. A great late Bronze Age piece that makes Batman and Robin both look cool and dangerous.

Gene Colan pencils, Giordano inks, Ed Hannigan layout.

MORE

— 13 Top Artists Pick Their Favorite DETECTIVE COMICS Covers. Click here.

— Dig These 13 Funky DETECTIVE COMICS #1027 Variant Covers. Click here.

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Cover images and credits from the Grand Comics Database.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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7 Comments

  1. All great selections! In the spirit of “you never forget your first”, I just love the run of Aparo covers on the “Bat Murderer” series from Detective 444-448. The story was great too!

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  2. Back in 1986, I remember picking up Tec #561 at my local comic shop and thinking “Wow!” I still have that book.

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  3. Great selections, such a rich history of great artists.

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  4. DETECTIVE COMICS #503 has always been a huge favorite, in fact its my All-Time favorite Scarecrow story.
    Anytime Don Newton drew Batgirl it was a treat.
    Cover by Jim Starlin is spooky with the Bat-Scarecrow with the blue moon in the background.

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  5. I’ve got all but the “Robin Riding Elephant” issue. Somewhere.

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  6. Lovely picks! Another fab spooky scarecrow cover is #413, while for sheer misleading mischief – the cover depiction of Aunt Harriet – I go for #380.

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