NEW DETAILS on DC’s Upcoming Englehart-Rogers BATMAN Collection

An updated look at one of the most anticipated trade collections coming in 2020…

Earlier this year, we brought you the news that DC would be finally bringing back into print Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers’ seminal Detective Comics run from the late ‘70s — and in hardcover for the first time. (Click here for the whole shebang.)

The storyline — which featured the classic Laughing Fish Joker two-parter and a great Penguin chapter co-starring Robin, brought back Hugo Strange and Deadshot from obscurity, and introduced Rupert Thorne, Silver St. Cloud and Dr. Phosphorous — is to be included in Legends of the Dark Knight: Steve Englehart, which collects the writer’s published Batwork.

Awesome. Fantastic. Can’t wait.

Thing is, when we ran the story, there was some question about whether issues written by Len Wein that followed Englehart’s arc would be included. See, the book had not yet been officially solicited by DC, but it was listed on Amazon — and that listing included Wein’s issues.

Well, no more.

DC’s latest solicitations include the book, and the description has been updated. The upshot? The Wein segments have been excised. Here’s the official blurb, along with new placeholder art:

In these moody tales from the late 1970s, Batman faces his own lonely existence while struggling against one of his earliest foes, Dr. Hugo Strange. This run also includes the renowned “Joker Fish” storyline, in which the Clown Prince of Crime comes up with his most off-the-wall scheme ever, along with the 2005 miniseries in which The Joker runs for office with the slogan “Vote for me or I’ll kill you!” Collects Detective Comics #439 and #469-476, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #109-111, Legends of the DC Universe #26-27, Batman: Dark Detective #1-6, and a story from Batman Chronicles #19.
ON SALE 01.01.20
$39.99 US | 456 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-9554-7

Why is this a thing?

Well, Englehart has long asserted that his original story began with 1977’s Detective Comics #469 and ended with Detective Comics #476. But Wein picked up the thread in the stories that followed — with art by Rogers — so fans typically consider it all of a piece, especially since DC has at least twice included the Wein stories in previous Englehart-Rogers reprints. (It’s actually fairly complicated, so click here for a complete rundown.)

Speaking personally, I’ve always considered the Wein issues to be part of the story. But that’s me as Joe Fan.

Englehart sees it differently, so you obviously have to respect that — he’s the writer. And you have to give credit to DC: For the first time, the publisher is presenting one of the most important runs in comics history the way its writer intended.

Other thoughts:

— Don’t forget that the first two issues of the run were illustrated by Walt Simonson and Al Milgrom. People call it the Englehart-Rogers run for good reason, but those two artists kicked the whole thing off.

— Oddly, Batman #311, which was written by Englehart, is not listed in DC’s official solicitation — yet it remains in Amazon’s updated description. So, we’ll have to see how that plays out.

— Back in March, when we convened a panel of experts to pick the 80th Anniversary TOP 13 GREATEST BATMAN STORIES EVER, the Englehart-Rogers run was the #3 overall pick. (I had it at the top of my ballot.) Click here for a look at the run and click here for the complete TOP 13 COUNTDOWN.

Dark Detective, the sequel to the original run, is also in the collection, of course. But you wanna see what Englehart and Rogers were working on for their second sequel before the artist died? You definitely do. Click here.


— MARSHALL ROGERS: A Remembrance, by STEVE ENGLEHART. Click here.

— Marshall Rogers’ BATMAN Newspaper Strip Needs to Be Reprinted. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. The previous release of Legends of the Dark Knight Marshall Rogers Vol 1 collected Batman 468, 471-479, and 481. These Legends / Tales collections are growing increasingly frustrating for skipping issues because there was a different writer / artist. I understand they’re done to focus on talent over story, but they don’t read well when they skip an issue or two.

    They are also duplicating too much material. Both this volume and the Rogers one contain Dark Detective, and 471 to 476. At the prices of these collections, it’s hard to swallow that I’m buying 12 of the same comics.

    I think my only hope for a good run of Batman now is Omnibuses, but I feel like we’ll never get into these higher Batman issue numbers.

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  2. The whole story started with the very weak (and rare for him) Walt Simonson opening and closed with the strong Wein stories. Denny O’Neil kept it going with his two collaborations with Rogers in Detective that followed those. Combined that’s the whole run for me.

    The later pairing of Englehart and Rogers was a complete misfire IMO. The story was nowhere near as engaging and the art wasn’t as crisp. Kind of like doing a sequel to THE MALTESE FALCON, it’s just going to fall short.

    I’d rather see DC Collect the whole thing– because the Rogers volumes didn’t include the Simonson story which is the start but it did include the Wein stories which are the defacto conclusion. I get the focus on creators, but I agree with the previous comment, it makes for disjointed reprints.

    I’ll probably still buy this, but the double dipping in content is really getting tiresome.

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  3. This is what DC should do – reprint “Strange Apparitions” in a deluxe version. Include the original cover art and the special wrap-around covers created for the “Shadow of the Batman” reprint. If available, add any additional Rogers art or examples of original art as a bonus section.

    How hard is that?

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