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:
LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT: STEVE ENGLEHART HC
Written by STEVE ENGLEHART
Art by MARSHALL ROGERS, TERRY AUSTIN, WALTER SIMONSON, and others
Cover by MARSHALL ROGERS and TERRY AUSTIN
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.
— 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.