For three quarters of a century, the Folio Society has been marrying illustrations and text to produce gorgeous works that honor classic texts and provide a unique experience of the senses. Additionally, the Society has contracted with DC Comics and Marvel Comics to highlight each company’s characters in a curated, thoughtful way, producing compilations that pay homage to their superheroes and dazzle with their gorgeous designs and craftsmanship. To that end, the Folio Society has just released DC: Batman, timed to the Caped Crusader’s 85th anniversary, a collection with a selection of comics that pays tribute to the hero, his history, and the creators who told his tales throughout the decades.

We spoke recently with James Rose, the Head of Editorial for the publisher, about the Folio Society, his work with the organization, the composition and genesis of DC: Batman, and the process of selecting the right stories for the collection to properly celebrate the Dark Knight’s 85th anniversary.



FreakSugar: Before we get into your Batman celebration titles, what can you tell us about the mission of the Folio Society?

James Rose: The Folio Society has been matching great illustration with the very best text for over 75 years. Almost as long as the Caped Crusader has been around! We’re an employee-owned company dedicated to bringing our readers lasting literary treasures presented in the most beautiful, original ways.

FS: How long have you been head of editorial for the Folio Society? What does your work mean to you?

JR: I’ve been Head of Editorial for around 5 years and before that was an editor and in charge of the limited editions programme. I’m very lucky to be working with incredible people committed to championing beloved books, the best illustrators in the world and the finest book-making craftspeople. Each title we produce really is a labour of love, an obsession, and since they can be years in the making each one is truly special. It’s a real privilege to work on these incredible titles.



FS: On to DC: Batman, what can you tell us about this anniversary compilation?

JR: Following our first DC collaboration last year – DC Comics: The Golden Age – we really wanted to focus on a single character and Batman was instantly our first choice. Working with the incomparable Jenette Kahn we’ve brought together some of the best Batman comics, as well as a replica copy of Batman #1 from March 1940. Within the main volume there are 12 stories, including Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27 of course, as well as a fascinating introduction by Jenette charting the changes in the character, why we chose the comics seen here, and even mention of some that didn’t quite make it. The accompanying replica of Batman #1 reproduces the whole comic – features, ads, the whole thing from cover to cover – and is designed to really bring back the feel and look of the original comic. It should be just as it was when it hit the newsstands in the forties.

FS: Can you walk us through how you decide the look of a book like this? How do you approach it? 

JR: Working with our Art Director, Sheri Gee, we knew we wanted to stay as close as possible to our source material – those original Batman comics – so we have conceived a cover design using the famous costume and a slipcase featuring the iconic bat signal from the early comics. One of my favourite parts is the endpapers, which feature a three-panel montage of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman from Detective Comics #471. We also absolutely had to use the original comics inside too, so we had each one individually scanned from copies held in the DC archive, as well of course as the replica Batman #1 where even the paper was matched with the newsprint paper of the original.



FS: The stories that you chose for DC: Batman are iconic. What was the process of selecting the tales you included?

JR: Well, it certainly wasn’t easy. Picking just 320 pages of comics from 85 years of amazing Batman material is a tricky task. I started by drawing up a long list, from which Jenette Kahn took some and added others of her own choosing, until we had a final list. Sadly though, we just had too many great stories to fit into this one volume so we decided to present at least one story per decade up to the turn of the millennium. There’s still plenty more to choose from for a follow-up volume, I hope!

DC: Batman is on sale now from the Folio Society. It can be purchased exclusively at this link.

From the official press release:

The Folio Society, independent publisher of beautifully illustrated hardback books, in collaboration with DC, will celebrate the 85th anniversary of the first comic book appearance of DC’s Dark Knight Detective with the release of DC: Batman. Created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, Batman first appeared in 1939’s Detective Comics #27 and since then the Dark Knight has stood as a symbol of determination, courage and justice to generations of fans for over 80 years. Batman is one of the most iconic fictional characters in the world, and is a self-made Super Hero, notable not for his super powers, but for his intelligence, determination, and tech savvy.

This collectible compilation includes twelve seminal comics, by a host of iconic writers and artists— including Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Marshall Rogers, Frank Miller, Dave Mazzucchelli, Alan Moore, Brian Bolland and Kelley Jones—all selected and introduced by former DC President, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of DC, Jennette Kahn. Along with the 320-page one-of-a-kind deluxe book, DC: Batman also comes with a stand-alone replica copy of Batman #1. Scanned in its entirety from an original 1940 copy, the replica copy of the Batman #1 comic book, which includes the original back-up strips and vintage ads and introduces DC’s Clown Prince of Crime, aka The Joker, and The Cat, who would come to be known as Catwoman.

“Created towards the end of the Great Depression by artist Bob Kane with writer Bill Finger, Batman is an icon as familiar as James Bond or Tarzan, one who has evolved to reflect the changing attitudes of the twentieth century,” said Folio Society Head of Editorial, James Rose. “The stories selected for DC: Batman reveal how the character and his billionaire alter-ego Bruce Wayne gradually evolved from the dutiful crimefighter of the 1940s to a man possessed, as crazy as the criminals he puts away. The Caped Crusader faces a rogue’s gallery steeped in gothic horror, from the Weimar cinema-inspired The Joker to the Jekyll/Hyde figure of Two-Face and the Moriarty-like Ra’s al Ghul.”

“Trauma is a through-line in the Batman mythology,” writes Jenette Kahn in her introduction. “It has made psychopaths of Batman’s foes and brought him to the edge of madness himself. Batman’s battle is not just against criminals and crime. He fears the day he’ll look into a mirror and see, not Bruce Wayne’s face, but The Joker’s.”  The first woman at the helm of the legendary comic book publisher, Jenette Kahn  helped transform comics into a sophisticated art form during her 27-year tenure from 1976 to 2002.

“The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Batman: Year One, by Miller and Dave Mazzucchelli, and the terrifying classic The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland are widely regarded as among the greatest comic books ever created,” said Folio Society Publishing Director, Tom Walker. “These stories changed the graphic medium forever with their combination of cinematic storytelling, shocking violence and literary depth and serve as centerpiece texts for DC: Batman.”

DC: Batman includes:


Facsimile: Batman #1 (Spring 1940)

Writer: Bill Finger

Cover artists: Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson

Artists: Bob Kane, Sheldon Moldoff

Editor: Whitney Ellsworth


The Bat-Man

Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)

Writer: Bill Finger

Artist: Bob Kane
Editor: Vincent Sullivan


Robin—the Boy Wonder

Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)

Writer: Bill Finger

Artists: Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson
Editor: Whitney Ellsworth


The Crimes of Two-Face!

Detective Comics #66 (August 1942)

Writer: Bill Finger

Artists: Jerry Robinson, George Roussos

Letterers: Ira Schnapp
Editor: Whitney Ellsworth


Batman and Green Arrow: The Senator’s Been Shot!

The Brave and the Bold #85 (September 1969)

Writer: Bob Haney
Cover artist: Neal Adams

Penciler: Neal Adams

Inker: Dick Giordano

Letterer: Ben Oda

Editor: Murray Boltinoff


Daughter of the Demon

Batman #232 (June 1971)

Writer: Dennis O’Neil

Cover artist: Neal Adams

Penciler: Neal Adams

Inker: Dick Giordano

Letterer: John Costanza

Editor: Julius Schwartz


The Dead Yet Live

Detective Comics #471 (August 1977)

Writer: Steve Englehart

Cover artists: Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin, Tatjana Wood, Gaspar Saladino

Penciler: Marshall Rogers

Inker: Terry Austin

Colorists: Marshall Rogers

Letterer: John Workman

Editors: Julius Schwartz, E. Nelson Bridwell


The Dark Knight Returns

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 (June 1986)

Writer: Frank Miller

Cover artists: Frank Miller, Lynn Varley

Penciler: Frank Miller

Inker: Klaus Janson

Colorist: Lynn Varley

Letterer: John Costanza

Editors: Dick Giordano, Dennis O’Neil


Batman: Year One—Chapter One: Who I Am—How I Come to Be

Batman #404 (February 1987)

Writer: Frank Miller

Artist: Dave Mazzucchelli

Colorist: Richmond Lewis

Letterer: Todd Klein

Editor: Dennis O’Neil


Batman: The Killing Joke (July 1988)

Writer: Alan Moore

Cover artists: Brian Bolland, Richard Bruning

Artist: Brian Bolland

Colorist: John Higgins

Letterer: Richard Starkings

Editors: Dennis O’Neil, Dan Raspler


The Last Arkham (Part One)

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1 (June 1992)

Writer: Alan Grant

Cover artist: Brian Stelfreeze

Penciler: Norm Breyfogle

Inker: Norm Breyfogle

Colorist: Adrienne Roy

Letterer: Todd Klein

Editors: Scott Peterson, Dennis O’Neil

Knightfall Part 1: Crossed Eyes and Dotty Teas

Batman #492 (May 1993)

Writer: Doug Moench

Cover artists: Kelley Jones, Bob LeRose

Penciler: Norm Breyfogle

Inker: Norm Breyfogle

Colorist Adrienne Roy

Letterer: Richard Starkings

Editors: Scott Peterson, Jordan B. Gorfinkel, Dennis O’Neil

The release of DC: Batman is the second release in the Folio Society publishing program with DC, following the release of the acclaimed DC: The Golden Age. DC: Batman has been made according to The Folio Society’s exceptional production standards. Scanned from original copies held in the DC archives, the comics have been reproduced in 10” x 7” treasury format. An anti-scratch laminated hardcover features Batman’s signature silhouette, with titles foil-embossed in yellow and midnight blue, the book itself cowled in a pitch-black slipcase bearing the famous Bat-Signal. A compendium of gothic artwork and Batarang-sharp storytelling, DC: Batman is an unmissable investigation into the adventures and pathology of one of the world’s most famous – and most troubled – DC Super Heroes. DC: Batman will be available from the Folio Society on February 20, 2024. The Folio Society edition of DC: Batman, selected and introduced by Jenette Kahn, will be available for £65 / US $100 on February 20, 2024 exclusively from