The Dark Knight Reads: Fifteen Essential Batman Graphic Novels

The Bat-books that formed a hero
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a death in the family
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7. 'Batman: A Death in the Family'

Democracy in action! When a new Robin proved unpopular in the 1980s, DC gave its fans a 900 number and a choice – should the Joker kill him? The fans spoke, and this angsty melodrama is the result. It's earnest to a fault but transcends the stunt nature of the story with rock-solid art from definitive 1980s Bat-artist Jim Aparo and with the inspired lunacy of writer Jim Starlin's version of the Joker. Case in point: dude beats a teenage boy to death with a crowbar, then seeks refuge from Batman by becoming Iran's ambassador to the United Nations.

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