Comic Store Employees Reflect On Favorite Batman Comics

The Dark Knight (2008) with Christian Bale comes on top in Patch poll on Batman movies.

Chris Barchuk is excited for The Dark Knight Rises, so excited he’s going to pass up seeing it on opening weekend. 

“I can’t be with those huge crowds,” he said. “I want to be able to focus on the movie. This weekend I’ll go see Spider-Man while everyone’s at Batman. Next weekend I’ll go see Batman.”

But while the owner of Funny Business, a comic book story in Nyack, might sit in an empty theater watching The Amazing Spider-Man this weekend, Batman has been his guy since Barchuk was 14-years-old.

“He’s got no powers at all,” Barchuk said. “All he has is his brain and a bunch of money, but he can take on anyone.”

But a lot of Batman’s source material is based on decades of comics, and so in the lead up to Friday’s movie opening, it seemed like a good time to check in with some comic book lovers about their favorite Batman stories. 

Barchuk’s love of Batman started when he read Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the 1986 series of comics written by Frank Miller.

“For me, that started my life as a comic collector,” he said. “That one completely changed my view of comic books and what they could be. The storytelling in that one is just amazing. It was this dark story geared toward adults.”

In his opinion, the current trilogy of Batman movies, with Christopher Nolan director and Christian Bale staring as Batman, have been the best filmed versions.

(In a Patch poll, The Dark Knight (2008) with Christian Bale comes on top out of the Batman movies.)

“What makes Christian Bale the best is that he’s great as Batman and Bruce Wayne,” Barchuk said. “I think all previous actors have only gotten half right. Either they’re great as Batman and terrible as Bruce Wayne or vice versa. Like Michael Keaton wasn’t really that believable as this billionaire playboy character.” 

Kris Dougherty, manager of in Pearl River, agrees that the team behind the current Batman movies has been the best so far.

“I don’t think the character has been done a lot of justice before these past two movies,” he said. “The animated series in the [19]90s was probably the best depiction of this superhero world set up in the comics. It got the tone right. I guess a cartoon is going to have an advantage, though, because it can make it look exactly how the comics look.”

Dougherty said arguably his favorite Batman comic is Batman: Year One, an “absolute classic,” he said.

“The first movie of the current run, Batman Begins, is pretty much the story of Year One,” Dougherty said.

Carl Etter, assistant manager of in Nanuet, said his favorite Batman comic is Hush, which ran from 2002-2003. He also said he really likes Batman: The Killing Joke, which he said contains the best Joker story in any of the comics.

Of the movie versions, Etter also said he thought Nolan did the best job ever though he thinks “the voice is a little on the silly side.” But of all Batman performance, Etter likes Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in the Batman: The Animated Series and has continued to voice the character in numerous other cartoons and video games.

While Etter likes the recent Batman films, he said he felt Tim Burton’s first Batman film, from 1989, has a more engaging Gotham than the Nolan versions.

“The movies now are very grounded,” Etter said. “The Tim Burton Batman films, the Gotham just has so much more personality.”

There are still numerous versions of Batman comics running currently, and all three agreed that the comic simply title Batman that’s written by Scott Snyder is the best.

“He just writes a good story,” Etter said. “There’s a lot of tension. He writes good action too, but the tension is what makes it great.”

While all three work for stores that sell comics, they all said the release of a big comic book film brings in some more customers to the story, but for different reasons or at different times.

Barchuk said that before movies come out, his store sees an uptick in people selling collector’s editions. He also said people come in before the movie to purchase the comic they think that particular film will borrow its source material from.

“With this movie, we’ve had a lot of people come in and buy Batman: Knightfall,” he said. “That’s where Bane makes his first appearance, and Bane is the villain in this movie.”

Dougherty said that if the movie is based on one story from a comic, like 300 or Watchmen, more people stop in to purchase the comic before the movie. With stories based on a perhaps a few different comics, Dougherty said people tend to stop in after seeing the movie.

Etter said people stop into ToyWiz quite early to pick up comics they think films will borrow from. He said that as soon as films are announced, people stop in to purchase the comics a year or so early. Recently, The Avengers featured a post-credit scene that strongly hinted the villain Thanos will appear in the expected sequel.

“So after that movie came out we had a lot of people come in looking for Thanos’ first appearance, which is in Iron Man 55,” he said.


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