In honor of what has been called “Batmonth” around here, I thought I would put together a list of our favorite Batman artists. Who we consider the best hands to draw the wrinkles on Batman’s cowl. It was an intense process, with hours spent screaming ourselves horse. Eventually, we settled on these ten names…

10. Greg Cupallo

“Where would Batman be today without the pencils of Capullo? He has defined the new Batman, not to mention Gotham City. The extreme precision and grace of his panel layouts ensure the correct emotional response from the reader. He creates suspense and mystery when necessary but can also deliver on the fast paced, action packed moments. Capullo brings you Batman in a way you have never seen before.”

9. Carmine Infantino

“Infantino redesigned Batman back in 1964 and was the first to draw the Dark Knight without ghosting as Kane. I’m a huge fan of that blue cape and cowl popping against that grey body suit. The Batman would not be where he is today without the penciling of Infantino.”

8.Bruce Timm

“ Timm’s style should be very familiar to fans of DC even if they don’t know Bruce Timm extensively. He provided most of the art designs for Batman:TAS, Superman:TAS, Justice League Unlimited, and Green Lantern:TAS. His comic book work includes ‘Batman: Mad Love’ and “Batman: Harley and Ivy”, along with dozens of beautiful pinups. His women are sexy without feeling exploitive, and his heroes are barrel-chested and buff. His style is reminiscent of the ‘40s and ‘50s, without feeling old-fashioned; and it has defined the DC Universe for a generation.”

7.Frank Miller

“Even though Miller only drew Batman for less then ten total comics and a good half of those issues are terrible what is striking about the not terrible art is how much it’s influenced modern comics today. Current runs of Iron Fist, Black Science,Copra, Deadly Class & MUCH of Zero Year in Batman is directly influenced by Millers art from TDKR. Considering how much those comics mean right now I’d say his art is very important not just for Batman but the medium as a whole.”

6.Norm Breyfogle

“While not as active in comics today, Norm Breyfogle has a deep association with The Dark Knight. He started out on Detective Comics, before moving to Batman. When DC launched Shadow of the Bat, the first new in continuity Batman solo series since 1940, Breyfogle was awarded the initial art duties. (In our present era of seemingly endless Bat-titles, we forget how big a deal it was in the 90s when DC announced a new Batman book). Along the way Breyfolge co-created fan favorite characters such as the Ventriloquist and Victor Zsasz, as well as drawing the debut of the Tim Drake’s new Robin costume. Most importantly, though, Breyfogle lent a distinct style to The Caped Crusader. Where Aparo and Adams emphasized straight lines, Breyfogle’s Batman has a more flowing, expressionist look. His Batman is very much a creature of shadows, a phantom of the night. And for many readers, Breyfogle’s vision remains one of, if not, the essential rendition of The Caped Crusader.”

5.Jim Aparo

“Jim Aparo started his Batman art in the pages of The Brave and The Bold where he started as a fill-in, but ended up doing for 100 issues.  After that he Co-created Batman and the Outsiders with Mike W. Barr, where he drew this badass Egyptian hieroglyph-like cover. One thing I find pretty incredible is the fact that for both these titles, he penciled, inked, and lettered nearly every issue; as Guy Fieri would say, “That’s Bananas!.” He also spent time on Detective Comics before Moving to Batman’s solo title in 1987. Among his most famous contributions to Batman proper, are “A Death in The Family”, “A Lonely Place of Dying”, and regular series artist during the epic “Knightfall”, he’s responsible for the spine snap heard round the world. Aparo’s Bats was definitely in the same house as perennial favorite Neal Adams, and I also really enjoyed his fight choreography. When someone was kicked or punched in Aparo’s comics you almost didn’t need the onomatopoeia, because of the explosive layout. He also drew a rather streamlined Batman, with a swimmer’s physique, that I prefer over the bulky bodybuilder some artist go with.”

4.Tim Sale

“Sale’s resume includes (but far from limited to) ‘Batman: Haunted Knight, The Long Halloween, and Dark Victory’. His influence is clear in many Batman artists, and for good reason.  His figures are often exaggerated without feeling cartoony,  and abstract without being plain. His use of line and shadow, combined with a Pulp sensibility make his art feel both old and new at once. Always a treat for the eyes.”

3.Gene colan

“Without a doubt, Mr. Colan is one of the all-time greats for any character–especially my boy Daredevil. However, his time on Batman was pretty spectacular, and he brought his horror tinged aesthetic with him to the title. His previous experience with both Daredevil and Dracula I’m sure helped him draw Batman, and his natural tendency to use heavy chiaroscuro was perfect for the dark alleys and streets of Gotham at night. DC has a hardcover collection of his work on Batman, that’s worth checking out–it’s on my to-buy list, which at this point is almost as big as Dean’s to-read pile 🙂 Colan’s run on Batman moved things thematically to a more grim place, though the potential of that wouldn’t be fully realized for a year after his departure when Frank Miller unleashed his own version. I think Colon’s strongest attribute was how he played with layouts, and provided dynamism to movement, and though his time was relatively short on Batman and Detective Comics, the impression he left was fantastic.”

2.David Mazzucchelli

“It’s hard to believe just how important one artists work was on what’s proved to be the most popular super hero in the world but in 4 issues Mazzucchelli created what’s been the modern template for Batman & Gotham City that would take over the world. Mazzucchelli remodeled the Batman mythos to match the modern urban dystopia of the day in a style that is truly timeless. If you’d read a Batman comic, watched a movie or cartoon past 1987 Mazucchelli’s art is ingrained in it’s DNA.”

1.Neal Adams

“Neal Adams was not the first artist to strip away the camp from The Caped Crusader, yet it is his style which has come to epitomize the Batman’s “New Look”. Adams’ Batman dominates any scene he is in, emitting a calm confidence. More notably, though, is how Adams’ Batman moves with a graceful athleticism, betraying as little effort as possible. At times, it takes only one movement, one gesture to disarm an opponent. Other situations (such as the iconic dessert duel with Ra’s al Ghul) reveal greater exertion, which Adams invests with suitable drama. There is an epic sweep to much of his work, especially towards the end of his Batman run as he experiments more with panel layout. Then there is the “The Joker’s Five Way Revenge,” in which Adams returns Batman’s primary adversary to his roots as well, making the Clown Prince of Crime truly chilling once again. All these reasons (and more) are why people speak of Batman artists before Adams and after Adams. Neal Adams captured the look of Batman not only for his time, but for all time. For NBC, setting him at the top of our list was an easy decision.”

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think of these artists and why others deserved to make the list.