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Batman: Strange Apparitions Paperback – December 1, 1999
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One of the true and unanticipated highlights on a dull and tepid comic book scene in the late 1970's, the Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers/Terry Austin run in Detective Comics is one of the most memorable eras of the Dark Knight's adventures. Now available in a single volume, Batman: Strange Apparitions featuring an introduction by Englehart and a new cover by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin. Reprinting Detective Comics #469-476, #478, and #479 (which also includes work by writer Len Wein and artist Walter Simonson), these stories chroniclize Batman's struggles with a corrupt city government headed by "Boss" Rupert Thorne along with battling classic villians such as Hugo Strange, the Penguin, Deadshot, Clayface, Dr Phosphorus, and the Joker. This classic run was the blueprint for the first Tim Burton Batman movie and Batman: The Animated Series.
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Also this book contains the classic Joker story, "The Laughing Fish." This is one of the best Batman plots of all time. The Joker commits one of the most unusual and inventive crimes of all.
This also explains how Hugo Strange came to know the identity of Batman. Some of the episodes of "Batman: the Animated Series" are inspired from these comics. If you are a fan of the animated show from the '90s, you'll also appreciate these comics, the inspiration for some of those cartoons. On a side note, the animated series is one of the greatest works of television, fictional or non-fictional, I have ever experienced. The comics from the "Strange Apparitions" era provided much of its inspiration.
So this is a good sampling of the Batman and his exploits.