Written by Chip Kidd, and featuring over 490 images by photographer Geoff Spear, Batman Collected is a stunning coffee table book focusing on Batman memorabilia. Published by Titan Books in 1996, Batman Collected covers multiple decades of Dark Knight merchandise, starting with the 1940s and running through to the 1990s.
In essence, the book acts as a historic documentary, showcasing a wealth of Bat-products. From model kits and masks, to tin toys and marionettes, the book is filled with an eclectic array of goodies.
A treasure trove
I first read Batman Collected back in early 1997, when I stumbled across the book in a discount bookstore. I was forever looking out for Batman comics and graphic novels, and this book caught my eye.
Thumbing through the pages my eyes lit up at all of the wonderful imagery. Not only were the pictures beautiful to look at, but the sheer amount of Batman merchandise seemed unbelievable.
This was all pre-internet, pre-YouTube, and pre-Instagram, so I had no way of seeing all of this merchandise outside of a museum. This book blew my mind, so I bought it, took it home and read it from cover to cover.
And do you know what? All these years later, despite having the internet at the touch of my fingers, I still dip in and out of Batman Collected, to immerse myself in all of the Bat-goodies.
I find some of the early products fascinating, and occasionally odd, while I adore looking at the more modern items (yes, I’m classing the 1980s & 1990s as modern). I wish I owned them all, but sadly I don’t have the space or income for such a collection.
And that’s one of the reasons this book works so well. I can do a deep dive into Batman history, without needing to own any of the items, which is very handy.
This is a coffee table book, which places its emphasis on big, bold imagery. There is a running commentary throughout, but it largely tells a story through incredible pictures.
In addition to the striking images, for me, this book has two standout features. One is a series of four-page spreads, which add even more beauty to this book.
These four-page spreads, dotted throughout, allow the collection of Batman merchandise to ‘spill out’ of the book. My favourite is a spread which showcases a set of trading cards and looks so damn good.
The other highlight is a cardboard insert, which allows readers to ‘build-your-own’ paper Batman. This is a fun added extra, which slots into the book and offers something a little tactile to go along with the copious amount of pictures.
If you like the look of this book, and you want one for yourself, then you should know Batman Collected is no longer in print. The book hit shelves in 1996 as a hardback edition, before it was released in softback, but then it was deleted – so you won’t find this book in shops.
But the good news is Batman Collected isn’t difficult to find on the secondary market. If you wish to purchase a copy, just take a look on eBay and you will find one at a fair price without having to do much searching.
I believe Batman Collected to be a fabulous book, and one that I am happy to have had on my shelf for almost 25 years. The content still feels as fresh as the day I first locked eyes on it, and I can’t see me ever parting with this book.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Batman Collected. For more Batman-related posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.