While they haven’t reached Marvel’s level of reformatting their trades, DC does release a dizzying array of formats for their classics, from the Absolutes to the omnibus to the deluxe and…even more. (We’re actually starting a column on reprints this week to make some sense of it all.) But it seems an upcoming new edition of BATMAN: YEAR ONE, the Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli classic, isn’t the one you should be giving permanent home to on your shelf. The Comics Journal has the scoop on Mazzucchelli’s disappointment with this edition, based on out-of-focus files and a redesign.

DC just sent me this book last week, and I really hope people don’t buy it. I didn’t even know they were making it, and I don’t understand why they thought it was necessary —  several years ago, DC asked me if I’d help put together a deluxe edition of Batman: Year One, and Dale Crain and I worked for months to try to make a definitive version. Now whoever’s in charge has thrown all that work in the garbage.

Mazzucchelli says he contacted DC repeatedly but never received a response.

For your shopping purposes here’s the 2005 Chip Kidd-designed endorsed edition. UPDATED: Per the comments, this is the CORRECT one:
batman year one chip kidd

Here’s the new one:


And here’s the DVD cover the new one is inspired by.


  1. Look on the bright side at least it does not have the ugly DC logo…kidding aside, this looks like an effort to get the DCAU buyers into the comics. I know some people who don’t like the comics but LOVE the DCAU, which to my knowledge has been a money maker for DC and a popular at Redbox.

  2. I’m confused–does this have anything the previous “Deluxe Edition” does not (aside from the re-coloring, etc.)? More pencils by DM or more script pages by FM or anything?

  3. To Steve Flack: To be fair, let’s place the credit (or blame) where it belongs. It was my original suggestion to not have the word “Batman” on the front cover at all, because, you know, there’s a drawing of Batman RIGHT THERE above the words “Year One.”

  4. To Matthew Southworth: No, just inferior production values. And the re-coloring is only of the cover. The interior is Richmond’s color, but printed from corrupted, out-of focus digital files.

  5. David-

    Thanks for the response. Though, I really prefer your idea of not having the name on the cover at all. The printed version just looks like a factory error. It’s a shame that it’s the only flaw in a wonderful edition.

    Now, can we please get a complete “Rubber Blanket” hardcover. I still only have 2 of 3.

  6. David: Thanks for clearing that up. I was also wondering about the differences between the editions. BTW: Were there significant differences to the “definitive” version you worked on a few years ago?

    And finally, Thanks for your work on that book. I really enjoyed it way back when.

  7. Thanks, David, for the clarification.

    And I would sure love a collection of your creator-owned work, like the stuff you did for the Japanese market, your New Yorker cartoons (though I dunno, does the New Yorker own those?), all the little stories for Snake Eyes, etc. Any chance of your collecting those things?

    RUBBER BLANKET was the book that taught me to look at comics’ rendering in a totally new way. Thanks for that!

  8. First off I am a huge fan of Mr. Mazzucchelli’s work. With that said, I am sure there is a reason DC did what they did.

    Does anyone think DC would hire Mr. Mazzucchelli to work on it (possibly even get compensated) only to screw him over?

    Doesn’t make sense to me. I’m just trying to keep an honest, level head here (before the pitchforks come out… again).

    the Tiki

  9. Not getting book. I have the issues it came out and I have the 2005 one.

    Mazzucchelli, what do you think of the 2005 version?

  10. @Roberto–the 2005 one is the one that Mazzucchelli put so much work into, with the extra pencil pages and design roughs and so forth.

  11. Mr. Mazzucchelli’s description of the new book sounds disappointing all around, but the worst part is the glossy pages. The Year One tpb has always been one of the best reprints around because they recoloured it and put it on matte paper stock. I’ve been peeved for years because Marvel never followed suit with Born Again, instead reprinting that story with garish colours on glossy stock. These things make a huge difference to the reading experience.

  12. DC has a terrible track record with their collected editions. It’s just unimaginable that Marvel, of all companies, makes them look like what they are – carelessly put together with an attitude bordering on contempt for the fans who pay money to read their favorite stories in a collected edition. (And yes, I know no one puts a gun to the fan’s head etc etc).

    And apparently, the New DC is just going to ramp that contempt up. DC is putting the care into their collected editions that they put into the design of their new, er, “logo.” I mean, SERIOUSLY, how HARD CAN IT BE to put together collected edition books of previously printed material?

  13. I like the new cover. Has a Cassidy feel. The older one looks a little stale. I also like the fact this new edition has glossy paper.
    It will be curious to see how they changed the colouring. I dont know what corrupted, out-of focus digital files look like.

  14. Just ordered the previous edition in paperback – don’t currently have a copy and this sounds like a disaster.

  15. About the cover, am I dreaming or is it not in fact based on a Mazzuchelli drawing from the original issues or an earlier trade? I know I saw it well before that DVD came out. I used to have the graphitti collection “The Complete Frank Miller Batman”, perhaps it was in there?

  16. Two thoughts:

    As long as DC doesn’t make Bucky a Blonde (as in the recent Marvel Avengers reprint), they’ll be ahead of the game.

    And sure, it’s pretty hard to improve on a Chip Kidd design. At least by mortal men.

  17. @Scott–it is a Mazzucchelli drawing. I think his frustration with it is that it’s just a pinup being used as a cover, instead of the carefully considered piece that was designed to BE a cover. In other words, why have the artist go to great lengths to make something definitive if you’re only going to corrupt it with lazy choices later?

    I always liked that drawing, but I thought the bold slashing cover was cool (and I always loved the title treatment).

  18. I have come to realize, especially in this last year, that DC is no longer interested in making good quality comics. It seems that the comics medium is now just a “lab experiment” to see what will or won’t be made into a movie or an animated film. Don’t get me wrong, I like the movies and ESPECIALLY the cartoons but I also used to love the comics. There is just very little left to love these days.

  19. Did anyone else here loathe the DVD version of the tale? They didn’t even try to recapture any of the dark moodiness. They just told the story with animation as bright and glossy as the old “Superman/Batman Hour of Adventure” on Saturday mornings back in the 60s.

  20. Danny Limor: Totally agree with that. DC has become so unprofessional, especially with Dan DiDio and Jim Lee’s promotions to co-publishers. DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee drastically reboot the iconic legendary DC characters, making them less iconic and recognizably accessible to new readers in the process. And Frank Miller’s Dark Knight: Boy Wonder was announced by Dan DiDio and Jim Lee years ago but Jim Lee has never bothered to finish his pencils on it yet. Dan DiDio and Jim Lee should be demoted.

  21. Just Got New The Year One Deluxe Edition Hardcover
    ( Yes, The Yellow one) as a present just this 3rd of
    November for my Birthday, It was gift from my girlfriend
    I loved the Novel I enjoyed it alot than the Animated Movie
    and I don’t know why…
    But I might get the Chip Kidd Design aswell because
    Mr. David Mazzucchelli work was really Awesome!!! and as BATMAN fan.
    Batman Fights for Justice, I’ll Give Mazzucchelli JUSTICE by Getting The Original Design… DC Fans Don’t Lose hope, :P and Mr. David Don’t give up on your fans…

    ^._____.^ \m/

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