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Batman: Son of the Demon

Hardcover and Softcover editions of 1987's Batman: Son of the Demon.

Hardcover and Softcover editions of 1987's Batman: Son of the Demon.

Released as a hardcover original graphic novel in September 1987 (a softcover edition followed that December), Batman: Son of the Demon is to me, a significant Copper Age book, in that:

1) It was the first major “outside of the monthly series” Batman project post Dark Knight, as it was published before The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, or The Cult.

2) It featured Ra’s al Ghul as the central antagonist (well, sort of), a Bat-villain that probably wasn’t known well or at all by casual Batman fans…especially not familiar to the influx of new readers / collectors during the Copper Age of Comics. Son of the Demon was definitely my introduction to Ra’s al Ghul, whom I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce his name.

3) It was released as a 96 page hardcover with dust jacket, at a $14.95 price point. I know that for me, it was (at the time) by far the most I ever paid for a new comic book item.

Written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Jerry Bingham, Batman: Son of the Demon was a gorgeously produced book…I mean just look at the cover shots at the top of this post. As for the story, here’s the book’s description from DC’s site:

Batman: Son of the Demon combines great character development and superb writing to realistically tell a tale in which Batman must form an uneasy alliance with his greatest adversary. When a demented terrorist creates a weapon that allows him to control the weather, the Dark Knight Detective joins forces with Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter Talia in order to stop the madman from creating worldwide havoc. But as the final showdown occurs, Batman finds himself torn between stopping the ruthless terrorist and protecting Talia, the women who is now carrying his unborn child.

I know that a few years ago, DC reprinted it in standard comic book size with a cover price of $5.99 (to tie in with the “Batman & Son” story arc), however I did a quick eBay search for the original hardcover, and found some copies that are priced at the same or not much above the original 1987 cover price.

Here’s the thing about the hardcover: If you score a truly unread copy in the original shrinkwrap, and open it up, there should be postcard still in there…this was a mail-in offer for a limited edition poster of the hardcover’s cover paitning. F’awesome…

…and I did it, back in the day. And I pretty clearly remember receiving the poster in a strong mailing tube, the poster itself was printed on nice heavy glossy poster stock. I framed it, and maybe a year or two later sold it. Yeah, I regret it now, as the limited edition Son of the Demon poster is probably very difficult to find in any shape, and again, it was a mail-in only offer thing, never available in comic shops.  F*ck, I wonder where my Son of the Demon poster is now…

More info / resources:

Mike W. Barr is on the Comic Book Database here, and Jerry Bingham’s official site is here.

The softcover edition of Batman: Son of the Demon is in print, so ask for it at your local comic shop. If no luck, click here to purchase it on Amazon

…looking for the original hardcover? As I mentioned, found quite a few reasonably priced on eBay!

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