I'm creating a website that collects a kind of "best of" Batman - it's primarily for fan fiction ('cause by god someone needs to sort the wheat from the chaff - there's some really amazing writing out there but of course 95% of the stuff written is utter drivel). But I want to include a selection of comics, books, animated and movies - a kind of annotated bibliography of Batman. The site focuses on the noir aspects of Batman - Bats as hard-boiled detective, mad criminals and the harsh city. My current list is:
Strange Apparitions (the original Englehart run in Detective Comics in 77-78)
Dark Knight, Dark City
Gotham Central (which I just finished reading and it blew me away)
Blind Justice (I don't know how I missed this gem from the early 1990s, but it's fantastic)
Faces and Blades - two three-issue runs from Legends of the Dark Knight
The Killing Joke
The Joker's Five-Way Revenge (Batman #251)
The Dark Knight Returns will go on the list, with some caveats.
I'm considering Face the Face, but I haven't read it yet, and possibly Detective Comics #569-570, which tells of the Joker's corruption of Catwoman, but again I haven't read it - so if anyone can give me a review of either of these, I'd appreciate it.
I need to reread Long Halloween before I put it on the list, because I remember it as okay, but not great. There'll be mentions of No Man's Land, A Death in the Family, Dark Victory and Hush, but none of these overly impressed me as being great writing. And I am really trying to concentrate on stories that have a Nolan-verse-esque real crime kind of feel.
I know there's a great story from the 70s, that's mostly written in prose with only a few illustrations - I think it's in one of the collection TPBs, maybe even Batman in the 70s. If someone could come up with that title or issue number, I'd be ever so grateful. I think it was an O'Neil story and it was just Batman tracking a gangster.
Any other recommendations?
I also need some help identifying the best of the animated series material that's in this vein. I've only seen bits and pieces of the animated series. If there are any really standout episodes, I could include those - or maybe I'll just do short paragraphs on each series.
Books are going on the list too. I read Ultimate Evil ages ago and it was pretty good, and I'm reading one called Dead White right now. It seems to be based in the Nolan-verse continuity and it's not half bad. Any other novels out there that I might not know of?