Hello, I'm kinda new to the Superbat fandom and I was wondering if there's a guide or something for the comics. I don't know if such thing exists but it never hurts to ask! I've never read a comic in my life, so sorry about that but I wanna start in someway. Your fic got me interest in Superbat <33 Thank you and I'm sorry for awkward question!
Ah, what a wonderful question to get! DC Comics are daunting af, I know, so here are a few recommendations for where to start–I recommend getting trade paperbacks of these, I think most of them are still available? Some of these are cut and pasted from an earlier post…
For a pretty full list that runs up to the reboot, you can check out my guide on LJ which covers a LOT of stuff.
- Jeph Loeb remains the go-to writer for Superbat emotions on the old Superman/Batman title: Public Enemies and Absolute Power especially. His run on Batman, Hush, also has some really good Clark/Bruce moments. He cannot plot worth a damn but he delivers the emotional goods. His Superman for All Seasons has no Bruce in it but remains one of my favorite Superman stories.
- Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns is not a favorite of mine, but it’s an important read because it set the tone for a lot of the modern versions of the two. It’s also extremely slashy in a bitter, hatesexy sort of way.
- World’s Finest #282-300. 1982-1986 was a tumultuous time for comic books, and Superman and Batman briefly got very, very close before The Dark Knight came out and shifted the paradigm on their friendship. This run of the World’s Finest title is…well, it’s… it’s got Superman and Batman crying together as they witness the great love of mating space worms. It’s got Superman almost murdering Barry Allen for implying Bruce might be dead, and saving him from mind control through the power of hugs. It’s got Clark crying a single manly tear because Bruce won’t talk to him anymore, and Bruce sadly caressing a picture of the two of them. Seriously, it’s…it’s worth a read if you can get it.
- Kingdom Come by Mark Waid has its flaws, and over the years I’ve come to disagree with his characterization of Superman a bit, but it’s got a LOT of very good interactions between an older, sadder Clark and Bruce. It’s kind of Waid’s answer to The Dark Knight, and features a different kind of rift between them, but one that turns out to be mendable. I had to read it with Wikipedia open, though, because it’s got a HUGE cast.
- Waid and Morrison’s runs on the JLA title, especially the “Tower of Babel,” “Divided We Fall,” and “World War III,” storylines, have a lot of good interactions between Superman and Batman.
- Emperor Joker by Jeph Loeb is a hot mess of a comic book–tons of random characters and an even more random plot–but oh, the hurt/comfort, angst, and suffering for each other! Yes, worth a read.
- If you can ever get your hands on Shogun of Steel–an Elseworld AU in which Bruce is a gender-swapped ninja, with canonical romance between “Bruce” and Clark–please do so.
- You can read most of “The Trust” at the link–it’s a short story about their relationship, short and (very) sweet (if you find sweet “I would totally use a gun to murder you rather than let you hurt people, Clark.” Which I do).
- In current comic books, the recently-ended Batman/Superman title had some really good moments in it and also had beautiful, very abstract art.
- Max Landis’s American Alien had some very good Clark/Bruce content.
- The Supersons title that’s currently ongoing is probably your best bet for Clark/Bruce content in an ongoing title. The focus is on Jon and Damian, but their fathers’ solid friendship is always presented as a contrast to their pricklier alliance.
Feel free to drop me an ask if you want any more details! I’m always happy to talk about Clark and Bruce!