By Zack Quaintance — Batman and Catwoman are getting married (probably) in Batman #50, which drops on July 4. Unlike most weddings on holidays, the inconvenience here is actually minimal (no RSVP required...just go and buy the book) and the ceremony will likely get bombed or gassed or whatever by the Joker. You know how it goes—ol’ Batman is fated to forever make obsessive sacrifices to illustrate how his crusade against crime precludes him from being truly happy. Aren’t comics a nice escape?
That all, however, is a problem for our leather-clad couple to address later. These days before the nuptials are reserved for basking in romance, for hope that this time will be different, that keeping Bats tormented and alone has become a tired trope DC is willing to trade for expanded narrative options, you know, like having a happy married couple getting bombed or gassed or whatever by the Joker. At least for a couple years and a few dozen issues, maybe.
Anyway, in honor of said romance, comic book artists throughout the industry have created more than 40 variant covers...and counting. This is, to be certain, an overwhelming number of choices, even for savvy and adept collectors. So, we’re here today to help by laying out some of our favorites plus a few quick words about why we like each of them.
SPECIAL NOTE: I am a sappy fool about all things weddings-related. Apologies in advance if any of this tips into mush! Also, much thanks to Twitter user @batcatposts, who did a stellar job collecting the variants as they were announced.
Let’s say I do!
Top 5 Best Batman #50 Covers
Standard Cover by Mikel Janin
As noted, I’m a bit of a sentimentalist with weddings, and so this classic You may now kiss the bride shot, surrounded by flowers, is a must for me. I also like it as a companion piece to the cover of Batman #44, a Joelle Jones piece that gave us a wonderful look at Catwoman’s perfect wedding dress.
Comic Sketch Art Variant by Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson is one of my favorite Batman cover artists of all time, dating back to his early 2000 covers for Greg Rucka’s run on Detective Comics, and this cover is classic Dave Johnson, complete with minimal design, strong monochromatic colors, and an image that speaks to the heart of the featured character, Catwoman. Bruce is entirely absent here, save for the Bat iconography on the dress, and that’s just fine. When it comes to weddings, the bride is the headliner, after all.
Dynamic Forces Variant by Jae Lee
This one is a strong contender for our overall favorite. It easily makes the best use of the history between the couple with that colorful bit in the background, while at the same time dedicating the foreground to Selina’s dress and the romantic tension that has long driven this relationship—is she friend or foe? Does she love Batman? More importantly, does she love Batman enough to overcome the urge to rob Batman? It’s a cover with more questions than answers, which is my favorite type of art.
Salefish Comics Variant by Joshua Middleton
Joshua Middleton has really emerged as one of the best cover artists in comics as of late, creating some true classics for DC’s artist-driven variants on both Aquaman and Batgirl. This cover, like Dave Johnson’s, is Selina only, and while the austere image is a goregeous one, it’s the expression on her face we like most, seeming to say, I can’t believe I’m getting married either, but isn’t this all a thrill? It’s perfect.
ZMX Comics Variant by Jorge Jimenez
This one made our list for two reasons: 1. Nobody is drawing superheroes at Jorge Jimenez’s level right now. Nobody. And 2. While maybe a bit randier than wedding-related imagery ought to be, this is an image that again speaks to the nature of the Bat-Cat romantic dynamic. Also, it has Selina in charge (as it should be). Mercy!
Others Receiving Votes
Best of the Bride Only Covers
Again, this is a wedding, and so the vast majority of attention should be on the bride. As such, there are far more covers featuring Selina than Bruce. Here are some of our favorite bride-only variants. From left to right, Eric Basaldua, Warrren Louw, Natali Sanders, and Ale Garza.
Who Needs Physics?
Cover by Guillem March for Kings Comics. Alls I’m saying is there’s no way this doesn’t end with injury...
Why Are You Mad?
I'm not, but I wish this connecting Joe Madureira cover was a little more wedding-y. It's still very good, as is all of the rare comic artwork Joe Mad does at this stage of his career. Available via 4colorbeast.
Can I See the Ring?
This last variant, which is by Mike Mayhew and available through Comicpop Collectibles, is a look at the realistic star of any wedding between a billionaire and a jewel thief—the ring.
Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.