DETECTIVE COMICS #31 (1939)
BOB KANE / JERRY ROBINSON
Within a year after this issue was published, Robin would appear in the Batman saga, and the Dark Knight Detective would never again be the brooding, avenging figure he once was. In only his third cover appearance, creator Bob Kane debuted an enduring, haunting image of Batman as a looming figure of vigilante justice, shrouded in mystery. While this may not be the most well-drawn cover, all the elements are there: the secluded castle high atop a fog-bound mountain; the hooded criminal in red, preparing to commit unspeakable acts on the unfortunate woman; the bat silhouetted against the moon; and the implacable central figure symbolically watching the scene below. The masthead contributes greatly, helping to frame and accentuate Batman's cowl, while his ears jut in front of one of the greatest logos ever emblazoned on a comic. Simply put, there has never been an image which more accurately captured the overt menace of the Caped Crusader.