We could think of no better way to celebrate Batman’s eightieth birthday than by looking back at the history of hilarious covers. “Hilarious?” you say? Why yes! Though the caped crusader may now be seen as a dark and gritty hero, for decades his comics were filled with some of the wackiest stories this side of T.S. Eliot, and the covers are to this day some of the funniest and most imaginative that Big Two comics have ever seen.
So without further ado, please enjoy the 80 funniest Batman cover to celebrate the Batboy’s eightieth b-day!
Detective Comics #110
Ever wanted to see Batman and Robin battle Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ deadliest foe? If so, this issue from 1946 is for you. And the perfectly British Holmes-centric cover is by Win Mortimer.
Detective Comics #115
Another Win Mortimer classic here as Batman and Robin attempt to protect a man who has built a house entirely made of glass… though on the cover they seem to be the ones trying to break in. Those scamps!
Detective Comics #100
Iconic Batman artist Dick Sprang delivers a super strange cover here with Robin battling a… woodchuck in a canoe that is about to go over a waterfall. Just your average day in Gotham.
Before he had high-tech villains to fight Batman, had to face down dangerous crims like these men who have put the Caped Crusader in a giant plastic bag and are beating him whilst he’s inside it. Good job, Carmine Infantino, Joe Giella, and Ira Schnapp!
Probably one of the most iconic of the silly Golden Age Batman covers, here we see the scourge of Gotham’s criminal underground sliding down a fireman’s pole. It’s suggestive, it’s surreal, it sparked one of the most iconic parts of the Adam West Batman show, and it’s brought you by Jim Mooney and Ira Schnapp.
Win Mortimer strikes again with this utterly bonkers cover featuring Jungle Batman, who, after just a couple of days marooned on an island, has fully committed to his new life and look.
Neal Adams and Gaspar Saladino really knocked this one out of the park with a cover depicting a man with a whole bunch of tiny Batmen growing out of his hands. The ’70s were a wild time, man.
Grab your jet-skates and get ready to fight some alien invaders with this outrageous entry from classic Superman artist Curt Swan alongside Ray Burnley and Ira Schnapp, which seems to have little to do with the tantalizing main story in this issue “The Mystery of the Batman Bus.”
Detective Comics #685
Ah, the ’90s. A time when someone somewhere decided what Batman needed was some kind of Johnny Cage/Van Damme-esque sidekick for an issue. Graham Nolan, Klaus Janson, and Bob LeRose do a stellar job of showcasing just how ridiculous this whole endeavor is with this splendid cover.
Detective Comics #143
“Holy smokes, Batman!” takes on a whole new meaning with this wacky AF Jim Mooney and Charles Paris cover that imagines just what it would be like to smoke a bowl of Batman and the Boy Wonder.
Detective Comics #105
LOL! This one honestly feels like some sort of karmic justice as Bruce Wayne finally loses all of his money and ends up broke. Jack Burnley and Charles Paris clearly had a lot of fun making Batman suffer here and it shows.
World’s Finest #33
One of the best known ridiculous Bat-Covers, this super silly Superman-centric cover comes from the Golden Age Bat/Supes mashup comic and the mind of Win Mortimer.
Bruce and Dick fighting over beautiful women has become a mainstay of many pop culture versions of the duo and here we get to see the petty pair going wild over Talia al Ghul. It’s Batman’s overenthusiastic goodbye that really gets us. Ross Andru, Dick Giordano, and Tatjana Wood we owe you one!
Every day we thank the gods of comics along with Curt Swan, Stan Kaye, and Ira Schnapp for… RIP VAN BATMAN!!!
Detective Comics #241
This Rainbow Batman cover is so iconic that DC has actually made multiple plushies, action figures and collectibles inspired by the majesty of whatever Sheldon Moldoff and Ira Schnapp were on when they came up with this classic.
Detective Comics #284
There’s a lot to appreciate here, from the monochromatic costume to Robin’s dense exposition. This is a masterclass in appealing oddity from Moldoff and Schnapp.
Detective Comics #320
Are they fighting Mummies? Are the fighting crime while dressed as Mummies? Are they doing both? Either way this wacky ass cover from the superteam of Moldoff and Schnapp is utterly hilarious.
Batman possessed by an evil Bob Ross, forced to paint his own secret identity into a painting!! It’s the best episode of The Joy of Painting that we’ll never get to watch, but thanks to Moldoff and Schnapp, we can dream.
Detective Comics #293
Moldoff and Schnapp were really on a roll in this era with this psychedelic vision of Batman and Robin stuck in another dimension surrounded by maniacal rubbery creatures with some kind of evil multidimensional rays.
Detective Comics #623
Dick Sprang returned to Batman with this terrifying and stylish cover, which introduced the Joker to Bruce’s tiger-like Bat-Hound. R-Rated Bat-Hound solo movie anyone?
Legends of the Dark Claw #1
In the weird wilds of the ’90s, there was a line of crossover comics known as Amalgam, which saw DC and Marvel mashup and this issue basically saw Wolverine take on the role of Batman as this EXXXTREME cover by Jim Balent and Ray McCarthy showcases perfectly.
Get ready for the Batbaby, baby! You can send your thank you cards to Moldoff and Schnapp for this creepy cover.
Thought the Batbaby was scary? Now prepare for the Bat-Ape. Yep, there were a lot of Bat-hypens in the Golden Age, and chief mischief makers Moldoff and Schnapp are to blame for this, too.
Detective Comics #121
Though we’ll likely never see it in the DCEU we’re happy that we lived to see Batman shooting Robin out of a slingshot. Early Batman cover creators Burnley and Paris take the credit for this one.
Detective Comics #137
Not every weekly issue of Detective Comics can have a wild space adventure. This Mooney and Paris cover is a weirdly sparse example of how strange these Golden Age offerings got.
Detective Comics #222
Mortimer and Schnapp teamed up for this mysteriously mundane cover, which is one of our favorites. Ever wanted to see multiple Batmen scheming led by a Batman in a suave suit?
Yeehaw, cowboy! Who knows why Dick Sprang decided to draw Batman and Robin riding horses rodeo style but we sure are glad that he did!
Neal Adams and Gaspar Saladino went wild with this Beatles-riffing cover that is as weird as it is hilarious.
Batmite makes an appearance here, randomly riding Ace the Bat-Hound whilst holding a picture of Batwoman. Who knows why but we’re into it. Thank you, Moldoff and Schnapp. You’re wild.
Gotta love Jerry Robinson just going full blown holiday fun with this cover. Sadly we’ve rarely (never?) seen the Bat-Snowmobile again, but we’re heavily into the prospect of a comeback.
Detective Comics #243
He’s big! He’s bad! He’s Bat-Man! Moldoff and Schnapp deliver another strange scenario here, though it is one which actually reflects the story in the comic as Batman is made giant-sized!
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah Batman! On a penny farthing! With his young charge Dick Grayson, also on a penny farthing! Because of course they are! Who knew Sprang and Schnapp were such fans of victorian cycles!
Irv Novick really outdid himself with this unfeasibly scary cover that is just so weird and inexplicable that we love it.
Moldoff and Schnapp were really on some meta stuff with this one as Bruce and Dick are turned into “Two Dimensional People” by a giant rainbow monster. Why a rainbow? We’ll never know!
Has the thought ever crossed your mind that Batman is a sellout? Well, you’ll love this cover by Infantino, Anderson, and Schnapp, which focuses on just how much of a greedy skeeze the caped crusader can be.
World’s Finest #68
Batman, Superman, and Robin all scared of a simple skunk? Better call the Justice League, or Win Mortimer, who came up with this corker of a cover.
This technicolor madness is almost as strange as the story inside which saw Batman face down against another version of himself (sort of): the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh! Moldoff and Schnapp strike again.
From the minds of Neal Adams and Gaspar Saladino comes this masterpiece of melodrama. Batman throws a Bat-Fit and closes down the Bat-Cave… FOREVER!
Mortimer and Schnapp offer up this terrifying taste of the Christmas spirit as Batman and Robin appear to have been turned into Jack-in-the-boxes.
Detective Comics #275
Zebra Batman is a true icon. Not only is it a brilliant cover but it’s just wonderfully strange as Moldoff and Schnapp once again deliver on Bat-Weirdness.
World’s Finest #7
Do we really need to explain why this Jack Burnley cover is on this list?
World’s Finest #23
Burnley returns, this time with Charles Paris, offering up a good bit of humor at Superman’s expense as Robin and Batman scheme to prove that he’s not really that strong at all.
Detective Comics #106
“The Phantom of the Library” gives us truly one of the most horrific and spookiest covers ever. When you get nightmares about a giant face appearing out of your nearest painting, blame Burnley and Paris.
World’s Finest #186
Many of us have wondered whether or not Batman should be punished for his vigilante crimes, but we’ve likely never considered burning him at the stake. This Swan, Adams, and Saladino cover gives us a glimpse at that very specific scenario.
Celebrating this beautiful Bat-Hound cover with a fantastic Joker quote from the pages of this very issue. “The Batman! So smug—so sure of himself! Bah! It’s time someone announced to the world that he’s overrated! And I’m the one to do it!”
Who is Batman’s biggest fan? According to this cover, it’s the man himself! Murphy Anderson, Infantino, and Schnapp do a great job with this lesser seen sweating Batman trying to buy an issue of his very own comic.
World’s Finest #4
Another super-powered snow day here as Fred Ray presents us with this charming image of Batman, the Boy Wonder, and Krypton’s most famous son having a nice little ski on the slopes.
Detective Comics #295
What were Moldoff and Schnapp up to during this era of Bat-canon? Something was clearly up as this trippy AF cover showcases. #BringBackTheBeastPaintings
Batman… more like MERMAN! Yep, here Swan, Schnapp, and Stan Kaye give us something that had never been done before with the Mer-Batman A.K.A. “Human Fish.”
Detective Comics #242
Some good classic Silver Age action here as some pulpy crims take over the Bat-Cave, and check out those evil jawlines which Moldoff and Schnapp have gifted us with.
Detective Comics #126
This maybe the darkest of our funny covers as Dick and Bruce mercilessly mock the Penguin who seems to be getting horribly electrocuted. Clearly cover artists Burnley and Paris were having a rough day when they came up with this one.
Detective Comics #504
Starlin and Wood return to our list with this most outrageous Joker-Samurai cover, which repeats that old Jack-in-the-box theme… what does it all mean?
Detective Comics #468
When it comes to lesser known Batman villains, none is lesser known than The Calculator! No we didn’t just make him up, as this cover by Aparo and Wood proves without a doubt.
Detective Comics #207
Throughout his time, Bats has worn a few turbans, and here he dons one again as the titular magician. Mortimer clearly had a lot of fun bringing this sequence to life.
Detective Comics #532
The super team of Gene Colan, Dick Giordano, and Anthony Tollin joined up to create one of the most horrific covers of all time here. Is the Joker riding a sentient train version of himself? Has he visited a Thomas the Tank Engine-like reality? Who knows? But whatever the explanation, we love it.
Detective Comics #157
In 1950, there was apparently nothing more tantalizing to young women than a good old wrestling match between Batman and Robin. Thank goodness Win Mortimer was there to document this very true historical fact for us.
Detective Comics #263
Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get tougher for the Bat, Swan, Kaye, and Schnapp introduced a bunch of crooks in an anti-gravity plane. Those scallawags.
Detective Comics #279
Even when he’s not fighting crime, things could still get hairy for the Caped Crusader—sometimes literally, as this Moldoff and Schnapp cover illustrates perfectly.
This might be from one of the most brutal moments in Bruce’s life, but it is also inarguably incredibly funny. Not only is Bane so muscly that he looks like he might pop, but check out that dinosaur’s very derpy face. Kelley Jones and Bob LeRose really have us cracking up with this over the top magic.
Pretty sure that Rodolfo Damaggio and Patrick Martin were really going through something with this one.
We just have one question for Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson: WHY IS BATMAN WEIGHING THESE MEN???
Did this Batman and Robin cover by Robinson and Ray create meta-storytelling? Probably not, but it is pretty great.
We’ll let the man at the center of this wonderful Dick Sprang cover, Alfred, tell you just what he gets up to inside with this quote from the old butler whilst in disguise as Batman. “A little spanking will do the trick. And believe me, it will hurt you more than it will me!”
Detective Comics #311
Moldoff is joined by Dick Dillin for this catty cover that not only features a villain named Catman but also sees him riding a giant—you guessed it—cat! Purrrrfect.
God Bless Dick Sprang for this badass-as-all-hell cover. Crew tattoos, anyone?
Detective Comics #38
Okay, but really, someone call social services. He’s keeping that boy in a drum! Robinson and Kane there with some cute Golden Age child neglect.
Detective Comics #88
Really appreciate Dick Sprang’s grim and gritty work developing the vital canon that Batman has a see-saw just in case he ever needs to propel Robin to punch a giant in the face.
Detective Comics #210
Another really bleak conundrum for Batman here. Though the brain in a jar seems like some good old science fiction, it’s the fact that it’s trying to force Bruce into suicide that we’re more worried about, to be honest.
Detective Comics #339
Batman has fought a fair few primates in his time, but none more empathetic than his foe on this cover who just happens to be a gorilla wearing a bomb vest. Infantino and Giella really upped the drama by putting explosives on a monkey in this one.
Detective Comics #289
Anytime Moldoff, Sheldon, and Bat-Mite turn up, you know things are going to get weird, which is likely why they’re all riding a giant gold phallic sword on this ridiculous entry.
Detective Comics #291
We love this good Moldoff and Schnapp creation, though technically if he’s from the Bat-Cave shouldn’t it be called the Creature-Cave?
Detective Comics #325
Catman is back and this time he’s on fire… literally. And yes, it is Moldoff and Schnapp again.
Detective Comics #219
Wacky Races has nothing on this jalopy-heavy cover from old Moldy and Schnapps.
Detective Comics #253
We’re definitely getting into WTF territory here with this hallucinatory nightmare from Batman’s most prolific cover duo Moldoff and Schnapp.
Detective Comics #255
Batman, Robin, Dinosaurs, and evil animatronics! What more could anyone need from a Moldoff and Schnapp masterpiece?
Detective Comics #274
Moldoff, Paris, and Schnapp get biblical with a cover which seems to depict a god-like figure zapping Batman and Robin with his magical lightning bolts. Do you really want to know the outcome? Probably not, as it will never live up to this cover’s strangeness.
Detective Comics #119
Win Mortimer delivers one more wintery classic here with some narratively unnecessary snowman and another hilarious holiday-centric cover.
Detective Comics #273
M & S are here once again with this utterly bananas premise. We really saved the best for last as Batman is unmasked at a table full of pink dragons.
Images: DC Comics