Like many of the kids in my generation, the batman comic books were actually one of the last pieces of the batman franchise I was exposed to. I grew up on the old Adam West Batman and Robin shows, and after that it was the Batman cartoons. Then, of course, there were all the innumerable Batman movies, a few short-lived video games, and all of the Justice League cartoons. Between all of that, I actually did not read any batman comics until I was in college. When I did, it was like a whole new world had been opened to me.
Although DC Comics has recently done a lot to revitalize their image, they were not at the top of their game for a while. Comic books, once the most popular art form among pre-teen boys everywhere, fell on hard times for quite a while. The characters survived in television shows, but few people would make the connection between the cartoon show and the comic book. This was not good for the company obviously, but it was also not so good for ordinary fans like me. I had no idea what I was missing out on in Batman comics.
I was unaware of how sophisticated superhero comics could be. As a young child I used to read Superman comics, but I grew away from them as I got older. They were so morally uncomplex that I found them less interesting as an adult. The Batman comics, however, were a different story altogether. One of the neat things about the character of Batman is that he is one or two steps away from being a villain. He is haunted by the deaths of his parents, and this feeling drives him on to vengeance. He does not go after bad guys just because they are bad, but because of his early childhood trauma at the hands of the mugger who killed both his parents. It is this tension that makes the character interesting.
Another thing that I like about Batman comics is how resourceful the protagonist is. He does not actually have any superpowers. Rather, he uses brains, martial arts training, and high-tech weapons to defeat his enemies without killing them. In my mind, this beats the more traditional superheroes any day. After all, anyone can use super strength to subdue a criminal, but besting a super villain with only the strength of a mortal man takes more skill.