Apparently this has been quite the topic in comic book retailer forums the past few weeks. That the DC Comics perennial Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson, ahead of big Christmas sales, is out of stock and can't be ordered in time. DC Comics sold out some time ago and seem to have no intention, right now, of bringing it back into print. This is usually the time of year when retailers sell most copies, alongside other perennials like Batman: Hush, Watchmen, V For Vendetta and the like – and they are fully stocked up with those titles. Dark Knight Returns however is a different story.
While I don't have access to Penguin Random House, Lunar or Diamond UK stock levels, I am told that UCS is out of stock. The most recent paperback edition, the 30th Anniversary edition, is temporarily in stock at Amazon.com (while supplies last) and still in stock from Amazon UK. They promise an earlier 1997 version of the collection will be back in stock on December 15th, but odds are there won't be many of them. They are also getting more copies of the hardcover slipcase set, reprinting the original issues separately. And they do have copies of the oversized slipcase Absolute Dark Knight for seven times the price of the paperback collection.
With the DC Comics collection department being decimated by recent cuts, is it possible that this kind of thing may be more the norm rather than the exception going forward?
Writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in this saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, 10 years after the Dark Knight's retirement. Forced to take action, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by a new Robin—a girl named Carrie Kelley, who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors.
Can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies, after years of incarceration have turned them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout from an undeclared war between the superpowers—or the clash of what were once the world's greatest heroes?
Hailed as a comics masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns is Frank Miller's (300 and Sin City) reinvention of Gotham's legendary protector. It remains one of the most influential stories ever told in comics, with its echoes felt in all media forms of DC's storytelling. Collects issues #1-4.