Gotham by Gaslight: First Look and Trailer
By Drew Mollo
Warner Bros. and DC Animated Films just released an eight-minute behind the scenes feature discussing the upcoming animated film Gotham By Gaslight, its origins, and why (in the words of iconic creator/animator/producer Bruce Timm) “Batman versus Jack the Ripper. Duhhh, what a great idea.”
My thoughts: Already I’m seeing great potential in this “Batman in a Sherlock Holmes era”.
- Writer James Krieg, who is no stranger to writing comic screenplays, seems confident about the staff bringing their “A+ game” to this project. Amongst his writing credits are episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold, Green Lantern Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series but most importantly he shows a real love for the material, heck Timm, Krieg, and Creative Director Mike Carlin all show such an appreciation for the original comic written by Brian Agustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola and want to do it justice.
- This Bat-Man shows his eyes. We remember how Batman’s mask gives him the illusion of white slits which add to his symbolic spooky appearance but this Bat-Man you can see his big ol’ blues. This is something I’ve seen in other Batman Elseworlds but the most recent story that comes to mind is the Batman in the Earth Two line. As Timm explains, seeing his eyes makes him more accessible and humanizes him although as we can see, his appearance still scares the crap out of the criminals and citizens of Gotham City.
- The featurette shows an evident appreciation of Elseworlds. Mike Carlin not only explains Elseworlds as “Imaginary Stories” but he also explains the purpose of the stories and how that purpose evolved as DC Comics published more and more of them. If the character was successful, comics continuing the story could expand that particular story while encompassing characters who are familiar to the characters backstory as well as to their fans.
- Batman is not the only familiar face we will see in this comic. One of the things I loved reading Master of Future or the Gotham by Gaslight story during 2008’s Countdown was seeing other familiar Batman characters emerge in this new frontier. I saw villains like Ra’s Al Ghul, side characters like Kirk Langstrom or even new heroes like The Blue Beetle but with their own unique backstory and the new movie continues that trend. Already in the trailer we’ve seen Selina Kyle, Hugo Strange, Detective/Chief Bullock, Inspector James Gordon, Barbara Gordon, Harvey Dent, Hugo Strange, Pamela Isley, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and even the Gaslight version of the Bat Signal. All of these characters we know and love but within the context of this 19th century world and connected to the mysterious Bat-Man.
- Catwoman plays a more integral role in this story. Selina Kyle plays both a well-dressed figure of desire but also a protector of Gotham’s women since Jack the Ripper has made them his target. Although I’d love to see the Gaslight version of her Catwoman, Selina wielding her iconic bullwhip against Jack the Ripper is a pretty great scene to witness especially considering gender politics of the period. Selina has always had great chemistry with Bruce and I look forward to seeing how they depict and evolve that relationship in this environment.
-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media