Four Color Comments: First Thoughts on Gotham By Gaslight

A few thoughts on the next DC Entertainment animated feature. In the Batman and Harley Quinn release, one of the featurettes was about DC Universe’s next animated film. Next time […]

A few thoughts on the next DC Entertainment animated feature.

In the Batman and Harley Quinn release, one of the featurettes was about DC Universe’s next animated film. Next time around, they are adapting the alternative universe Batman story: Gotham By Gaslight.

When it was first announced, I was excited. The comic book was written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola. The plot of the story had to do what if Batman was around in Victorian times, and faced off against Jack the Ripper. They called this endless possibility of alternative universes: Elseworlds. The book was amazing. A strong story and amazing art. Mignola’s art was just perfect for the gothic look for the comic. Just take a look at this panel here:

Incredible. Right?

So when the featurette hit the internet showcasing the new film, I was seriously disappointed. Just check it out for yourself: 

Let me start off, I understand that these films are adaptations, and there will always be some changes, but the animation style was always so impressive. This? This looks like Jeff Matsuda’s art from The Batman animated series. This style is too cartoonish for this story. Is there some reason Warner Bros couldn’t adapt Mignola’s art into animation. It’s been done before.

Just check out this animated adaptation of The Amazing Screw-On Head.

Again, why couldn’t they use that? Mignola’s art can be done. They’ve used Michael Turner and Ed McGuinness art.

Next, is all unnecessarily added characters. In the first video Mike Clarin, Creative Directive Animation for DC Entertainment, says that you can’t just have Batman. Well, I can’t say I agree with him. In the original story, there were only three characters from the Batman mythos: Batman/Bruce Wayne, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon. There was an Easter Egg about the Joker, but that was it. It’s Clarin’s thinking that ruined the Elseworlds’ line. Squeezing in characters just to squeeze them in.

What do I mean? In what if a young Clark Kent became Batman in Superman: Speeding Bullets, they had Lex Luthor become the Joker. In Batman: In Darkest Knight, they had Sinestro become the Joker. I’m a strong believer that sometimes less is more. Especially in this case.

Finally, there’s fact that this isn’t a Victorian Batman, but rather a Steampunk Batman. I have no issue with Steampunk, but I want this story done the way it was supposed to be.

Yeah, I know I sound like an old curmudgeon but I really like the Gotham By Gaslight story and just don’t want to see it ruined. And let’s face it, with all the other major changes they’ve made in these animated stories, this is really my first complaint. 

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon’s Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don’t forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife’s chagrin.