As a longtime Batman fan, I’ve often posed the question: Will the Dark Knight get overexposed?
I mean, he’s appeared in the Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League films with the Man of Steel, he’s in ongoing titles including Batman and Detective Comics, with related comics like Justice League and Red Hood Outlaw, just to name a few.
For a fan like me, it’s great! But even the X-Men have taken a popularity hit after years of reigning in comics shops, so I have to wonder if the same will happen to Batman.
The reason I worry about this is because several Bat-titles have come and gone recently.
A TEEN BAT-BOOK
The book that I remember first was Gotham Academy, which was described as a “monthly teen drama set at Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school.” Three new characters were there: Olive Silverlock, MAPS and Kyle. I haven’t seen them since the book was cancelled.
This comic made sense to me, though the concept was hardly original. I mean, I thought of Nick Spencer’s Morning Glories from Image right away. That said, I doubt that book was the first to utilize that set up although I can’t name anything at the moment.
Gotham Academy was intended to attract both new teen and female readers since it focused on relationships within the framework of a school environment. Let’s face it – Batman is an older guy by comparison, so producing a series with “oddball teachers” as well as strange students will be something younger readers will be better able to identify with. And the fact that there’s supposed to be a ghost in a part of the school might even draw in those folks who like supernatural goings-on. Then, too, there’s a secret tie to Gotham’s past, and I’ve long advocated exploring the city’s previous residents. Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher handled the scripting, with Karl Kerschl providing the art.
I do miss this book. Maybe it’ll resurface sometime? Until then, the YA books DC is producing are filling my need to read this!
AN ARKHAM TITLE
One of the most successful Batman tie-ins has been the Arkham series of video games produced over the past several years. There have been comics based on it as well as action figures and statues. It’s been something that DC has done well when it comes to gaming.
So, DC made Arkham Manor. Here’s how the series was described: “When catastrophe strikes Arkham Asylum, where will Gotham City house the world’s most dangerous criminals? And when inmates are found murdered, what is Batman prepared to do in search of justice?”
Well, one thing that didn’t work was that Batman had to find a new place to live since Wayne Manor was being turned into a prison. And the Batcave was in jeopardy as well.
But this seemed very clearly to be an attempt to attract those who have been enjoying the Arkham games. Would they pick up comics as well?
Apparently not since Arkham Manor, which was written by Gerry Duggan and had art by Shawn Crystal, is no longer with us.
SADLY, BATMAN PRODUCTS DON’T ALWAYS SUCCEED
DC continues to try and match Marvel’s success, and that worked well with Batman Eternal and other weekly books that boosted the company’s numbers. And uber-Batman scripter Scott Snyder came out on Twitter to support these new offerings, saying, “Very proud of pal @markedoyle (Batman editor Mark Doyle) for making these books happen. Trying daring concepts, bringing in new creators … & more to come.”
But other books also haven’t survived even though they’ve focused on Batman.
Not long ago, Batman: The Dark Knight came to an end even though it was launched by fan favorite David Finch. I truly enjoyed Gregg Hurwitz’s scripting, but having a well-known murder mystery novelist on it didn’t save the book.
Also, L’il Gotham, a digital-first title clearly aimed at much younger readers, came out only about a year before getting canned.
Speaking of digital comics, there was a series of Batman stories I loved called Legends of the Dark Knight that gave different creators a chance to work on Batman. It was a lot of fun to read, but it seems they eventually ran out of gas, so the series ended a while back.
I do have to point out that DC has tried to revive everything from war comics to more diverse characters, but they haven’t taken hold. Let’s hope these two fan bases turn out, not to mention the rest of us Bat-fans! Given that Batman is THE biggest DC property at the moment, we can expect even more Batman-centric miniseries and titles. We’ll see what flies and what crashes and burns!