Gotham by Gaslight
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|Gotham by Gaslight|
Gotham by Gaslight (February 1989). Art by Mike Mignola.
|Publication date||February 1989|
|No. of issues||1|
Jack the Ripper
|Written by||Brian Augustyn|
|Inker(s)||P. Craig Russell|
|Gotham by Gaslight||ISBN 0-930289-67-6|
|Gotham by Gaslight (inc. Master of the Future)||ISBN 1-4012-1153-4|
Gotham by Gaslight is a DC Comics one-shot by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola, with inks by P. Craig Russell. It spawned a sequel, Master of the Future (1991), also written by Augustyn, with art by Eduardo Barreto.
Gotham by Gaslight is considered to be the first Elseworlds story, where DC Comics heroes are taken out of their usual setting and put into alternate timelines or realities. And although it was not originally labelled as such, subsequent printings include the "Elseworlds" logo.
In 1889, Bruce Wayne is on a tour of Europe which ends in Vienna. There he is studying under Dr. Freud. Bruce tells Freud that he has a recurring dream in which he recalls the murder of his parents and decides he must return to Gotham City. On the return trip, Bruce meets Jacob Packer, an old family friend whom he calls Uncle Jake, who also returned from a trip to Europe.
Shortly after arriving, Inspector Gordon informs Wayne about criminal gangs currently operating in Gotham. Gordon also shows Bruce the case of a man who poisoned his wife and tried to commit suicide with the poison, which left him alive with a permanent grin. Bruce takes up the mantle of Batman to fight criminals on the street.
At the same time, a series of murders of women take place and some people begin to suspect that Batman is the murderer. It is soon discovered that Jack the Ripper has come to Gotham, as the murders in Gotham City seem to resemble the Ripper murders.
After a search of Wayne Manor, a bloody knife is found under Bruce's bed and Bruce is arrested. A trial is held in which Uncle Jake is Bruce's defense attorney. After the trial, Bruce is convicted of being the Ripper and sentenced to be hanged for his crimes. Bruce is imprisoned in Arkham Asylum.
Once Bruce is in prison, Gordon gives him all the documentation on the crimes. Bruce toils day and night to try to figure out how he can get the Ripper. Just one day before the execution, Bruce learns the identity of the Ripper by discovering he had the skill of a surgeon and used a knife that belonged to the medical group who worked with his father. Bruce escapes from prison with the help of Alfred and heads straight for the Ripper.
Batman interrupts the Ripper as he is about to claim his next victim. Batman chases the Ripper throughout Gotham and the two eventually come to a stop at the grave of Thomas and Martha Wayne, where it is revealed that Jacob Packer is the Ripper. Packer had been trained in medicine and law with the money of Thomas Wayne, but he was driven insane by Martha Wayne's rejection of his advances. Since then he was killing women who resemble Martha to silence the laughter of Martha he heard in his head.
Packer reveals that he hired an assassin to kill Bruce's parents. Gordon appears at this time with the police and Batman tells them to arrest Packer. Packer confesses that he is the Ripper and tries to kill Batman, but Gordon shoots Packer dead at the last minute. Batman disappears into the shadows, leaving Gordon to take in the body of Jack the Ripper.
Gotham by Gaslight, which retrospectively became the first official Elseworlds publication, was initially released as a 52-page one-shot in February 1989. It was written by Brian Augustyn and pencilled by Mike Mignola, with inks by P. Craig Russell. Two years later, the 68-page sequel Batman: Master of the Future — also written by Augustyn, but with art by Eduardo Barreto — was released, this time officially labelled an Elseworlds publication.
Prior to its appearance in Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Gotham by Gaslight (January 2008), the two one-shot issues were collected into one 112-page trade paperback volume (which was released under the same name, and with the same Mignola cover as the one-shot release).
The two stories have been collected into a trade paperback.
- Gotham by Gaslight, August 2006, DC Comics, ISBN 1-4012-1153-4 (Titan Books, ISBN 1-84576-403-X), collects:
IGN Comics ranked Gotham by Gaslight #11 on a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels, saying that the comic is "as taut and well-conceived a graphic novel as you can find — Elseworlds or otherwise," they add, "quite simply, no other Elseworlds tale has managed such a brilliant concept nor executed it so perfectly."
Sequels and spin-offs
Master of the Future
This section needs a plot summary. (April 2015)
In the sequel, set in 1892, Batman must battle Alexandre LeRoi, who is seeking to disrupt Gotham's turn-of-the-century celebrations.
After the events of Identity Crisis, the Atom (whose estranged wife was revealed as the villain) spent DC's missing year out of the limelight. In the weekly-sequel to the weekly event 52, Countdown, the Source Wall names Palmer as a key figure in impending DC Universe events. The search for Ray Palmer began in the Wildstorm Universe, and soon crossed onto the new 52 worlds created during the course of Infinite Crisis.
The first of these was called Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Gotham by Gaslight (January 2008) and was written by Gotham by Gaslight's original author, Brian Augustyn, relishing his chance to return to the world he had created. The story saw Bob the Monitor accompany Jason Todd, Donna Troy, and Kyle Rayner (the latter three inhabitants of "New Earth") through the multiverse in search of multiuniversal counterparts to Ray Palmer. The group arrived on Earth-19, the Earth where the Batman of the earlier two Elseworlds storylines acted, there, they also encountered this Earth's counterpart of Blue Beetle and Man-Bat before they went to the next Earth for their continuing search. Their search would take them to worlds populated by characters from other Elseworlds stories, including those seen in the Batman & Dracula trilogy (Earth-43) and Superman: Red Son (Earth-30).
In other media
- An animated adaptation of Gotham by Gaslight is in production. It features Bruce Greenwood as Batman and Jennifer Carpenter as Selina Kyle.
- A video game based on the comic book was planned for release by Day 1 Studios (who also developed Fear 3) however, after THQ failed to secure the rights to the property, the game was canceled. The developers released some concept illustration which revealed the game had a steampunk feel to it while being set in Victorian England and also test footage was released which revealed the misty Gothic settings and the character model for Batman. So far, reception to the leaked footage and concept illustration has been positive, with viewers praising the setting, the cape physics and the different approach the developers were trying to achieve.
- Gaslight Batman is one of the champions of the 2015 DC game Infinite Crisis. Additionally, a Gaslight Joker and Gaslight Catwoman, original to the game but originating on the same alternate Earth, are also included as champions.
- Batman: Arkham Origins' Season Pass included an exclusive Gotham by Gaslight skin for Batman.
- Gaslight Batman is also a DLC character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- List of Elseworlds publications
- List of steampunk works
- From Hell, Alan Moore's Ripper-based graphic novel
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moore's Victorian-era tales of derring-do
Other Elseworlds that involve Jack the Ripper:
- Yehl, Josuha; Goldstein, Hilary (9 April 2014). "The 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels". IGN. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- Contino, Jennifer M. (November 12, 2007). "Augustyn by Gaslight! Brian returns to Gotham". ComicCon.com. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
- Lovett, Jamie (7 August 2017). "DC Animation's Next Movie Revealed". Comic Book.com. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- "Gotham By Gaslight Video Shows Canceled Elseworlds Batman Game". February 27, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- Cummins, Chris (February 29, 2012). "This Gotham by Gaslight Game Looks Great, Doesn't Exist". Toplessrobot.com. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- Gotham by Gaslight trade paperback details at DC Comics.com