Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Gotham Academy? Okay, I'll Bite

Image from Wikipedia
I have a problem with DC Comics. Despite housing some of my favorite superheroes for years growing up, and being a company that has created three of the most memorable, most ground-in superheroes in history, they continually have problems with race, gender, and just generally bad business practices. Far too many of their comics are headed by straight white guys, the females are often depicted in grossly sexualized ways with their agency slashed to bits, and my goodness if you're a person of color, it's very likely that you'll be portrayed in a racist and depressing manor. Books that try to buck this trend tend to disappear relatively quickly--just ask The Movement.

Furthermore, DC has a problem with repetition. Furthermore, DC has a problem with repetition. Furthermore, DC also has a problem with repetition. Repetition is also a problem that DC has...ahem...sorry...  Which is why I was glum when I first read the news that DC Comics was releasing not one, but 2 new comics series set in Batman's universe.

Let's just recap for a moment. This is how many titles are either straight-up Batman books, or based on characters from Batman's universe.
  1. Batman
  2. Detective Comics
  3. Batman: The Dark Knight*
  4. Batman and...*
  5. Justice League
  6. Batwing*
  7. Nightwing*
  8. Grayson
  9. Batgirl
  10. Batwoman
  11. Catwoman
  12. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  13. Birds of Prey*
  14. Suicide Squad*
  15. The NEW Suicide Squad
  16. Batman '66
  17. Batman: Eternal
  18. Earth 2
  19. Harley Quinn
  20. Batman: Incorporated*
  21. Teen Titans
  22. Justice League: International*
  23. Batman/Superman
  24. Batman Beyond*
  25. Batman Beyond 2.0
  26. Injustice
  27. Batman: Arkham Unhinged
  28. Teen Titans GO!
  29. Talon*
* indicates comic is now cancelled
List data from here and here.

(There are a few others that I considered including, like The Movement, Deathstroke, and The Ravagers that are based on things that are based on Batman's universe, but then it felt like it was going too far out into the boonies; I needed to reel it back in.)

This isn't even counting the number of Superman comics that are currently in publication, which is absurd in its own right. 

Not all of these titles are canon, but a good many of them are. When I learned that they were adding Arkham Mansion and Gotham Academy to this list, I sighed. I'm not against the comics overlapping--that'd be ridiculous, all main DC Comics titles occur in the same universe and continuity. There's no way to avoid it. However...I mean...c'mon guys!

Images from Entertainment Weekly and DC Comics, obviously.
AND YET!

I became super stoked today when I actually clicked through and read the article (first on The Outhouse, then on Entertainment Weekly, and finally on Bleeding Cool).

Arkham Manor looks mostly the same as every other Batman title. It doesn't look bad. On the other hand...it's another Batman title.

BUT BUT BUT Gotham Academy looks awesome.

Images from Entertainment Weekly and DC Comics, obviously.
For one thing, DC Comics is a bit grim on...like...everything. Almost every comic that they release--Batman or no, but especially Batman--is very grim, very dark, very brooding. Lots of angst.

LOOK AT THIS ART! IT'S SO YOUNG, SO LIVELY, SO COLORFUL!

From EW:
Things are a bit less bleak in Gotham Academy, a new monthly teen drama set at Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school. (Bruce Wayne is a benefactor; other familiar characters may pop up in Academy‘s twisted, teenybopping universe.)
I've seen some cynical asses already scoffing. "Ugh, a comic aimed at teenagers? Gross."

I, for one, am stoked about this. It's a comic that's not grim, that's bright, colorful, and fun looking, aimed at younger readers, and it stars TWO GIRLS OF COLOR! How cool is that!?

Don't take my word for it. I talked to the author on Twitter:

I could not be more excited about this. This may be the DC Comic I pick up to replace the hole that cancelling The Movement left in my heart.

Good job, DC!