We all know of The Batman, the millionaire with no superpowers but with a taste for justice. Bruce Wayne aka Batman has been around since 1939 when he was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for Detective comics issue #37. Since then we have seen many renditions of the Bat, from series where he’s more villainous such as The Batman who Laughs, or the series I will be talking about today Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Gotham by Gaslight is a 49-page short one-shot graphic novel written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola. In this short, the readers get to explore what Gotham may have been like in the 19th century and what were to truly happen if a 19th century Batman had to face a villain such as Jack The Ripper.
This comic throughs you into a beautifully rendered world like we have not to seen in other Batman comics before. Drawn by Mignola only 9 years into his comic career we dont see the exact Mignola style we see today or in his projects such as Hellboy or The Amazing Screw-on Head. Yet, we are shown a look into this development of Mignola’s iconic style and it is great to see it in its early stages. The art within this story is very simplistic with a very flat color but is done so well that it fits the story perfectly. In an interview with Mignola, he talked about the want to do a Batman story. So, when he was offered Gotham by Gaslight he was pleased because he hated drawing cars and was able to draw horses and carriages instead. The intense black placement of Mignola’s style does a great job for the time period in the story as well as for batman himself. The story also does a great job with creative panel layouts. Throwing in letters, newspaper covers, and even drawings and photographs to take the place of a panel.
Overall the comic explores a different side of Batman we have never seen, and you must grab a copy of this comic to see for yourself. There was also a short film made about the story which is also beautifully done but just like other film adaptations, the book is its own thing! Happy reading!