Gotham Academy: Batman lore meets Harry Potter
Gotham City is hot. The Bat-books are top sellers, the recent Batman movies were all smash hits and TV-series Gotham shows us Batman and friends from a whole new angle. Enter Gotham Academy, showing us yet another bit of Gotham-lore. It's all about the titular school, a private school housed in an old, creepy looking mansion. A certain mister Bruce Wayne is one of the financial backers of the school, and one of the characters in the book is related to The Penguin. Fans of the Batman-series will find all these little nuggets of background information here that they will probably love. But the book is also fun enough for people who aren't that much into Batman. There's a creepy school. There's a mysterious leading character with a past that might come back to haunt her. There's a broken relationship. There are creepy things going on at night. There might be a ghost haunting the school. And there's the occasional Batman sighting, but then again, things like that happen more often in Gotham...
The story behind Gotham Academy
Olive Silverlock is a girl with a mysterious past. Most specifically, something happened between first grade at Gotham Academy and second grade, that completely changed her life. What this is? Nobody seems to know, not even Olive, who is suffering from insomnia. The only thing she knows is that whatever it is, it's somehow related to Batman.
It makes her feel uneasy whenever the Bat-signal lights the sky of Gotham. Still, Olive doesn't want to overthink it too much. She has enough on her plate as it is, what with the break-up with her boyfriend, the fact that she has to guide her boyfriends kid-sister, called Maps, around school, and the rivalry in class with this girl that doesn't like her. Sounds like your typical high school drama, but hey, this is Gotham, and in Gotham anything can happen.
The fact that this series is set in Gotham, gives it exciting possibilities. There are tons of characters from Batman-history that could make an entrance in this series, though DC has told the readers that Gotham Academy will exist more or less in it's own bubble. What this means is that the series will be free of any big crossover event that rages through the DC-universe every once in a while. There will be well known characters, or characters related to them, and as a matter of fact the first issues already give us some well known names.
The Academy is a bit like Hogwarts with super powers. On second thought, we haven't seen any characters with super powers in the book yet, or at least none that were explained to us.
The creators of Gotham Academy
Gotham Academy is created by three people, who have worked together in the past. They got the call when DC was looking for some fresh new ideas to turn into ongoing monthly books. Becky Cloonan is a writer and artist who has worked for many comic book publishers. Starting off by self-publishing mini comics, she has since created for Dark Horse, Image and DC. Among the books she did are big names like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Conan the Barbarian, Swamp Thing and Batman. In fact, she was the first female artist ever to draw the main Batman book.
Co-writer on the book is Canadian Brenden Fletcher, whose previous work includes Batgirl and Assassin's Creed. For the art, DC had first wanted Cloonan, but since she was busy drawing another book, the job went to Karl Kerschl, whose many credits include Majestic, Superman and Teen Titans Year One. He has a clean, cartoon-esque style that gives the book a nice flavor.
When DC called up with the job, the threesome were naturally excited about it and started brainstorming right away. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Cloonan said: "After I got Brenden onboard as a co-writer, the three of us started going back and forth and the idea just kind of grew organically of Harry Potter in Gotham. That's the feeling we want to evoke. And it's all new characters, which gives us a chance to bring a different flavor. We have a bunch of kids going to boarding school while moving around in this world where all of these superheroes exist." A source this rich can generate a lot of ideas, which makes Gotham Academy an exiciting new series to follow. The first reviews of the first two issues have been generally positive, and sales were high.
The main characters of Gotham Academy
Leading character of the series, or at least for the first six issues, is Olive Silverlock. She's a girl with a past, her life having changed after the past summer. It has something to do with Batman, and somehow her mother also seems to be involved. It's complicated, but then again that's how people seem to like their comics. The other main character for the start of the series is Maps Mizoguchi, who is the little sister of Olive's ex-boyfriend. She has a fondness for drawing maps, hence the name. Pomeline Fritch is a girl Olive doesn't seem to get along with very well. She has mysteries of her own, mysteries that we get to see a little more of in the second issue. We're guessing her relationship with Olive is going to be complicated as well...
The creators of the book have revealed that the series will have a rotating cast of main characters. So while the first six issues focus on Olive, Maps and Pomeline, don't be surprised when they are relegated to background characters after that.