Gotham High Is Sending Batman To High School For Some Teen Drama

Gotham High Is Sending Batman To High School For Some Teen Drama
Jack, Bruce, and Selina. (Image: Thomas Pitilli, DC Comics)

The basic elements of Batman’s relationships with the Joker and Catwoman are so ingrained in everyone’s minds at this point that it’s much, much more fun when comics decide to veer off the beaten path a little bit. Take, for example, Gotham High, from writer Melissa de la Cruz and artist Thomas Pitilli.

In this telling, Bruce is still a brooding rich boy, Jack Napier (the Joker’s given name) is still a troublemaker, and Selina Kyle’s very much a person who delights in emotionally manipulating people to get what she wants. But Gotham High imagines them all as teenagers who all grew up as friends in Gotham City before Bruce was shipped off to Arkham Academy, an elite prep school for the rich and wealthy.

After Bruce gets expelled for beating up a bully, he returns to Gotham to find that everyone close to him’s grown up and changed. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, de la Cruz explained that in addition to the changes Bruce goes through in the book, she also wanted to change his origins somewhat in order to make him feel more real and familiar.

“Bruce Wayne is the billionaire. He’s the richest man alive. So I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if his family was Chinese and from Hong Kong? That made it feel real,” she said. “There’s been a big influx of wealthy Chinese people who moved from Hong Kong to Arcadia in Los Angeles, and that’s where my mum lives, I’m part-Chinese, my brother lives in Hong Kong, so I thought it would be great to put what I know into Bruce Wayne.”

Gotham High, de la Cruz elaborated, is very much a Batman story, but it’s also infused with the energies of things like Crazy Rich Asians and Gossip Girl that lend themselves to the book’s central love triangle and the conflict it causes. Small details like Alfred being Bruce’s uncle (who happens to be gay) make Gotham High sound like a book much more rooted in our current world than a lot of DC’s other books, which gives us all the more reason to look forward to its release.

Gotham High goes on sale April 1.


  • Who wants teen drama?

    I don’t see what the market is for this. If you are excited for it, can you let me know your demographic? I’m seriously puzzled.

    • Nobody, but that’s the beauty of comics. You don’t need to spend $150m to make something nobody asked for and nobody wants. You can greenlight bad ideas and see what happens. In this case someone thought they had an interesting take and there’s always been a curiously positive vibe around the old concept art for that Gotham High animated series. So why not roll the dice?

      Personally I don’t think the idea of a non-white Bruce Wayne works. The Wayne’s have to have that old money, family legacy that roots them in Gotham. That said this is the perfect way to skirt that rule because the comic isn’t important and his connection to Gotham isn’t really required. It allows them to play with ideas that wouldn’t normally work and potentially have them feed back into the core characters. Much like how Batman Beyond radically changed the backdrop, told a bunch of sort of cool sort of dumb stories that don’t work in a traditional Batman story and then ultimately improved all incarnations of Batman with what they learned from it.

    • It’s targeting teens and the current Teen Drama resurgence.
      Comics always get on that train when it comes around.

  • While I appreciate creative re-telling of pre-existing fictional characters and stories… I’m not really sure how to feel about this.

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