Critical Review of a Graphic Novel

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Topics: Batman, Gotham City
Using History in Graphic Novels: Believing Batman Could Exist in the 19th Century

Shawn Jackson Jr.

Communication 222
Dr. Matthew Smith
10/28/12

Jackson 2 Batman, the Batman, the dark knight, the world’s greatest detective, and the caped crusader; he is known by many names and yet is still one of the most famous superheroes on the planet. Most people in the world can tell you the story of Batman. A young boy witnesses his mother and father killed by a mugger and vows to rid his city of evil. Batman has been a longstanding comic book ran since 1939 when Detective Comics #27 presented a man in a bat-suit ridding Gotham City of evil. Batman has always been a character of the times, using high tech gadgets to aid him in his war on crime. Yet, in 1989 DC Comics published A Tale of the Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Instead of showing Batman in the (time of publication’s) present, writer Brian Augustyn along with pencil artist Mike Mignola and inker P. Craig Russel, created a Batman story that took place in the 19th century.
In Gotham by Gaslight, Bruce Wayne returns from studying in Europe to become the Dark Knight and fight evil in his home of Gotham City. Many aspects of Batman remain the same; including Wayne Manor, Alfred Pennyworth’s assistance to Batman, and the strong relationship that Bruce Wayne and later Batman have with James Gordon. As Batman begins his crusade to rid Gotham of crime and evil, brutal murders that mimic those of the famous Jack the Ripper’s begin to happen in Gotham. Batman is faced with the task of finding the killer and stopping the brutal slayings from continuing. As Batman finds out, the killer is Jack the Ripper himself and is not a copycat. Bruce Wayne is later framed by the killer and incarcerated in Arkham Asylum. Alfred then helps Bruce escape after Bruce uses his jail time and detective skills to uncover who the killer is before he is to be hanged. Batman catches his man only to find out the awful truth, that



Bibliography: Brian, Augustyn. A Tale of the Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. New York City: DC Comics, 1989. Print. Jack the Ripper - London Walk. 2008. Web. 16 Oct 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1zowukUBxI&feature=player_embedded>. "Prince Albert Victor." casebook.org. N.p.. Web. 17 Oct 2012. <http://www.casebook.org/suspects/eddy.html>. "Sigmund Freud." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/219848/Sigmund-Freud>.

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