Friday, January 14, 2011

Hey, That's My Cape! The Batman Animated Series That Never Was

Taken from a recent article:

What if Bruce Wayne never got privately tutored or went to boarding school but attended a regular public high school instead? And what if those halls were filled with teenagers plotting the demise of the student body or scheming to steal bake sale profits? Well, you’d have something called Gotham High.

We don’t usually hear about the failed or passed over projects being developed by networks but every once in a while someone reveals a gem that fell through the cracks. Seemingly spotted first by Nerd Bastards, the brainchild of Jeffrey Thomas and Celeste Green, Gotham High (or what we assume would have been called that) is the unrealized animated series that fell through DC’s hands. Saved By The Bat Signal anyone?Thomas and Green revealed their secret project last week on their blog. They were approached about a year and a half ago to create a series based on an illustration Thomas made depicting The Joker and Harley Quinn as high school students. They sent their ideas, including several other outstanding drawings to DC but it wound up, in their words, getting “lost in the sea of all the other Batman related projects in the works.” And I think it’s a damn shame because Thomas is an amazing artist and the synopsis sounds like it had real potential.

The plot is as follows, “We all go through incredible changes as teenagers: growth spurts, bad skin, a sudden insatiable need to uphold justice and avenge your murdered parents.... Well, that is if you’re Bruce Wayne. As if being a freshman at Gotham High wasn’t tough enough, Bruce’s insomnia and technological fascinations are taking their toll. Instead of spending his time studying, he has begun to obsess over an emerging personality trait: Batman. But under the watchful eye of his guardian and steward, Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce is forced to put his intelligence to good use: graduating high school. But given his classmates, can Bruce survive Gotham High?”

Although a lot of people would easily compare this to Smallville, oddly enough, it reminds me of Boy Meets World for some reason. As seen through the illustrations, the cast would have included Bruce, Batgirl, The Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Clayface, Killer Croc (one of the more unusual students of Gotham high to be sure), Catwoman, Two-Face, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Bane, Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. He’s not mentioned but Commissioner Gordon could totally be the Principal and I hope to god Jeremiah Arkham would have been the school nurse.

The preview images Thomas and Green produces show us several hilarious setups that would
be just perfect for the screen. Bruce playing football with Ivy and Harley as cheerleaders, Penguin and the Riddler being bullied by Croc and Bain, Batgirl hiding a secret crush on Bruce who’s being seduced by Catwoman and Two-Face and Ivy running for Student Council President. Ivy’s motto? “Vote for Ivy: “I’m hot, he’s not.” No voting for Harvey Dent this time around.

I think it would have been really interesting to see Bruce pre-I-know-everything-I’m-the-goddamn-Batman and just getting into hijinks with that crew. Could it be possible that Young Justice is what got in the way of Gotham High making its debut? It’s very possible considering both contain teenage characters. It would be sort of redundant to have two shows like that on at the same time but I still feel this would be the stronger product. Sure, Young Justice is the tried and true material but it’s also not much different to what we’ve seen before. I’m not saying it will be bad, I would just have liked to see something out of the ordinary. I mean, the possibilities are almost endless with a story and cast Gotham High would present.

What do you think? Wanna see Batman being completely awkward and out of place in high school? How about seeing the Joker poisoning the lunchroom on Sloppy Joe day? Should Gotham High still get its curriculum approved?

Wow, this would have been a really inventive/cute show. I'm would liken it to X-Men: Evolution which also took place in and out of high school. The only thing I disagree with is A) Babs has blue eyes and B) SHE HAS A CRUSH ON BRUCE?! Come now, this is just a strange set up and we all know that Babs is meant to be with Dick!


  1. She is meant for Mr. Grayson...except for the Timmverse where she and Bruce hooked up at one point as revealed in BATMAN BEYOND.

  2. I like the idea. Reminds me a lot of the late, lamented (or at least should be lamented) "Clone High."

  3. It's KILLING me that this wasn't put on TV! I would have loved to see these characters as teenagers! :(

  4. I would love to see this. Too bad people don't know a good thing when it's right in front of them.