The ‘Gotham High’ Animated Series that Never Was
Just a day after we reported on the failure-to-launch of David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman television series comes word of another DC Comics-based TV show that is never to be. Gotham High is an animated series concept created by artist Jeffrey Thomas and writer Celeste Green that re-imagines Batman and his cast of rogues as high school students. The project was apparently “lost in the shuffle” at DC Entertainment, but Green and Thomas have released some fully realized character designs and looks for the series, which you can check out after the jump.Development of the Gotham High concept was initiated after Green and Thomas were “approached to create a spec series” based on a fanciful illustration of The Joker and Harley Quinn as counter-culture teenagers, as explained on the creators’ website. Here is the pitch copy:
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?
Internet reaction to Gotham High has been sharply divided. Response at Green & Thomas’ blog has been uniformly positive, with every commenter regretting that the series was never produced. On Twitter and elsewhere, however, many Batman fans are condemning Gotham High as an unwelcome Smallvilification of the beloved Dark Knight (which is certainly understandable, if you’ve been following along with ComicsAlliance’s essential Smallvillains series). But after sitting with the artwork for a while, I have to wonder if the show was intended to be something quite a lot cooler – maybe a kind of anarchic cross between Muppet Babies and Invader Zim? It’s not hard to imagine a darkly comic take on the characters if the show were allowed to actually be funny. Harley Quinn as a Juggalette? Come on!
Alas, we’ll never know.