Have you ever found yourself thinking, “You know, Batman is great and all, but I’d really enjoy him a lot more if he was more science-fiction-y”? Have you ever turned to a friend and said, “Sure, I like this Bat-fellow as much as the next chap, but why isn’t he in the future?” Have you ever stared deeply into a loved one’s eyes and asked, “Why won’t they show me what The Batting Gentleman is like when he’s really, really old?” Have you ever wondered why Batman can’t be Batman, but also kind of like an angsty, teenage Spider-Man too? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions and have somehow never managed to hear of Batman Beyond, hold onto your bats, because I’m about to blow your freakin' mind.

In 1999, a formerly very futuristic sounding year, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett took the vision of the Dark Knight they’d pioneered on Batman: The Animated Series and brought it forward into a dark, distant future. A future where an elderly Bruce Wayne was too old to carry on his one-man war on crime and a Batman-less Gotham City, now known as Neo-Gotham, has spiraled into deeper depths of lawlessness, even as the city’s futuristic skyline continues to climb higher into the night.

But the call for justice can only go unanswered for so long, and a reluctant Bruce Wayne is given no choice but to train and mentor the hot-tempered, but highly motivated, sixteen year old, Terry McGinnis, for his role as Neo-Gotham’s new Dark Knight. A lot of long-time Bat-fans scoffed at the idea of a teenage Batman at the time, and if Twitter had been around, the cries of ruined childhoods would have no doubt been deafening, but over the course of three seasons and one direct-to-video movie, Batman Beyond became a positively adored addition to the animated Batman mythos.

With the recent launch of Batman Beyond Rebirth #1 as part of DC’s Rebirth initiative, this seemed like as good a time as any to take a look at some of the amazing art the show inspired. So enjoy this glimpse into Gotham’s future, check out the artists’ respective sites, and if you’ve never seen the show, get on Netflix and fix that before the future is now.


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