Concept Art for Unmade Batman ‘Gotham High’ Animated Series

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 7th, 2011 at 1:32 pm,

gotham high cartoon that almost was concept art Concept Art for Unmade Batman Gotham High Animated Series

There’s a reason Batman is the most adapted comic book character of all time – from movie serials to live action television to animated television to novels to Pez dispensers to feature films (seven in all, if you don’t count Mask of the Phantasm) and so on – it’s because he’s awesome. Straight up.

Over a year ago, artists Jeffrey Thomas and Celeste Green were approached by DC to create a “spec series” based on an old drawing by Thomas. The series, which followed a teenage Bruce Wayne going to school at Gotham High, was never picked up. But now, thanks to the all-powerful, all-knowing Internet, we can look at what could’ve been.

The animated series would have adhered to those high school stereotypes we all know and love. There was the art geek (Clayface), the politically-minded class president (Two-Face), the dorky, fat kid (The Penguin), the super jock (Killer Croc), the incredibly intelligent nerdball (The Riddler), the cute, smart, girl-next-door type (Batgirl), the hipster (Scarecrow), the dangerously hot chick (Catwoman), the Jugallo (The Joker) and his Jugalette (Harley Quinn), the sexy goth girl (Poison Ivy), the meatheaded, steroid-pumping wrestler (Bane), the “cool” guy (Mr. Freeze), and, in the middle, cooler than all of them — Bruce Wayne.

Check out the concept art below, which reimagines Bruce Wayne and his rogues gallery as high school students:

And check out the original drawing that started it all:

gotham high original drawing 280x385 Concept Art for Unmade Batman Gotham High Animated Series

Check out Jeff and Celeste’s synopsis for the show below:

“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?”

Call me certifiable, but I would’ve loved to see this thing come to fruition. At first glance, Gotham High just looks like they replaced all the X-Men characters from X-Men: Evolution with Batman and company. However, whereas I couldn’t stand Evolution – it took itself way too seriously for a show about superheroes in high school – Gotham High looks fantastic to me in a really over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek sort of way. Almost like The Muppet Babies meets Clone High meets Batman: The Animated Series, all of which are some of my all-time favorite shows. What could’ve possibly gone wrong?

muppet babies clone high batman Concept Art for Unmade Batman Gotham High Animated Series

I’m not saying Gotham High would’ve been as good as all those shows, or even good. I’m just saying, as long as they would’ve kept it weird, funny, and incredibly self-aware…it could’ve been.

Source: Jeff and Celeste [via io9]

TAGS: Batman
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  1. OH GOD OH GOD I am so unbelievably relieved that this was shelved for good. I do love the concept art, but the whole idea is. Just no.

  2. woulda loved to see this onscreen

  3. This looks like the worst idea even to emanate from a human mind. The supermillionaire and snobbish Bruce going to a regular public high school, and sharing a classroom with villains who supposedly have widely differing origin stories. Cool artwork, though.

  4. The Batman was ok, But I prefer Batman:The Animated Series. Kevin Conroy is THE voice for Batman as far as I’m concerned.

    • @ Chris O

      I agree to that. Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman just as Mark Hamill is the voice of the Joker. Imo Bruce Timm, Andrea Romano & Co casted evenyone perfect for that show. I even bet Kevin Conroy would of been the best person to play Batman in a live action film.

  5. Sounds… odd. I’d still would’ve watched it. The only problem I do have with this is that there is no way on Earth someone of Bruce Wayne’s immense wealth would attend the same school as someone like The Joker. I can put up with everything else, absolutely everything, but not that. The defining trade of Batman as a superhero is his wealth and status. Without it, he’s just another angry, resentful young man who wishes he could do something about crime, but only ends up in jail. And there’s virtually no way to work this out. Even if he got kicked out of every private school in the country, Alfred could get him tutors.

  6. Art great, concept ridiculous.

  7. You know… While I WOULD have watched it, I think I’d just have had to completely disconnect the continuity of this show from any other reference to Batman in order to feel better. BTW, why not do a Superboy show? He actually DID have a rogues gallery IN HIGH SCHOOL. Sure it was tiny and fairly sucky, but he did. And by Superboy I mean either Clark OR Conner. But then I suppose there was still that copyright thing going on…

    That said, I would LOVE to watch a Superboy show focusing on Conner. Or even Clark. As long as it was modern and didn’t try to be anything like Smallville (a god-awful show that for some reason I love).

  8. Seeing this just made me cringe.

    It’s not that the art is bad or anything. The concept alone is a little amusing. But it’s Saved by the Bell meets Batman… and that’s not Batman. And I’m glad it’s not going to take the place of Batman as we know him anytime soon.

    • Ye know what would work better? Robin as the main character instead, with new villains that REFERENCE Batman’s rogues gallery. If they did it in a COMPLETELY non-serious manner ala Clone High (great show, sucks it only had one season) it might have worked.

  9. I liked X-Men:Evolution, it was actually one of my favorite cartoons. However, this reminds me more of Clone High, which was HILARIOUS. Yea, I would have loved to have seen this cartoon. Cartoon Network would have made a killing with it.

  10. This is a joke right? Ridiculous idea.

  11. I think the only aspect of the show that would have ever bothered me, was having Barbara be the same age as him. Should have included a freshman Bruce looked out for named Dick, and have Barbara be younger by a year or so.

    Other then that, I’d have watched it I think.

  12. Well, honestly, this kind of thing is really lame. I personally dislike this idea of “adapting Super Heroes to the Teens”, like X-Men: Revolution. Disvirtues the characters and their personalities.
    The art is pretty good, but this idea is way overused. They should innovate instead of repeating themselves.

    • Although I was a fan of X-Men: Evolution, I agree. What the heck are all these villains doing here? It’s like Bruce could have easily taken them out forever ago.

      • Yeah right? What’s worse is that they add all the insecurities and personal problems of teenagers to the villains, hoping to create a bond with the viewers, in this case, teenagers.
        Thank God Marvel is doing different, innovating, like the contracts with MADHOUSE for the production of animes about Iron-Man and X-Men, where the characters remain true to their original concepts.

    • i think this is pretty cool they should put this on tv like on CARTOON NETWORK. :) I’LL BE SO PSYCH..i love the drawing and how the cloth represent the personality.

    • haha wow a lot of opinions..i like it… but i think its a great idea and you could think that these characters are like there sons or there future self or maybe other character that are like them idk but i think its a great idea,.. :)

  13. Anyone notice how the Joker and Harley look like ICP fans?

    • the Jugallo (The Joker) and his Jugalette (Harley Quinn),

      thats what icp fans call themselves. or something.

      also, cracked.

  14. I’m so glad this never happened!

  15. This looks like it would have been fun. Too bad.

  16. This is like a REALLY bad fanfiction.

    • Somewhere out there there probably is a fanfiction based on this concept art.

  17. i love this style, although Bats looks too social awkward and not in a good way. Still, I love shows that aren’t serious at all. I would have watched this first ep threw, especially if the villain girls get to strut, besides, i always love when villains interact with each other and not just batman.
    I can already imagine Bruce getting stuck with a villainous lab partner and allusion to things in canon, like Harley having two stuffed hyena plushies. And i’m definitely making harlequin’s outfit, if your going to anime expo2012, i’ll be wearing it there.

    Now why do i wanna draw poison ivy sitting on banes shoulders, he feels like such a gentle giant. the kind of jerk who’s actually nice to there friends, and people they owe favors too, same kind that will hunt you down forever if you betray their trust.

    • I’m in the process of making Harley’s outfit right now. I already have two Harley costumes and this one would be a nice addition

  18. The idea is interesting, if a little weird. I probably would have taken a look at it, only because I’m easily entertained. XP

  19. This looks like it would be a fun concept for a show if you don’t take it too seriously. The idea behind shows like this isn’t “Batman before he became Batman” though that may be how they sell it to kids. It’s more like “lets take Batman concepts, map them to high school archetypes (as developed by John Hughes) and just have fun with it”.

    Unfortunately, the one thing many fans hate more than deaging well-known characters is taking Batman less than seriously (unless it evokes certain comics like B&tB). Personally, I never, ever want to take Batman seriously ever again. But that’s me.

  20. I think that this would have been an amazing idea, everyone is complaining about how Bruce wouldn’t have gone to the same school as these kids, or that it is stupid that all of the villains came from the same school, or that it does not make chronological sense for Barbara to be in highschool the same time as Bruce. But why does any of that matter? Seriously. Why do you all care about that? This show was not by any means going to be canon, and was not going to supposed to be taken seriously. It was just supposed to have been fun.

    Besides, I could see the young, depressive Bruce Wayne failing out of his upperclass school, and made to step down to the bottom of education where he discovered his purpose in life, to serve justice. Seeing all of the bullies in this school, hew saw kids that he could relate to through the emotional pain he felt from the loss of his parents.

    I also could see Barbara being Jim’s younger sister for this universe, while jim is on the discipline committee or whatever, Barbara gets caught up in Bruce’s personal war of self discovery. I actually think that it would work better if told from her point of view instead of Bruce’s.

  21. Wait, Poison Ivy was supposed to be the goth girl? *looks at concept art again* Sure doesn’t look like it. Looks more like the popular cheerleader type.

    In all honesty though, despite the absolutely ridiculous concept, I would still give this show a watch, even if just for the art style which I absolutely love in the concept art.