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:
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?
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.