‘Batman: Gotham by Gaslight’ Is the Dark Knight vs Jack the Ripper

Drew Dietsch
Movies Comic-Con
Movies Comic-Con Comics Batman DC

Gotham by Gaslight is a fan-favorite comic and for good reason. It was the first Elseworlds comic — “what if?” stories featuring DC characters — and showcased excellent art by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. The comic has maintained a strong following for years, and elements of it have cropped up in other Batman projects like a downloadable costume in Batman: Arkham Origins and an official sequel called Master of the Future.

Now, DC has brought the comic to life with one of their animated features. We got a sneak peek at the film while we were at New York Comic Con.

Putting the “Dark” in Dark Knight

Executive producer Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) was excited to talk about how Gotham by Gaslight allowed the filmmakers to do some darker things with the Batman character. “This is more of a horror story,” Timm explained. He wasn’t even sure if the movie will be PG-13 or R. DC let the filmmakers be as graphic as they intended, and Timm seemed ambiguous as to which way the rating could go. But the fans overwhelmingly shouted their approval with a loud, “R!”

But, the subject matter isn’t the only dark element. Gotham by Gaslight takes visual inspiration from Mignola’s color palette and shrouds the movie in shadow. “We tried to get as much shadow as we could,” said director Sam Liu. And that shows. The clips we saw, which involved fights between Batman, Jack the Ripper, Selina Kyle, and three street urchins names Dickie, Jason, and Tim, were drenched in dark tones. It was a far cry from the brighter clips we’ve seen in other first-look footage.

Giving the World’s Greatest Detective a Good Mystery

The most intriguing element of the movie is Batman’s investigation into Jack the Ripper. “In the comic, there was only really one suspect,” Timm said. The filmmakers broaden the cast and present even more potential candidates for Jack the Ripper’s identity.

“He’s… a cousin to Sherlock Holmes,” Timm said. It looks like the mystery element of the movie is something the filmmakers really stress. Batman is rarely given a compelling mystery to solve, but that was an integral part of Gotham by Gaslight‘s screenplay.

Gotham by Gaslight hits digital, Blu-ray, and DVD in early 2018.

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