On the second day of the New York Comic Con I was invited to talk to some of the talent behind the release of the upcoming DC animated film “Gotham by Gaslight”. “Gotham by Gaslight” was a graphic novel written by Brian Augustyn with artwork by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. It focused on a Victorian-era Gotham City similar to London and followed a steampunk Batman that was going up against one of the most notorious killers of all time…Jack the Ripper. It was also the first DC Elseworlds title, which was the name given to stories outside of the regular continuity and or alternate realities.
I was able to sit down and speak with producer/writer Jim Krieg, director Sam Liu and DC animation mastermind Bruce Timm to talk about the upcoming release.
Talking to Jim Krieg, who has had his hands in most of the DC animated movies from the last ten years, he informed us about the process of selecting what stories to adapt for the next line of releases.
I asked if they contacted or received any feedback from Mike Mignola in regards to adapting his art style for the movie.
“Bruce might have, I believe that he talked to him about it and that he was very positive about it.”
He also talked about the intensive research that he and his team did to provide a level of Victorian-era authenticity to the city and denizens of Gotham City for this film. There was also talk of comparisons of Batman to Sherlock Holmes and vice versa. There were a few Sherlock Holmes stories where he went up against Jack the Ripper and they researched what made those stories work and how to pace out an entire movie that is based on a comic book tale that is roughly thirty some pages long.
Director Sam Liu kindly graced our table next and talked about what the rating for “Gotham by Gaslight” will be and how they go about receiving ratings for the DC animated movies.
I asked him about the change of action sequences and fighting styles for “Gotham by Gaslight”. With most of the other Batman animated movies, there are a lot of fast-paced martial arts but was there a conscious effort to change Batman’s fighting style to reflect the Victorian era?
“A little bit, we definitely had conversations about what fight style would Jack have versus Batman and also with Batman, he would have training in certain things and we tried to make it less wire work kind of stuff and it’s a little more grappling and pugilism…it’s more boxing and hand to hand but it’s a little more grounded and realistic.”
Bruce Timm sat down with us to discuss “Gotham by Gaslight” and talked about the voice talent for the movie and who and why there was a different voice actor for Batman this time around. He also talked about pulling other characters from Batman’s universe that weren’t in the comics, and adapting them to include them in this story.
I asked Mr. Timm what brought about the idea to greenlight an Elseworlds title for an animated movie instead of adapting something from the current DC Comics universe? Was it more of a fan service or more of a push from behind the scenes from the crew?
“Ever since we started this line of movies we’ve made this big long list of famous comics and stories and stuff that would be of interest not only to the fans but to us and “Gotham by Gaslight” has been on the top of this list since forever. We would raise it as a possible movie off and on and sometimes it would be like, it’s a little bit different and not exactly a typical Batman, Superman or Justice League movie and there was a little bit of resistance in the past but fortunately, this time we raised it the home video people said yeah…let’s go for it, now’s a good time to try it. I’m really glad they did because I think that it opens up the door for a lot more…there’s nothing wrong with superhero movies, I love super hero movies, I can do Batman and Superman movies forever but it’s good to have a change of pace. It gets us out of modern day Metropolis and Gotham City and spandex and muscle suits. Hopefully this movie will do really really well and it’ll open up the door to do other movies that are in the same vein.
I also got to attend the NYCC panel for “Gotham by Gaslight” where they showed us some exclusive clips and discussed the movie in depth.
Overall it was one of the coolest experiences in my life and I would like to thank Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Gary Miereanu for setting the whole thing up and allowing me behind the scenes access as well as VIP seating at the DC animated panels.