I didn’t plan on watching my first episode of Gotham last night, the eve of Batman Day. It was one of those funny coincidences; after I finished watching, I checked social media and the first thing I read was about Batman Day. So, of course, I had to find a way to celebrate and luckily I was able to drag my wife to the local comic book store, where we did some window shopping and took a photo with a Joker cosplayer.
When I was a kid devouring comic books, I was all about Marvel. My closest friends who liked comic books were also Marvel geeks, so it was easier to relate to everybody since we all operated in the same comic book universe. We weren’t into the cheesy Superman and Justice League; they just weren’t as cool as Spiderman or the Avengers.
But I always loved Batman. I’ll never forget the oversized Batman annual that my dad bought for me. I read that thing until cover fell off. I don’t recall the particular details of the stories, but I do remember how frightening the Scarecrow and Two-Face seemed. Batman was scary, too; he did not resemble the Adam West version that I’d watched on TV every week.
Of course, I was fortunate that I was a teenager during the release of the Big Three: Maus, Watchmen, and The Dark Knight Returns. While I wouldn’t read Maus or Watchmen until a few years later, The Dark Knight changed the way we would see Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego.
And that’s what I love about all of the comic book universes: they’re constantly up for re-examination and re-interpretation by each generation. I’ve seen several versions of the Batman and enjoy each one (for the record, Frank Miller’s Year One is probably my favorite).
So, even though Gotham is not focused on Batman, it is set in his world, with Bruce Wayne at the pivotal moment of the first episode. It’s another re-imagining of the myth; one that continues to entertain and enlighten.