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Comic Book / Gotham by Gaslight

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Gotham by Gaslight is an Elseworlds story written by Bryan Augustyn and penciled by Mike Mignola, and the first Alternative Continuity Graphic Novel in being oficially considered one. Taking place in 1889 in a Victorian-esque Gotham City, it follows the story of how Bruce Wayne became Batman in an age without modern technology, learning from Dr. Sigmund Freud and training under Sherlock Holmes. During this time, he investigates the brutal murders of one Jack the Ripper.

Despite not being sold often, the series has had a good standing amongst fans and creators, even gaining a sequel entitled Master of the Future. The costume has appeared in several games as a popular alternate costume for Batman and even had its own senario in the Infinite Crisis video game. It was ranked #13 on IGN's Greatest Batman Stories.


It also has an Animated Adaptation called Batman: Gotham by Gaslight as part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.

This mini-series contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Job Change: Jim Gordon, before becoming Commissioner, is an inspector instead of Lieutenant or Captain.
  • Ax-Crazy: As one would expect, Jack's a complete and utter psychopath.
  • Bat Scare: Young Bruce survived his parents' murders because the culprit's shots startled a flock of bats into flight, distracting and confusing the attacker.
  • Big Bad: Jack the Ripper, whose grisly killing spree is what starts the plot.
  • Breaking Speech: Jack delivers one to Bruce as he kills Martha Wayne. Judging by how shaken Bruce is afterwards, it really got to him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Batman does this to Jack in an epic manner.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Played With. Batman will bleed, sweat, and be visibly shaken. He's human and not afraid to show it.
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  • The Commissioner Gordon: James Gordon himself, naturally, helps Batman during the investigation.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Not Batman per se, but his parents helped in regards to Jack.
  • Death by Adaptation: Unlike the real life Jack the Ripper (as we know anyway), Jack is killed when Inspector Gordon shoots him during the killer's final attempt to kill Batman.
  • Fanservice: Bruce has a Shirtless Scene in Master of the Future.
  • Flashback: Wouldn't be Batman without it.
    • At the start, we're treated to a scene with Bruce finishing his psychology studies with Dr. Freud as Bruce is coming home to Gotham to start his work.
    • After his identity is revealed, the Ripper flashes back, as part of his Motive Rant, to when he was spurned by Martha Wayne, which drove him to murder.
  • From Bad to Worse: Yeah, Batman can't catch Jack the Ripper, but at least he's able to watch over the city he loves. Oh, he's in jail after being framed for Jack's crimes and the killings have stopped. Well, at least the defense is strong... but it turns out that he's been sentenced to death.
  • Freudian Excuse: Jack the Ripper, of all people, has one. Among other things, he was betrayed by his best friend. According to Jack.
  • Gilligan Cut: Bruce insists he will be found innocent of murder. The next panel is the newspaper headline declaring Bruce guilty.
  • Historical Domain Character: Jack the Ripper. And Bruce learns early psychology under Sigmund Freud.
  • Kangaroo Court: Even though the murder weapon was found in his mansion, no one can really peg Bruce for the murders. Everyone's just saying things because he's in the hot seat.
  • Knife Nut: Jack the Ripper, to no one's great surprise, commits his murders with a knife. The specific type of knife he uses ultimately gives him away, as it belonged to a medical group who worked with Bruce's father.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the original Gotham By Gaslight was a dark story (its mood heightened by the atmospheric art of Mike Mignola), Master of the Future was more of an adventure yarn in the style of Jules Verne.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Batman is at least 7' in this story. He towers over everyone and can still move like a ninja.
  • Made of Iron: Batman gets beaned in the head with a board and slashed in the chest, but isn't deterred in the slightest.
  • Public Domain Character: Sherlock Holmes is referenced by Freud (though not by name) as Bruce's previous teacher.
  • Shout-Out: Freud and Holmes know each other well.
  • Slasher Smile: In his brief cameo, The Joker can naturally be seen sporting one.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Bruce hangs up the cowl after Jack the Ripper is caught, as catching him was the reason he created Batman in the first place. He comes out of it to deal with Alexandre, and sticks to it full-time as a result.
  • Tranquil Fury: Despite his calm demeanor, Batman is clearly angry when he meets Jack.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Batman, the world's greatest detective, vs Jack the Ripper, history's most infamous uncaught Serial Killer.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Alexandre doesn't think much of Batman when they finally clash, and ends up paying the price with his defeat.
  • Victory by Endurance: Batman defeats Alexandre like this in Master of the Future.

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