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Webcomic / Li'l Gotham

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A digital comic series that debuted in October of 2012 and ended in December 2013, published by DC Comics, written and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen and co-written by Derek Fridolfs. Basically a Lighter and Softer version of the DC Universe, centering on the Batman-specific parts of it and involving cuter character designs. As of 2013, there is no overarching plot—the issues are unrelated to each other, and generally center around holiday dates such as Halloween, Christmas, Cinco de Mayo, etc.

The story isn't currently in line with the New 52—or for the record, any other Batman continuity. Nightwing has his iconic blue costume, Barbara is still Oracle, all of the Robins live in Wayne Manor, etc.

The comics can be found on DC's digital comics website at 99 cents an issue here. They have also been collected in two print volumes.

Compare Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, another official Lighter and Softer webcomic centered around Batman's Cast Herd that premiered in 2021.

Li'l Gotham shows examples of the following tropes:

  • All Women Love Shoes: Both Catwoman and Harley Quinn pack huge amounts of shoes to go on vacation.
  • Anchovies Are Abhorrent: In one issue, Damian orders pizza for himself and his friend Colin, and is appalled when Colin requests anchovies.
  • Anti-Villain: In-keeping with the lightheartedness of the series, almost every villain qualifies.
  • Busman's Holiday: In one issue, Alfred forces Batman to take a holiday for the first time ever. Naturally, he ends up encountering villains in need of thwarting while he's on holiday.
  • The Cameo:
  • Captain Colorbeard: Captain Greenbeard, an ocean-going version of the Joker.
  • Christmas Episode: Issue #3, which featured Mr. Freeze kidnapping a choir of orphans because he thought they were being exploited for being made to sing Christmas carols.
    • Issue #24, in which Alfred and Damian go through the Wayne family photo archive while Batman does charitable work.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Robins each have a color, which appears on their masks when they're in uniform and accessories such as scarves when they're not: Dick's is blue, Jason's is red, Tim's is black, and Damian's is green. Bruce has gray accessories.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In the Labor Day story, the Carpenter just wants a quiet day off to work on a project of her own, which inevitably means that the entire day is a constant stream of interruptions.
  • "Far Side" Island: The Joker and Harley get stranded on one after the Joker sinks Greenbeard's ship in #8.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: The villains celebrate Halloween as the one day out of the year where they can go out and have dinner as themselves without getting strange looks.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Also in the Minzuki issue, Batman is shown playing a puzzle game with Riddler via webcam.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Colin.
  • Humongous Mecha: In the Minzuki issue, which takes place in Japan, a giant bat-mecha called "Battalion" is deployed to fight giant sea monsters.
  • Imagine Spot: When Batman is explaining the history of Halloween to Robin (Damian, who grew up in a secret society that didn't celebrate American holidays), Damian has a one-panel imagine spot in which Batman is a university lecturer in an old-fashioned tweedy outfit (but still wearing his cowl).
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Katana makes one to every pun Damian makes while working on a case with her.
  • Lethal Chef: When the four Robins and Batman try to make dinner for Alfred. By the end of it, Batman is shooting at toast with a freeze ray, Nightwing is attacking Damian with a loaf of bread, and the room is filled with smoke. They also destroyed the oven.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than pretty much everything going on in the Batman comic line at the time it was made. And possibly everything before as well.
  • Meaningful Echo: At the beginning of the Chinese New Year issue, Damian makes a disrespectful comment about Alfred being a "butt-ler". At the end, Damian again calls Alfred "the Butt-ler", but this time as a sign of respect after learning how much butt Alfred is capable of kicking.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The overinflated Batman and Robin balloons in the Thanksgiving Day parade use the outfits from the Adam West Batman show.
    • In the Mother's Day story, one of the trophy cases in the Batcave contains the hat and mask of the Gray Ghost, Batman's inspiration in Batman: The Animated Series. The man himself has a cameo in the Gotham City Comic Con story.
    • Also in the Gotham City Comic Con story, Robin gets downhearted that his favourite version of a popular and much-reinvented comic book hero seems to have been written out and forgotten. As Batman reassures him that characters like that live on in the hearts and memories of their fans, someone walks past in the background in the costume of an out-of-continuity Batgirl.
    • In the Mother's Day story, Robin teams up with the hero Abuse while Batman is out of town, and lets him borrow a bat-suit for the occasion. The panel where the bulky Abuse first appears in the bat-suit next to the relatively tiny Robin is a homage to a panel from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which also featured a huge musclebound Batman and a tiny Robin.
    • While being made to walk the plank over shark-infested waters, Bruce laments that he neglected to pack the shark repellent.
    • According to Derek Fridolfs, Damian's Odd Friendship with Katana was an obscure Call-Back to a Streets of Gotham issue where he'd admitted to having a crush on her.
    • While on vacation, Joker wears the same outfit he wore when he shot Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke.
  • Not Me This Time: In an attempt to freeze the city during spring to preserve it, Mr. Freeze accidentally spills plant grow formula all over the wings of his airship. This ends up coating the city, and when all the ice melts Gotham is completely covered in plants. And poor Ivy had just gotten out of Arkham, too.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Captain Greenbeard and his crew.
  • Pirate Girl: Captain Greenbeard's 'hench wench' Helena Queenie.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: The Minazuki issue has Batman, Robin, and Oracle joining Aquaman to fight a couple of giant sea monsters attacking Japan.
  • Running Gag: In the St Patrick's Day story, Batman has a busy day rounding up villains and hauling them off to jail in the back seat of the Batmobile, and every one of them remarks that they hadn't realised the Batmobile even had a back seat.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Damian had the kind of upbringing where his idea of relaxing with the family is fighting enraged zombies with his mother and grandfather, so he spends a lot of time puzzled or offended by whichever holiday the issue is featuring.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Damian does this during the deployment of the giant mecha in the Minazuki issue.
    Damian: Thoooomm!
    Damian: Sploooosshh!!
    Oracle: Stop that.
  • Shout-Out: The St Patrick's Day story has a villain on a leprechaun-themed crime spree, complete with a shout-out to the Lucky Charms mascot.
  • Similar Squad: The Joker and Harley Quinn are captured by the pirate Captain Greenbeard and his 'hench wench' Helena Queenie. On seeing them, Batman's reaction is:
    Batman: "Green", "HQ"... Don't I know you?
  • Super-Deformed: Everyone's drawn in a chibi fashion. Lampshaded in #2, when Damian derides a parade balloon's giant head as proportionally unrealistic.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Robin gets his tongue stuck when he attempts to lick the ice cream cone of someone stuck in one of Mr Freeze's blocks of ice.
  • Treasure Map: The pirate Greenbeard plants treasure maps to lead unsuspecting tourists into his ambush. When they reach the spot, there is even a giant X painted on the ground.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Harley Quinn. Notable in that this is one of the few continuities post-New 52 where she actually sports the classic costume.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: In the Halloween issue, a restaurant owner thinks Batman and Robin are cosplayers and offers advice on how to make their outfits more authentic.
  • Walk the Plank: Captain Greenbeard makes Bruce Wayne do this.
  • Whole Costume Reference: In one issue, while investigating a suspicious street racing gang, Katana wears a yellow racing jumpsuit that looks like the Bride's yellow racing jumpsuit from Kill Bill, which is itself a Whole Costume Reference to Bruce Lee's yellow tracksuit in Game of Death.
  • Who's on First?: In the Labor Day story, Hush attempts to make a phone call, which gets as far as "Who is this?" "Hush." before getting bogged down in misunderstanding.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: Some playful ribbing between Colin and Damian:
    Colin: That. Was. RADICAL.
    Damian: Haha! The '80s called — they want radical back, and stop by the '90s and drop that flannel off on the way!