Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Gotham by Gaslight

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One of the many perks of having a high-speed web connection is that (finally) I can access streaming media and acquire digital downloads without the risk that my registration or purchase money will be wasted due to connection collapse.
And so I decided to celebrate a good start of the year and got me a copy of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.

I bought the comic back in 1992 (it had been published in 1989), attracted by both the steampunkish setting and the art by Mike Mignola, and I was both excited and worried about the movie adaptation.
But all in all, it turned out to be a good way to spend 75 minutes.

201801271517012844The plot in a nutshell: in a Victorian Gotham city, everything is ready to launch a great World Fair, but the police is busy trying to track and arrest a man known as Jack the Ripper, that preys on the women that work in the poorest neighborhoods.

The movie does not follow the plot of the original comic – it goes in a different direction, that reminded me of some work by Robert Bloch. Never a bad thing, that.
And it does not have Mignola’s character design, but goes for a Bruce Timm-ish style that is equally pleasing to the eye.
My main misgiving is the fact that we lose the original Gaslight Batman costume, but I can live with that.
In the trade-off, we get Selina Kyle, and it’s fine with me. Her Suffragist vaudeville artist and whip-cracking pro-active woman is a good addition to the plot, and is a good foil and partner for Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Gotham_by_GaslightThe script is filled with in-jokes and references both to the Batman mythos and Victorian popular culture, which is also fine.

So, tech details apart, Gotham by Gaslight is a great action animation, with a tight plot and a nice execution, and well worth a look.
Also, it’s good to see a cartoon that’s not intended for kids and knows how to handle the more mature elements.
Recommended, if you like Victorian weirdness, Batman and or the Ripper.

Now I’ll have to dig out the comic from the box it’s been filed in, and give it a second read.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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