Gotham by Gaslight

Gotham by Gaslight
Gotham by Gaslight
Gotham by Gaslight.jpg
Gotham by Gaslight (February 1989). Art by Mike Mignola.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Format One-shot
Genre Steampunk, superhero
Publication date February 1989
Number of issues 1
Main character(s) Batman
Creative team
Writer(s) Brian Augustyn
Artist(s) Mike Mignola
Inker(s) P. Craig Russell
Editor(s) Mark Waid
Collected editions
Gotham by Gaslight ISBN 0-930289-67-6
Gotham by Gaslight (inc. Master of the Future) ISBN 1-4012-1153-4

Gotham by Gaslight is a DC Comics one-shot by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola, with inks by P. Craig Russell. It spawned a sequel, Master of the Future (1991), also written by Augustyn, but with art by Eduardo Barreto.

Although not originally labeled as such, Gotham by Gaslight is now considered to be the first Elseworlds story, where DC Comics heroes are taken out of their usual setting and put into alternate timelines or realities. Subsequent printings have included the "Elseworlds" logo.



It is 1889. Bruce Wayne returns from a visit to Europe back to Gotham City, as does his old family friend Jacob Packer. Shortly after arriving, Bruce takes up the mantle of Batman, fighting criminals on the street, using his friend Lieutenant Gordon's knowledge of criminal gangs currently operating to know when to strike. Gordon also shows Bruce the case of a man who poisoned his wife and tried to commit suicide with the poison, which left him alive with a permanent grin. At the same time, it appears that Jack the Ripper has come to Gotham, as a murder in Gotham seems to resemble the Ripper murders. After Wayne Manor is searched, a bloody knife is found under Bruce's bed and Bruce is convicted of being the Ripper and sentenced to be hanged for his crimes.

While in prison, Bruce toils day and night to try and figure out how he can get the Ripper, by first realizing his identity. After the realization has come to him, he escapes from prison with the help of Alfred and heads straight for the Ripper. Batman interrupts just as the Ripper is about to claim his next victim, Batman chases the Ripper throughout Gotham and the two eventually come to a stop at the grave of Thomas and Martha Wayne, where it is revealed that Jacob Packer is the Ripper. Packer was driven insane by Martha Wayne's rejection of his advances, and has been killing women who resemble Martha since to silence the laughter he hears in his head. He also revealed that he hired an assassin to kill the Waynes. Packer then tries to kill Batman, but Gordon shoots Packer dead at the last minute. Batman disappears into the shadows, leaving Gordon to take in the body of Jack the Ripper.

Master of the Future

In the sequel, set in 1892, Batman must battle Alexandre LeRoi, who is seeking to disrupt Gotham's turn-of-the-century celebrations.


After the events of Identity Crisis, the Atom (whose estranged-wife was revealed as the villain) spent DC's missing year out of the limelight. In the weekly-sequel to the weekly event 52, Countdown, the Source Wall names Palmer as a key figure in impending DC Universe events. The search for Ray Palmer began in the Wildstorm Universe, and soon crossed onto the new 52 worlds created during the course of Infinite Crisis.

The first of these was called Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Gotham by Gaslight (January 2008) and was written by Gotham by Gaslight's original author, Brian Augustyn, relishing his chance to return to the world he had created.[1] The story saw Bob the Monitor accompany Jason Todd, Donna Troy, and Kyle Rayner (the latter three inhabitants of "New Earth") through the multiverse in search of multiuniversal counterparts to Ray Palmer. The group stopped on Earth-19, the Earth where the Batman of the earlier two Elseworlds storylines acted. There, they also encountered this Earth's counterpart of Blue Beetle and Man-Bat before they went to the next Earth for their continuing search.

Their search would take them to worlds populated by characters from other Elseworlds stories, including those seen in the Batman & Dracula trilogy (Earth-43) and Superman: Red Son (Earth-30).

Publication history

Gotham by Gaslight, the first official (although un-identified as such) Elseworlds publication, was initially released as a 52-page one-shot in February 1989. It was written by Brian Augustyn and pencilled by Mike Mignola, with inks by P. Craig Russell. Two years later, the 68-page sequel Batman: Master of the Future — also written by Augustyn, but with art by Eduardo Barreto — was released, this time officially labelled an Elseworlds publication.

In 2006, in the wake of the DC event Infinite Crisis (which reshuffled the DC Multiverse), DC editorial allocated the Gotham by Gaslight world the label "Earth-19". Prior to its appearance in Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Gotham by Gaslight (January 2008), the two one-shot issues were collected into one 112-page trade paperback volume (which was released under the same name, and with the same Mignola cover as the one-shot release).

Collected editions

The two stories have been collected into a trade paperback.

Critical reaction

IGN Comics ranked Gotham by Gaslight #13 on a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels, saying that the comic is "as taut and well-conceived a graphic novel as you can find — Elseworlds or otherwise." The website added, "Quite simply, no other Elseworlds tale has managed such a brilliant concept nor executed it so perfectly." Gotham by Gaslight was not the highest-ranking Elseworlds story on the list, however, as Batman & Dracula: Red Rain ranked higher at #9.[2]

See also

Other Elseworlds that involve Jack the Ripper:

  • Batman: Two Faces
  • JLA: The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • Wonder Woman: Amazonia


External links

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