Gotham by Gaslight is a DC Comics graphic novel 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.
The book features Batman in 1889, fighting Jack the Ripper when the serial killer comes to Gotham City. Unfortunately one of the main suspects is Bruce Wayne himself. The cast includes Lt. Jim Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, and Princess Julie Madison. The Joker makes a cameo appearance as a blue beard who tries to kill himself with Strychnine, but is left with a paralyzed rictus grin.
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; Batman & Dracula: Red Rain ranked higher, at #9.
Master of the Future
In the sequel, Batman has to battle Alexandre LeRoi, in 1892, who is seeking to disrupt Gotham's Turn-of-the-Century celebrations.
The story is similar to Master of the World, a film which combined two novels by Jules Verne: Robur the Conqueror and its sequel The Master of the World.
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 #1 (Jan. 2008), and was written by Gotham by Gaslights original author Brian Augustyn, relishing his chance to return to the world he had created. 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 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).
- For the Batman featured in Gotham by Gaslight, see Batman (Earth-19).
Initially released as a 52-page one-shot, the first official (although un-identified as such) Elseworlds publication, Gotham by Gaslight was released in February, 1989. Two years later, the 68-page sequel - Batman: Master of the Future by Augustyn and 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 (Jan 2008), the two one-shot issues were collected into one 112pg trade-paperback volume (which was released under the same name, and with the same Mignola cover as the one-shot release):
- Gotham by Gaslight (2006), by Brian Augustyn. (DC, ISBN 1-4012-1153-4), (Titan Books, ISBN 1-84576-403-X) collects:
- Gotham by Gaslight (with pencils by Mike Mignola and inks by P. Craig Russell)
- Master of the Future (with art by Eduardo Barreto)
In Other media
- In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Trials of the Demon" after Jim Craddock's magic ruins Batman's costume, Etrigan changes the costume into the Gotham by Gaslight suit.
- In the season pass of Batman: Arkham Origins, the Gotham by Gaslight costume is featured as one of the downloadable suits.
Other Elseworlds that involve Jack the Ripper:
- Batman: Two Faces
- JLA: The Island of Dr. Moreau
- Wonder Woman: Amazonia