Fan News

Ten Moments that Mattered: The Bat Books Diversify

Ten Moments that Mattered: The Bat Books Diversify

By Tim Beedle Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

With a new year on the horizon and the holidays upon us, it’s a good time to take a look back at 2014 to remember and remark upon a few of its key DC Entertainment moments. Some of these moments played out on the comic book page or the screen, others were real-life happenings that shaped what we’ll be reading and seeing over the years ahead. If you’re a DC Comics fan or just an entertainment fan in general, they all mattered. It’s been a great year full of both ups and downs, but these are the big ones. These are our “Ten Moments that Mattered” for 2014.

Considering he’s 75 years old, one might expect Batman to be set in his ways, but our Dark Knight sure does love to surprise. This year brought a flurry of changes to the Batman family of comics that managed to bring new relevance to titles that had been part of DC’s stable for many years while adding diversity to the line and driving creativity to new heights.

The new Batgirl is probably the most obvious example. Written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher and drawn by comics newcomer Babs Tarr, the newly minted “Batgirl of Burnside” is a twentysomething who feels like a twentysomething. She’s a youthful super hero with problems that other women navigating the perils of very early adulthood can relate to, and boasting a redesigned costume that looks both great and practical. Is it any surprise that the suit seemed to break the internet when it was first revealed?

However, Babs wasn’t the whole story. Dick Grayson’s core title went through equally dramatic changes, shifting from a Gotham-set super hero story to a globetrotting spy tale with sci-fi elements. The result has been some of the best single issue comics of the year. From the reverse-chronological, riddle-strewn Futures End one-shot to the heartbreaking story of gun violence in Grayson #3 to the visually inventive lost-in-the-desert tale from this month’s Grayson #5. Dick Grayson was first introduced to the DC Universe in 1940, and suddenly, at 74, he feels like the next big thing.

Speaking of next things, we also can’t overlook Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan and Karl Kerschl’s Gotham Academy, a school set thriller aimed at the YA set—a first for the New 52. Featuring a diverse teenage cast, a puzzling mystery and awesome, stylized art that’s in a class of its own, it’s one of DC’s buzziest new titles since…well, Grayson.

Taken together—a reinvented ongoing comic, a new comic starring a beloved hero in a fresh scenario and an all new title featuring an original cast of characters—it shows that innovation can take many forms in the New 52. Combine those three titles with the also radically reinvented Catwoman and Supergirl, and the new, just launched Gotham by Midnight and it demonstrates that comics starring familiar characters can still feel fresh and vibrant. That comics for different audiences can exist in the same shared universe. In other words, that comics truly are for everybody.

Be sure to check again tomorrow for another moment that mattered in 2014.