Trashed Batman Cartoon Made Joker a Psychotic Teen

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Trashed Batman Cartoon Made Joker a Psychotic Teen

Concept art from the canceled Gotham High is gorgeous, but reveals what could have been an awkward Batman transposition.

Artists Jeffery Thomas and Celeste Green were once approached by DC Comics to develop a cartoon series called Gotham High that starred characters from the Batman universe in a high school drama. Gotham High never made it to production, but high-quality concept art still lives to show us what could have been.

Thomas and Green transformed all of Batman's most popular characters into teenagers, including Bruce Wayne, Catwoman, Scarecrow, and Two-Face, and they look great. However, some of Gotham High's characters could provide a hint toward why DC decided to leave this cartoon on the shelf.

The Joker is a psychotic mass murderer. Outside of the horror genre, he's one of the most terrible villains ever conceived. Bane became popular as the foe that broke Batman's back, forcing Wayne to take a break from the cowl for a while. Two Face, with the flip of a coin, will shoot you in the gut.

None of them seem particularly suited to becoming a character in a kid's cartoon, though Batman: The Animated Series translated Gotham City's characters into such a show perfectly by keeping a sense of seriousness about it. In the case of Gotham High, the characters seem like they'd have to be a little too whimsical, as I doubt anyone would be getting shot or blown up.

Gotham High's concept art is absolutely beautiful, and from an aesthetic viewpoint it would have made for a great series that I definitely would have watched. Thinking about it conceptually, it might have been tough for a kid that enjoys the hijinx of Joker as a class clown on Gotham High to seek out more material and come across the terror of the villain blowing up a hospital in The Dark Knight, or of Bane snapping their comic book idol's spine.

I could be looking too far into it, but there's something about the Joker as a silly teenager that doesn't quite sit right. Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe DC saw it the same way.

Source: Jeff and Celeste's Blog, via Blastr

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I couldn't see this doing well even if they had permission to do some pretty violent stuff. Batman in high school so when did he train as a ninja during elementary school?

Maybe if they made it not as a kids' show... something just as dark and violent as say, The Dark Knight as a parody. that would have been awesome.

Maybe.

Thank god this got canceled i can't fathom how horrible this coulda been.

This would have made a great series. And the concept of a silly teenage Joker really depends on the guy voicing him. Until we get to actually listen to a demo or something (which we won't) I do not think anyone can really judge 'How it COULD have gone'.

It is great stuff though. And I love the Joker-Harley pair.

This actually sounds like it would have been a fun spoof. But I can understand why people would hate the idea.

i try not to respond with this too often, but seriously...

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

i mean, really, it could only work as a parody. and even then...

baffling. kinda like an elf warrior with cyborg boots.

Its deffinatly an interesting concept but I see it being preaty shallow and for someone like me whos so into the aesthetics of projects thats hard to say. I would love it if it went into the mind set of teens and related it to the already exsisting characters like if they all had imaginary friends in their heads who were the already existing characters but lets face it, it wouldnt do it as its a kid show from the 2000's. Watch Batman of the Future it did this in a way already. Man I gotta look for those DvDs. The artworks deffinatly banging though, at the end of the day its deffinatly a shame it got canceled as varieties a good thing and im tired of seeing the same Batman story over and over. Thats why Brave and the Bold rocks so much.

It's not that bad. There could be worse things.

But... But... I would have watched that!!!

Its sad that there is really nothing on TV that I care about watching anymore. I totally would have given Gotham High a shot.

Maybe the concept art is better than the concept, but I don't know, I can totally see the appeal in this. X-Men: Evolution had it's charm, so who knows, this might have been decent.

On a side-note, who's the goth chick? Is that Cat Woman? And who's the guy in dreads?

I think it would have made for one of those great "What if" things. The artwork leads me to think it could have been a fun tongue in cheek thing. That would of course be pending that it didn't get the 4kids treatment and be filled with suck in the name of "protect the kiddies".

The idea has lots of potential, but as one of my professors said "Great ideas don't always make great movies" just substitute movies for television in this case.

Littaly:
On a side-note, who's the goth chick? Is that Cat Woman? And who's the guy in dreads?

The guy in dreads is clay face as hinted at by his arm looking like it's oozing clay and yeah I think the goth chick is cat woman.

I notice there doesn't seem to be some variation on Clayface in that first picture...maybe he's the one on the far left.

Hell, I'd have watched it. Could have something to do with me not being big on Batman, but it looks enjoyable.
Don't ask me why, I'm trying really hard to work out why I think that.

This looks so terrible... I'm really sad it didn't get made.

Now we'll never now how awful it possibly could've been.

Still, at least it didn't exist to taint the Batman legacy (Batman and Robin did enough of that, anyway...)

Get Mark Hamill on the phone.

I would totally watch this.

Definitely would have watched a few episodes just to see how they did it.

Also, group photo from left to right: Clay-Face, Two-Face, Penguin, Killer Croc, Riddler, Batgirl/Batwoman/Robin/Oracle (depending on who it's referring to), Batman, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Joker, Harley, Poison Ivy, Bane, Mr. Freeze.

Littaly:
Maybe the concept art is better than the concept, but I don't know, I can totally see the appeal in this. X-Men: Evolution had it's charm, so who knows, this might have been decent.

On a side-note, who's the goth chick? Is that Cat Woman? And who's the guy in dreads?

Funny enough, although I enjoyed the original cartoon series, Evolution was really good. It seemed closer to the original concept of the school of mutants idea, the characters were also alot more interesting without deviating from their original concepts, proberly to do with the absence of the aliens and valley full of dinosaurs and what not. Not to mention Gambit was banging, just as cool as I remember from the original series. And Rouge was hot.

A high school where a huge portion of the students are psychotic murderers? Sound like MY school Lawlzzz.
I'm glad this didn't come out, but it's not like they haven't had batman cartoons directed at kids before. What was this going to be for toddlers? Just don't tell anyone that the Joker beat a child with a crowbar and everything will be fine.

I tend to agree, while it is intersting to thinking about what could have been, it wouldn't been anything Batman needed. There would be no point of the series.

I don't think the cartoon would have lasted, as it doesn't really follow the canon of the story arcs. I think the art style is amazing and it would make a great "What If..." comic series, or Web based cartoon.

The Gentleman:
Definitely would have watched a few episodes just to see how they did it.

Also, group photo from left to right: Clay-Face, Two-Face, Penguin, Killer Croc, Riddler, Batgirl/Batwoman/Robin/Oracle (depending on who it's referring to), Batman, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Joker, Harley, Poison Ivy, Bane, Mr. Freeze.

Beat me to it. The only ones I didn't guess is Scarecrow and Catwoman, but it's obvious now that I think about it. I can't help but think this is a really fun concept though, how you can not like it unless you think Batman is SRS BUSNESS.

This looks like it'd make a great web comic spoofing the Batman universe, but not a TV series. The appeal would burn out too fast trying to create content that would reflect the true personalities of the villains and heroes.

EDIT: Of course Teen Titans was actually a great cartoon, so who knows.

looks cool, and Harley in a cheerleader uniform. Mmmmm....

I would have actually watched this.... i don't care how silly it might look to some ppl.

wow, that's just terrible. i pray this never happens, that lame marvel heroes show on cartoon network is bad enough.

That looks unbelievably stupid.

Maybe it could work as a so bad it's good parody, but then you'd want someone other than DC to do it so they aren't afraid to stick the boot in, though you have to watch out for copyright.

Won't someone thing of the continuity?

The premise here is just frightening.

Geo Da Sponge:

The Gentleman:
Definitely would have watched a few episodes just to see how they did it.

Also, group photo from left to right: Clay-Face, Two-Face, Penguin, Killer Croc, Riddler, Batgirl/Batwoman/Robin/Oracle (depending on who it's referring to), Batman, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Joker, Harley, Poison Ivy, Bane, Mr. Freeze.

Beat me to it. The only ones I didn't guess is Scarecrow and Catwoman, but it's obvious now that I think about it. I can't help but think this is a really fun concept though, how you can not like it unless you think Batman is SRS BUSNESS.

No need to guess, the names of all the characters are on the bottom of the picture in uber-small print

Matthew Snouffer:

Geo Da Sponge:

The Gentleman:
Definitely would have watched a few episodes just to see how they did it.

Also, group photo from left to right: Clay-Face, Two-Face, Penguin, Killer Croc, Riddler, Batgirl/Batwoman/Robin/Oracle (depending on who it's referring to), Batman, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Joker, Harley, Poison Ivy, Bane, Mr. Freeze.

Beat me to it. The only ones I didn't guess is Scarecrow and Catwoman, but it's obvious now that I think about it. I can't help but think this is a really fun concept though, how you can not like it unless you think Batman is SRS BUSNESS.

No need to guess, the names of all the characters are on the bottom of the picture in uber-small print

Yeah, but that spoils the fun.

Wait, your first post on the Escapist is about some tiny detail which people don't need to know about? Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

"Set it in high school!"

Sounds pretty uncreative. What's next? Batman Babies?

Execution is really important, though. If they played it as a self-conscious joke it might work, but that hasn't been the Bat-fashion for a while. Thinking of something this silly trying to take itself seriously gives me indigestion.

Geo Da Sponge:
I can't help but think this is a really fun concept though, how you can not like it unless you think Batman is SRS BUSNESS.

The character designs are reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series, though, and that was pretty srs business.

As others have said, it could potentially make a great spoof series on the web, or maybe have a good one season run, but aside from that, I dont think they can do all too much with it. I would say that it if they were to get anything 'quality' from it, is that it should definately not be aimed at kids. Then again, it would depend entirely on the writer.... Perhaps if they hired the guy who did Invader Zim?

Let's say I love Batman and I would have definitely given this a shot. For one thing Batman is not always a dark gritty series, and sometimes was really great when it was full of camp "see Brave and the Bold". This could have turned out great or terrible but I think it should have gotten a chance, just looking at it it has a great potential of being hilarious.

I believe this project was replaced with Batman Beyond. If I am right, I am doubly glad Batman was not reduced to whining about the prom.

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