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New Batman in October: ARKHAM MANOR, GOTHAM ACADEMY, and Digital BATMANGA

Yesterday, DC Comics announced two original titles coming to the Bat-family of books – Arkham Manor and Gotham Academy – as well as a long-awaited reprint of Jiro Kuwata’s 1966 Batmanga.

Entertainment Weekly broke the news about Gotham Academy and Arkham Manor, two new books launching in October. Now it’s at about this point that I’d start complaining about reaching a critical-mass of Bat-books, but DC seems to be deviating from the usual “member of the Bat-family investigates, punches things” for the pair of new titles with very, very different creative teams from the main books.

Gerry Duggan is writing and and Shawn Crystal is drawing the October 22 release Arkham Manor, in which Wayne Manor is turned into the newest home from Gotham’s criminally-insane, but then some of the inmates end up dead. Entertainment Weekly‘s description make it sound like a murder mystery, although I’m more curious about why Bruce Wayne would loan out his house as a mental institution.

Arkham has always been a fascinating corner of Gotham history, at once a failed attempt to rehabilitate the city’s costumed criminals and also, sometimes a stealthy portal to hell where the crazy get crazier. Could the move to Wayne Manor make things worse? And how does DC see this as working as an ongoing title? Moreover, how long before one of Batman’s villains discovers the massive Bat-cave underneath?

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Then there’s Gotham Academy (October 1) written by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher and drawn by Karl Kerschl. Not only am I excited for the creative team here, but the teen-centric book sounds 180 degrees away from anything else DC is releasing right now. Academy is set in (and presumably around) Gotham’s prestigious prep school of the same name.

Bruce Wayne is being described as a benefactor of the school, meaning it’s likely we’ll see the Bat and other associated characters show up, scaring the crap out of some hapless teens.

In a press release from DC Comics, Gotham Academy is described exactly like this: “Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman MAPS is always following her around? Is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!”  Sounds like Harry Potter meets Mean Girls meets Batman, which sounds kinda crazy on its face, but also a possibly very lucrative premise if the right demographic discovers it.

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Finally, the L.A. Times offered details on the digital-first reprint of Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga as a weekly series starting this Saturday.

The series will resurrect the the 1966-1967 strip which ran in Shonen King. Kuwata is the creator of 8 Man, and his creation, Lord Death Man generated enough interest that he ultimately made his way into the Western comics around the same period.

DC plans to kick off the reprints with the 32-page “Lord Death Man” story this week.

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Which Bat-book are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below.

[Source: L.A. Times, Entertainment Weekly, Comics Alliance]

Additional reporting by Eric Diaz.

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