The DC and Marvel comic brand are widely known for their expression through various forms of media properties and for being quite successful through each outlet. Not only are the comic books widely known as being adapted to the big screen, but they are prominent in video games, action figures, novels, fan based text and the list goes on and on. So it is no wonder that DC’s most popular super hero – Batman – is being revisited in the mainstream by a spin off TV series which begins to give backstory on all of the popular characters. This show is called Gotham, the city in which the Batman series takes place, and it begins by focusing on detective James Gordon and his dealing with the many crimes of Gotham, exposing many of Bruce Wayne’s future enemies. The TV show is in its first season (episode 16) and it getting pulverized by the longtime fans of Batman but at the same time it is widely accepted. Could this have anything to do with Gotham’s interactive newspaper published weekly on TV network Fox’s website? Well let’s find out.
The “Gotham Chronicle” has a series of articles that allows the audience to explore with each episode. It’s main function is to create a sense of “word-building” for the audience. By world-building, the audience is able to create other worlds to explore within the narrative expanding the supporting characters. The Gotham Chronicle gives insight to the latest news in the most recent episodes and past ones. For example, the last episode dealt with a mysterious murder that Jim could not get to the bottom of. So in return, the website creates these “character blogs” in a sense, to keep the viewers up to date with the world within Gotham. The expansion of different worlds has been a great treat to viewers that has been widely discussed and well deserved to the supporting characters.
Since the comics are the original backstory to this particular superhero and many other superheroes, they have interfered both positively and negatively when transitioning to another form of media. The comics have caused there to be an abundant amount of “additive comprehension” that have caused controversy. As Jenkins mentions in his weblog, “These comics provided back-story which enhanced the viewer’s experience of the film,” but in this case it allowed the viewers to be even more critical of the Gotham series. For example, the latest episode began to introduce Batman’s arch-nemesis The Joker but did not explain if it was actually The Joker or his original alias Red Hood. Dedicated fans began to speculate what the screenwriters of Gotham were referencing and why. The website’s Gotham Chronicle cleared this up with an article specifically focusing on the murder case in which Red Hood was speculated as a possible suspect. Many comics turned films have the problem of “additive comprehension,” because jumping from media form to media form because certain aspects of media outlets need more or less exposition.
The DC Comic franchise is a multination company that will continue to grow through the entertainment industry regardless of which outlet they choose. The Batman series can connect to a wide diversity of people and unlike superheroes who come and go, I think it is safe to say that Batman is the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one they need right now. So you and I will just have to keep watch on the Gotham series to see this new narrative unfold our long time friend as he seeks his vengeance on his parents’ death.
Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html>.
DC Comics. “Gotham Chronicle” N.P. FOX 2013 Gotham 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015 < Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html>.>