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Graduation Day: Remembering the Unique Success of Gotham Academy

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Graduation Day: Remembering the Unique Success of Gotham Academy

What a long, strange trip it’s been. No? Is that too saccharine? Listen, we’re just trying not to bawl our eyes out over here, OK? One of the best and brightest diamonds in all of DC Comics has finally faded and is gone. Hopefully not forever, but who knows. Let’s hope that, like Alice Cooper sang, school is just out for summer.

Gotham Academy began in October 2014, making it one of the longest-running current DC series at the time of its conclusion, and the last series standing that was born in The New 52 era. Sure, Batman, Superman and most of DC’s other big heroes were all a part of the New 52, but Gotham Academy had the same tone throughout the years, the same creative team, telling the same story. For the past three years, the series has told the story of Olive Silverlock, her cursed family and the mysteries and frights surrounding Gotham Academy. Oh, and of course, let us not forget Maps Mizoguchi, Olive’s erstwhile best friend, and leader of the Detective Club. (Oh, and possible future Robin.)

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Two New Variants from the “Gotham Academy”/”Lumberjanes” Crossover

While the rest of the DC Universe was burning down or breaking apart or engaged in some other life-threatening shenanigans, some terrible destruction that would end the entire world, Gotham Academy stayed grounded. Sure, occasionally something would happen that’d threaten the Academy, and towards the end, Gotham itself became a target — but throughout, the series zeroed in, focusing on the worlds of a small handful of heroes living in a strange, strange world. It felt like a story about a group of people; friends figuring themselves out, who just happen to be stuck in the weirdest place in the DC Universe.

And that’s no exaggeration. The Academy is weirder than Hogwarts with more mysteries than the V.F.D. It always felt like there was a huge plot that we weren’t seeing — that there were so many moving pieces, so many stories, that we were only getting brief glimpses of. Never has a comic book world ever felt that well-defined without all of the other characters leading their own books.

(Hey, speaking of, if you wanted to have some spinoff books now that the Academy is over, we’d be down with that.)

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