Like hundreds of thousands of other Bat-fam fans, I’m really enjoying WEBTOON’s Batman: Wayne Family Adventures series. Most of my favorite Batman and Batman-adjacent comics explore Bruce and his weird extended family’s relationship(s) in some way. So I’m not shocked that Wayne Family Adventures is my new favorite ongoing Batman series. What has shocked me, however, is how many other WEBTOON users are reading the series.
My hope is that at least some of those WEBTOON readers, who are likely not regular comic book readers, will dive into non-WEBTOON Batman comics. However, I would NOT recommend those readers pick up just any ol’ Bat-book. If they do, they are likely going to have a bad time. There are not many Batman series that match the tone, focus on relationships, and art style of Batman: Wayne Family Adventures.
But Batman: Gotham Adventures does.
What Is Batman: Gotham Adventures?
Batman: Gotham Adventures was a tie-in to The New Batman Adventures, which was itself a continuation of the ever-popular Batman: The Animated Series. Like the rest of the tie-in comics set in The Animated Series‘s continuity, Batman: Gotham Adventures was excellent. But what makes Gotham Adventures an ideal recommendation for Wayne Family Adventures readers is its focus on the Bat-family.
Prior to The New Batman Adventures, animated series Batman didn’t have a Bat-family. He and Dick Grayson Robin worked together, and Batgirl also showed up from time to time. But in most of his comics and television adventures, animated Batman either flew solo or worked with only one partner.
In The New Batman Adventures era, Dick Grayson graduated to Nightwing, a Tim Drake that’s more like Jason Todd showed up to be Robin, and Batgirl became an official member of the team. This gave the Gotham Adventures creative teams a full Bat-family to tell stories with, and boy did they ever.
That Time Nightwing and Batgirl Cosplayed to Cheer Up Robin
One of my favorite Bat-family-centric issues of Batman: Gotham Adventures revolves around Robin feeling in a bit of a funk. The fact that being a superhero is mostly about punching people in the face and does not often solve any of the bad guys’ or Gotham’s long-term problems is getting to him.
In an attempt to provide Robin with a fun distraction, both Batgirl and Nightwing dress up as ridiculously over-the-top villains and “terrorize Gotham,” hoping that some nice clean superhero action with a meaningful resolution will cheer up the Boy Wonder.
However, because he is a trained detective, Robin sees through both his partners’ disguises immediately:
By the end of the story, Robin does cheer up a bit, as a result of another Bat-family member’s efforts. But the real point of the story, to me, is that the Bat-family cares about each other, and they’ll go out of their way to help each other stay positive in the face of the lunacy Gotham City throws at them.
Gotham Adventures Is a Great Entry Into the Wider Bat-world
That lunacy, in Gotham Adventures, is not so grimdark as you’d find in other, more “mainstream” Batman comics. Gotham is instead a city in which some colorful characters do some nefarious things, but there is also fun and hope and even the chance of redemption for some of Batman’s “villains.”
For example, in Gotham Adventures 10, Harley Quinn gets herself declared sane and writes a romance novel about a female criminal who falls in love with a hero named Owlman. The Joker, as you’d expect, goes a bit ballistic over that:
In Gotham Adventures 39, Batman and Batgirl go undercover in a production of Macbeth and discover that Clayface’s latest nefarious scheme is that … he just really wants to act again:
And in Gotham Adventures 50, Batman reflects on his relationship with Catwoman, and he decides that maybe he should go a bit easier on her:
Except for a bit of fisticuffs, all these stories could easily be Wayne Family Adventures stories, if that comic were interested in telling stories that involved Batman’s villains. The fact it isn’t is one of the primary reasons I’d recommend Wayne Family Adventures readers also delve into Gotham Adventures. There’s a wide world of compelling characters to explore in Gotham, and the Bat-family is only the tip of the iceberg.
Gotham Adventures Is Also Cheap and Easy to Read
What might be most compelling to Wayne Family Adventures readers, however, is that Gotham Adventures is a) cheap (only 99 cents an issue on Kindle or comiXology) and b) actually readable on a smartphone or other mobile device. Unlike many other comic books, whose art often does not translate well to smallscreen size, Gotham Adventures‘s large panels and clear, animated-style art is just as readable on a phone as it is on the printed page.
If you want to read Batman: Gotham Adventures in print, your options are unfortunately more limited. While DC has semi-recently reprinted Batman Adventures and Batman & Robin Adventures in trade paperback form, they have yet to move on to Batman: Gotham Adventures. Given the book’s potential readership (and the fact that it might be the best-ever Batman series), this seems foolish to me. Perhaps DC will rethink this decision when they see a flood of Wayne Family Adventures readers purchasing Gotham Adventures on comiXology … but in the meantime, you’re likely best off reading Gotham Adventures digitally.
Fortunately, WEBTOON readers are used to and likely even prefer reading comics on their phone, meaning Gotham Adventures‘ lack of print availability is not much of an issue. As such, I can wholeheartedly recommend that Wayne Family Adventures readers start reading Gotham Adventures now, from beginning to end, as soon as they can. Those who do will likely find that Gotham Adventures contains some of their new favorite Bat-family stories. It certainly contains some of mine.