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CSBG Archive

Almost Hidden – The Doom That Came to Gotham

Even with this large amount of comic books that have been collected in trade paperbacks, there are still a number of great comic books that have never been reprinted in print (I’d say roughly 60% of them are DC Comics from the 1980s through the mid-1990s). So in this feature I spotlight different cool comic books that are only available as back issues. Here is an archive of the comic books featured so far.

Today we look at Mike Mignola’s Batman mini-series, The Doom That Came to Gotham.

First off, right off the bat, it is just ludicrous not to collect a Mike Mignola-written Batman series. Mignola is one of the most popular comic book creators in the industry today, and while it is fair to note that he did not DRAW this series (if he did, there’s no doubt that it WOULD have been reprinted by now), he still wrote it and that should still be a major sales pitch. Hellboy comics kept selling well after Mignola stopped drawing them regularly.

The three-book series was plotted by Mignola and Richard Pace, scripted by Mignola and drawn by Troy Nixey (who has since become a film director) and Dennis Janke.

The gist of the series is that Mignola is merging Batman’s mythos with H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos. The series is set in the late 1920s where explorer Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City for the first time in years.

The ancient sorceror Ra’s Al Ghul is bringing rise to a “thing” that only Batman can stop. Check out Ra’s introduction…

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and check out this creepy as hell sequence…

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Mignola has a keen eye for how to combine various Batman characters with the Lovecraft mythos, with particularly inspired choices being Mister Freeze, Poison Ivy and, of course, this striking take on Two-Face…

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Wow, that is awesome.

After Oliver Queen falls victim to the coming evil, Batman takes Queen’s magic arrows and makes a final stand, prepared to give up anything (including his own humanity) to stop the arriving darkness…

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Even if you’re not a Lovecraft fan, I think you’d enjoy this well-told story, but if you ARE a Lovecraft fan, then this story is a must-have.

How would this not sell? You can even use Nixey’s future success as a filmmaker as a selling point on top of Mignola’s popularity!

Collect it, DC!

14 Comments

Yeah gee whiz I really want to read this but DC is dumb and leaves it out of print. I found a set at a recent convention but it was like $100.

I bought this when it first came out. I haven’t read it in quite a while but as I recall it was quite good. Where’d I put my copies, anyway?

Frogs. Why does it have to be frogs?

I loved the Doom that Came to Gotham. It was like Batman with all the themes of Hellboy.

ebays got single issues going for $30+ and sets going for $75-100. Haven’t checked the local comic shops for them…though I imagine they aren’t far behind in price. I have to dig mine out and give them a reread today.

LouReedRichards

July 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

I am a Lovecraft fan and of course a Mignola fan. I didn’t even know this existed. Now of course I’m bummed out that I can’t get it. Like most Lovecraftian characters, I think I was better off living in ignorance.

I picked this up for .50 an issue at a garage sale a few years back. Read it, enjoyed it, then put it away. Now I see the comments about not being able to get it off ebay. Holy crap, I’m glad I picked it up.

joe the poor speller

July 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm

This comic ROCKS! DC need to collect this asap… Maybe a “complete batman by mignola” tpb, with gotham by gaslight, sanctum, his batman: black and white story and the covers he did.

amazed given how like superman batman is dcs big cash cow and other then norm bryfoggle stories not getting any trade loving dc has not collected this story at all. come on its batman as if hr lovecraft was writting him.espically how creepy two face is in this story.

True story: I met Mignola at a con last year and got him to autograph my “Gotham by Gaslight.” His reaction: “Oh yeah, I did draw this!” Nice guy.

Ooh – I didn’t even like this much. I’ll have to see if I can find my copies and sell them on eBay!

I wrote this on the CBR Batman forum four days before the article above was published. Coincidental.

“I would also like to know why this story [The Doom That Came to Gotham] has not been collected. It came out in the year 2000 via three 8$ prestige-style books. Magnola was still very popular and Hellboy trades were selling quite well, but I bet the fact that he didn’t pencil it affected demand. The Doom That Came to Gotham is now a bit hard to find at a reasonable price (50$ for the set seems to be the norm). It is unfortunate that more fans can’t get exposed to this Elseworld Tale, but I wonder if any E.W.s are really well-known or easily accessed, beyond the ubiquitous Gotham by Gaslight.

dancj, while I recognize that you don’t like Mignola as a writer, I respectfully disagree with your statement about the quality/value of this story; to me it is worthy of being collected as it is much better than many Batman stories that have been. I’ve recently finished reading it, and would like to point out some elements I appreciated:

- three killer covers from Mignola. Beautiful stuff.

- strong character designs. The Batsuit is fantastic, Two-Face is unique and grotesque, etc.

- consistent and detailed setting. A very grounded, concrete, and plausible 1920′s Gotham.

- interesting pencils from Troy Nixey. Never heard of him before this, but he has Mignola-esque shadows, while his figures sometimes remind me of Paul Pope’s delicate feathered line-work. I didn’t have to ‘work’ to ‘read’ many panels at all.

- a bold attempt to include many characters from the batmythos: Dick, Jason, Tim, Gordon, Barbara, Bullock, Mr. Freeze, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Talia and Ra’s, Man-Bat, Green Arrow, etc.

- many of the above characters appear with clever nods and winks which indicates care and craft in the writing.

- frequent homages to H. P. Lovecraft (“The Doom that Came to Sarnath”), especially in terms of the tech designs, the creatures, and the themes: misguided science/religion, the menace of the occult, the burden of inheritance, the power/danger of ancient knowledge, the presence of undiscovered primordial creatures on earth, human society teetering on the brink of collapse, etc.

I do admit that I did have some criticisms of The Doom That Came to Gotham. I found there to be too much of the occult incantation stuff, I liked the solid (heh-heh) treatment of Jason but hated the weak treatment of Dick, I found the third act to be too rushed and dialogue-heavy, I thought the character voices were off in some cases (for example, Bruce uses too many colloquial expressions for a 1920s explorer/adventurer), and it does sort of read like a Batman story mapped on to a Hellboy story – but is that necessarily a bad thing?

Ultimately, in my view, the easy criticisms are outweighed by all of the good in The Doom That Came to Gotham. Consequently, it should be collected and reprinted so more fans can be exposed to it and form their own appreciations for it.”

Wasn’t there a sequel, or am I thinking of Gotham by Gaslight or the series of Lovecraftian JSA trades?

I just read this. Thank goodness for those who made digital copies! It really was a good read.

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