Adam: Talking Batman: L’il Gotham with Tom. Based on your recommendation, I bought the first two issues of L’il Gotham. From a comic book fan’s perspective, there are several things I liked. From a parent’s perspective, it’s a mixed bag of good and bad. Our kids are roughly the same age and have been exposed to the books. What was Harry’s reaction to the comics? What were you’re initial reactions as a parent sharing this particular comic book experience with your kid?
Tom: Well, for Harry, I am super lucky that he was a Batman fan from well before the Comics. It was actually him being a fan that caused me to read a preview of the L’il Gotham #1. I knew that this was perfect for him and waited for the print versions to come out. We got #1 which was all about Holidays and Harry thought it exciting and funny. Harry, who is rather rough and tumble had a blast with the action parts of the book, but also laughed and silly moments like Damien chasing down little kids dressed as villains. Overall I think that as a parent, this comic is pushing the limit for my sons who are three and four, but it’s still OK and fun. The art is kid friendly, there is no more violence it than Batman Brave and the Bold, and the story is relatively simple without becoming boring. If I were to tack an ideal age to this, I would say that it is perfect for the 6-7 year olds aspiring comic fans. The story and reading are simple enough but challenging for that age and there is not much content for a parent to be concerned about. I enjoyed the books as much as my kids, What about you? What is your primary ‘con’ about this comic for Lilly at her age? What do you think is the best positive, outside bonding time, for her? Do you see yourself continuing to pick up issues of this comic or will that depend on Lilly and her interest level?
Adam: Lilly is a Marvel girl, but she knows about Batman and was interested in these books. I thought the story was a little hard for a 3 year old to follow. Some of it needed explaining. However, she was interested enough to ask questions like, “Why is Joker eating a rose”. That’s one of the joys of reading with kids. Anytime a book can generate interest and intrigue is a good book in my opinion. Couple of things I didn’t like (both as a parent and comic lover). I glanced ahead to some of the other books in the series. Each story is tied to the holiday closest to the book’s release date. I was hoping for more traditional Batman and Robin stories. Not the true meaning of Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, Thanksgiving, ect. The second issue contained a few words I don’t want Lilly using. Robin uses the word ‘stupid’ pretty liberally throughout the second book. I found myself replacing that word with other adjectives. I think we’ll try a couple of more issues and move onto another series. As a comic book fan, I loved the illustrations. It’s a style you don’t see very often. Almost watercolor in nature. What did you think about the art work?
Tom: The art is fun, and certainly similar to watercolor. I think it gives it a sort of rough and warm appeal that I seem to enjoy. I have a like/dislike for the holiday tie-in theme. Truth be told, I think it fits nicely with the story set of old school Batman stuff like the Adam West Batman. Each “episode” has a general theme, villains appear and scheme against Batman and/or Gotham, then it is up to the great detective to stop them, usually with the help of Robin. In the case of L’il Gotham the theme is just very specific; they all connect to a holiday. I can see your point on some level though, every issue having been tied to that month’s holiday can be limiting to a degree. For one, I am not really going to be in the mood to read the Christmas issue in August. I would also like to see the holiday as a very under lying part of the actual story. I guess the addition of this is to offer a learning experience. I was informed that there are a good number of Easter eggs for big time fans. I am never going to say that I am as big of a fan of Batman as you. So I wanted to ask what, if any, Easter eggs have you spotted so far. I was never looking and in addition can be sort of slow, so I have not caught any.
Adam: I don’t know what they consider Easter Eggs these days. I’ll have to go back with my trained Batman eye and see if I can pick any up. My final thoughts: All-in-all, L’il Gotham is a good effort to engage younger readers. The art work is above average but the storytelling is a little iffy. The books are loaded with characters from the Batman universe. You’ll even see some obscure bit players. If you’re looking for a Holiday themed comic to share with young ones, this is a great place to start. We’ll stick with this series for now in hopes the non-Holiday story side emerges. Any final thoughts on the books?
Tom: My final thoughts: I grew up with a gritty and dark Batman even in my very youthful days. I like my Batman that way and I will always prefer it. On the other hand I enjoyed a Batman of a lighter side for the sake of my sons. It is rather fun and silly comic that allows me to share a part of my life I enjoy with my kids without worrying about scarring them for years to come because the Batman made some guys bleed. We will likely keep reading just to see how this idea progresses.