Update: In a press release from DC Comics, a little more information about each series was revealed. Gotham Academy mentions three characters by name, "Olive Silverlock," "MAPS," and "Kyle." It also says there's a "ghost in the North Hall," and features both oddball teachers and "nothing as strange as the students!" The series promises to feature "new characters and old plus a secret tie to Gotham's past," as well.
Meanwhile, as suspected, there is something happening to the current Arkham Asylum soon. "When catastrophe strikes Arkham Asylum, where will Gotham City house the world's most dangerous criminals? And when inmates are found murdered, what is Batman prepared to do in search of justice?" the press release asks.
Original Story: Two new Batman series are launching in October, as announced by DC Comics on EW.com Monday morning. The series take slightly off-kilter looks at the world of Batman with several creators new to the family of books, and one return.
Both series are being listed as ongoing, and both are well outside the box of your standard Batman comic book. The first, Arkham Manor by Gerry Duggan and Shawn Crystal, is described as “stately Wayne manor [getting] made over into the local psycho dungeon” by EW, without any other explanation behind the change.
The other seems like something that’s come right from Tumblr: Gotham Academy, written by Becky Cloonan (who has previously worked on Batman as an artist) and Brendan Fletcher with art by Karl Kerschl. The series is a “monthly teen drama set at Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school.” Bruce Wayne is one of the school’s chief benefactors.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the announcement for fans is that DC Comics confirmed to Newsarama both of these series are “considered New 52 in-continuity.” That means that at some point in the next few months, something is happening to Arkham Asylum. Also, what does this mean for Batman/Bruce Wayne? Where will he be living? Will the Batcave remain underneat the now remodeled Wayne Manor, serving as a mental institution for his worst foes?
Of course, this also may indicate that the cover to Batman #28, the "Spoiler Issue" that looked several months into the future of the storylines in Batman and the weekly Batman Eternal may have been hinting at this change for Arkham Manor. The cover featured a cell door typically associated with Arkham, but with a bat-shaped keyhole. Perhaps this is indicating that Arkham Manor will be run directly by Batman, as well?
Batman writer Scott Snyder so far isn't telling, but did shout out his enthusiasm on twitter, praising both creative teams and Batman group editor Mark Doyle. "Very proud of pal @markedoyle for making these books happen. Trying daring concepts, bringing in new (to Gotham) creators…. & more to come," Snyder said, after personally welcoming the creators into the Batman fold.
Both series premiere in print (with industry standard same-day digital releases), DC also confirmed, and will ship on a monthly basis.
We'll be continuing to follow-up with DC Comics on the announcements.