Gotham Academy Volume 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham AcademyGotham Academy: Volume 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy
Written by: Becky Colonna and Brenden Fletcher
Illustrated by: Karl Kerschl
Publisher: DC Comics
Format: Softcover, 6.5 x 10, 160 pages, Full Color. $14.99
ISBN: 978-1-40125-472-8


Secret societies. Ghosts. Amnesia. Breakups and makeups. Friendships that grow and friendships that suffer. This graphic novel set in legendary Gotham city has it all. The Caped Crusader may even make a cameo. Trust me, it's worth finding out whether or not he does.

So let's set the stage: If you travel the halls of Gotham Academy you'll notice pretty quickly that it's mighty name brings a heavy dose of prestige. Only the best and the brightest are admitted to Gotham Academy's halls of learning. With such power and acclaim to wield and talented students to rise to its challenges, Gotham Academy seems to have it all. And everyone knows it.

Everyone seems to know a lot about secrets too. Secrets they keep to themselves. Secrets they share with certain people. Secrets they have forgotten. Even secrets they all know about but don't discuss. The pomp and prestige of Gotham Academy can't contain all of these many, many, many secrets. Someone must rise to the occasion to figure out why so many things are going wrong in such a supposedly amazing institution for learning supported by the one and only Bruce Wayne (a man with a few secrets of his own). One after another all the secrets pile up, and, in doing so, invoke such curiosity the reader cannot help him or herself from taking off like a race horse to figure it all out.

With all of that driven curiosity to read Gotham Academy, however, I would advise a more savory approach. The character driven plot is intense and the recognizable darkness of Gotham city itself is always heavily weighing on the school and its faculty and students. In order to soak in all of its richness and legendary Batman references (if you can find them all!) the reader would best be served by toning down the speed at which they want to read and focusing more on the quality and content of such a clever and engaging new addition to the Batman storyline family.

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot(s): Something is not right at Gotham Academy. There's a mysteriously creepy ghost, an escaped inmate from Arkham Asylum, dungeons, secretive maps... an entire host of suspicious and mysterious clues to engage the reader in main character Olive Silverlock's quest to solve the mysterious issues surrounding Gotham Academy.

Major Characters: Olive, Headmaster Hammer, Kyle, Maps, Bruce Wayne, Pomeline Fritch, Macpherson, Millie Jane Cobblepot, Cobblepot family, Colton Rivera, Mr. Scarlet, Ms. Harriet, Heathcliff, Mr. Scarlet, Katherine, Coach Humphreys, Mr. Trent, Lizard Man/Croc, Tristan, Batman, Damian

Major Settings: Gotham Academy, cemetery, dungeon, lake

Major Themes: Mystery, Problem-solving, Hauntings, Friendship and Loyalty, Wealth and Power, Light and Dark, Truth and Lies

Reading/Literacy Standard Recommendations For Young Adult Readers in Language Arts Grades 5 - 8*

Craft and Structure:
Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

*The 8th grade standards are referenced here because they encompass the standards in grades 5 - 7 as well.

Lesson Plan

Directions: In the following graphic organizer students can keep track of how the characters' various points of views create suspense and are evident in the craft and structure of Gotham Academy Volume 1. Further, students can also keep track of how they too are analyzing and interpreting the suspense in the story as they read.
To complete the craft and structure graphic organizer students will need to not only choose 3 characters to focus on, but also pay close attention to their own analysis of the suspenseful plot. In other words, readers will need to note the suspenseful moments for each of their character choices and for themselves (being sure to reference page numbers and evidence from the plot).

Suspense Notes and Page # Found

Character 1:


Character 2:


Character 3:













































Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2014); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (2015). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her three wiener dogs, Samantha, Max, and Alex Morgan Monnin.