Exclusive: DC Comics announces horror series Gotham by Midnight

Gotham is already a weird city full of maniacs and mobsters. Normally, Batman and company have it covered, but add monsters or ghosts to the mix, and even they need some outside help.

Enter the Midnight Shift, Gotham City Police Department's answer to The X-Files -- and the team called in to handle cases outside the depth of the Caped Crusader. Led by Detective Jim Corrigan, they debut in DC Comics' all-new supernatural/horror adventure book, Gotham by Midnight, on sale Nov. 26.

Spearheaded by a horror comic superteam of writer Ray Fawkes (Constantine, Batman Eternal) and artist Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Ten Grand), Gotham by Midnight spins off from the pages of Batman Eternal but operates independently of that title. And while Bats will be around, because this is set in Gotham, after all, his main function in the book is to liaise with Corrigan.

In this Blastr exclusive, we caught up with Fawkes to discuss the world of Gotham by Midnight, the supernatural sickness that plagues the city, and Fawkes' own connection to the horror genre. And make certain to check out our exclusive peek at the first cover of GBM, along with Templesmith's character sketches for the book.

Q: Is Gotham by Midnight more horror, supernatural or gothic? 

A: I would say it's more horror, but it's all three of those things. It has a very gothic, melancholy feel to it. There are a lot of stories that will be more supernatural than horror, but when you get down to the core of it, the things these characters face and the decisions they have to make are the kinds of things you'd see in a really great horror story.

Q: Jim Corrigan is host to The Spectre, so will he be showing up? 

A: Jim Corrigan's terrible secret is he carries the divine judgment of God around in his body, not of his own free will. So he's better motivated than anybody to get involved whenever a big, supernatural monster shows up on the scene. If he doesn't do something, sooner or later the Spectre is going to handle it, and he has an Old Testament way of handling things. We will be seeing the Spectre here and there, but that's usually what happens when Corrigan messes up and doesn't get it handled in time. 

Q: Who are the other members of the Midnight Shift?

A: Lisa Drake is another detective in the Gotham police force, and Corrigan's partner in a weird sort of crew who skulk around in the night and chase ghosts. You will not have seen this Lisa before. There's also a forensic investigator, Dr. Szandor Tarr, a bit of a creepy dude but very reliable. Their religious consultant is a nun, Sister Justine, who has a very peculiar and particular talent.  

Q: What is it about Gotham that makes it a good supernatural playground?

A: Gotham City is a pretty sick place, and also a wonderful place, one of the greatest cities in the DC Universe. The tack that some of the characters in this book take is that people like the Joker, Two-Face and Batman may be symptoms of something wrong with Gotham, and that may have a supernatural root. For me, the city is very Gothic, dark and shadowy, and it's sort of the perfect setting for things that creep in the night.

Q: So is Gotham like a Sunnydale hellmouth?

A: Well, there are certainly elements in the GCPD starting to believe that might be the case.

Q: Will there be a Big Bad, and someone we might recognize?

A: Yes, there is a big bad thing, and it may be connected to something you recognize, but you won't recognize it in this form. This is, after all, a story about police and detective work. They have to figure out what it is they're looking at, and I want the readers along for the ride. 

Q: Can you talk about Ben Templesmith's contributions to this book? 

A: I absolutely cannot believe we managed to get Ben Templesmith to draw this book. The stuff I'm seeing is mind-blowingly weird and horrifying and amazing. When readers see this book, their minds are going to be blown. There is no other book about Gotham that looks like Gotham by Midnight. I think there is really no other book in superhero books that looks like this.

Q: Is there an issue or page you're particularly excited for readers to see that showcases Templesmith's work on this book? When do we see him sink his teeth into this in a big way?

A: Man, he starts on issue one, page one. You are seriously not going to believe this work when you see it. 

Q: As a writer, you seem to enjoy the supernatural genre, so what's your personal draw to this stuff?

A: Yeah, I love it. Anyone who is like me, who is really into this stuff, can say it just seems to be in you. From when I was small, I was totally into ghost stories, dark stories, fascinated with watching B movies. I just love dark stories. Personally, as a writer, I feel dark stories and horror stories are a really great way to explore actual living concerns. You can really create any kind of metaphor. I just love this stuff and always want to jump into it with both hands, both feet and all tentacles.

Q: Who are some writers you enjoy in the horror realm?

A: I think anyone into this kind of stuff has to be into Lovecraft. He set the tone for a century's worth of horror stories. I love Thomas Ligotti as well, and anyone into True Detective should read his stories. Almost anything that was great in that show owes a debt to Ligotti. I love Cormac McCarthy's books because a lot of them have a supernatural feeling to them, especially the more obscure ones, like Outer Dark. There's so much really great stuff, actually. 

Q: Are you involved with the upcoming Constantine television series?

A: Not in any professional sense. In San Diego, I met a couple of the writers, and it was lovely to. I have had a couple great conversations with them and a number of the cast, but I'm not in any professional capacity involved. But I am really looking forward to the show; it looks to me like it's going to be a lot of fun.