DC And Webtoon’s ‘Batman: Wayne Family Adventures’ Is A Much Needed Bat-Shot In The Arm
by Tony Thornley
When DC and Webtoon announced their partnership just three weeks ago, no one quite knew what to think. There was confusion, excitement, and at least a few public outcries of displeasure. But with the surprise drop of Batman: Wayne Family Adventures on Webtoon, the new venture is off to a hell of a start.
Webtoon is one of the largest comics platforms in the world. Nevertheless, the crossover between the typical Wednesday Warrior crowd and the platform is much smaller than anyone would expect. By taking advantage of this new format, DC is opening up its most popular characters to an audience it hasn’t seen in years, if not longer.
Wayne Family Adventures launched at 1PM Eastern on Wednesday September 8. Within twelve hours, it already had nearly 210,000 subscribers and that number is rapidly growing. Comparing it to the Comichron sales charts for July 2021, that would make this the #3 comic for the month (as of this writing).
The first three chapters of the story — with an additional three available on the Webtoons app for about 50 cents a chapter a week before they’re available for free — are a comedic slice of life story featuring familiar Bat-characters. The cast includes Bruce Wayne, Duke Thomas, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Damian Wayne, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain. The series was created by CRC Payne, Starbite, Maria Li, Lan Ma, Jean Kim, Kielamel Sibal, Susan Cheng and Wil Kennedy.
For the stories themselves, they’re a series of short vignettes about life in Wayne Manor with Bruce as an exasperated father figure, Alfred a kindly grandfather, and the various Robins and Batgirls all essentially acting like a massive family unit. The characterizations are mostly spot on (Damian is insufferable, Jason is out to impress, Babs is the only adult in the room) and the humor is exactly what you’d expect. Though Payne’s script still leans into the “dark and brooding” nature of the Bat-family, that’s played for laughs and the reader can see the bonds between the characters. This allows the joking and teasing to feel natural. Really the only issue with the story is that Cass Cain is entirely too verbose.
The art is perfect for the tone of these stories. Starbite, Li and Ma combine their talents for a style that has a bit of a manga feel while retaining the American sensibilities of classic Batman stories. And they can sell the comedy thanks to that — from a martial arts duel for the last of Alfred’s cookies to Jason pranking Bruce just to pick up some fresh gear. I won’t spoil anything about the sixth chapter, but it’s worth paying the $1.50 just to see several of the gags they pull off.
Hopefully this is just the start of DC’s offerings through Webtoon. Hell, I would love to see a story just like this for the House of El, the Amazons, and the Titans. These are incredibly fun comics and the perfect entry point for new readers.
Be sure to check out Batman: Wayne Family Adventures on Webtoon today.