Gotham City is one of the most iconic cities in the entire history of comic books. It is well known not only as the home of the Batman but also as the place his rogue’s gallery resides. It was also once the residence of the very first Green Lantern, Alan Scott.
The city has taken on a life of its own and its appearance in various media has been a regular hallmark of TV shows and films over the past few decades; indeed, one Batman inspired show even had the title Gotham.
However, whilst it is clear that Gotham City is one of the most interesting comic book cities you might be wondering – is it in fact inspired by a real place? Well, if you’ve ever wondered that then you’ve come to the right article as this piece will answer the question for you – is Gotham city based on any city?
When Did Gotham First Appear In The Comic Books?
Before we answer the question as to whether or not Gotham city is based on any real place, it is worth taking a bit of time explaining where the city came from in the comics and when it first appeared in them.
Gotham City was first depicted as the home of the Batman in Batman number 4 published in 1940. Creator Bill Finger had originally considered having his caped crusader based in New York, however he decided against it because he wanted anyone to be able to identify with the home of the Batman and they wouldn’t be able to do this if they thought he lived in a real city.
Finger decided upon the name by flipping through a series of telephone books until he came across the new Gotham City Jewellers. Ever since Batman’s home has been in this distinctive city.
Is Gotham City Based On Any City?
As you might expect given the fact that Batman creator Bill Finger originally thought of Batman’s home as being New York, the city has had a great deal of influence on the design and depiction of Batman’s home throughout the history of DC Comics.
Indeed, many have seen Metropolis, the home of Superman, and Gotham City as being two sides of the same coin – Metropolis is New York during the day and Gotham is New York during the night.
However, Gotham isn’t just based on New York. Over the decades different writers have taken inspiration from a variety of different cities, in particular Chicago.
The history of the city’s association with criminals and mob bosses like Al Capone have resonated with Batman writers and so Gotham is often seen to share similarities to the windy city.
Large parts of Gotham are of course not only pure invention but also depend on the influences of the particular writer or director who is handling the Batman material at the time.
For example, many have depicted the city as being filled with gothic architecture to better reflect the noir tone of many ThereforBatman stories. Similarly others have attempted to depict Gotham as a dirty and gritty city which is built almost from rubble.
So the answer to your question is that Gotham is mainly based on New York but that it is also influenced by Chicago. However, now that we’ve addressed that you might be wondering – which state is Gotham located in in the DC universe?
Gotham’s Location In The DC Universe
As with any fictitious city, Gotham has often been located in a variety of different places. Writers and creators often like to place their fictional creations in real world contexts because it makes their fictional adventures seem more realistic.
This also means that it can feel for the reader as if the stories could happen in their own world – even if the stories are particularly fantastical and involve gods and monsters.
Therefore, whilst Gotham’s status within the United States has at times been somewhat ambiguous, there have been other times in which it has been stated quite explicitly which state Gotham resides in.
In most of the DC stories in which Gotham’s state location has been identified, Gotham is stated as being in New Jersey.
In fact, in some stories the location has been somewhat more explicit with Gotham being identified as being on the banks of what we think of as the Delaware bay opposite Metropolis which, again is often somewhat ambiguous in its location but when specifically identified is stated to be within the state of Delaware.
This was taken to a somewhat extreme level in Zac Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film which depicted the cities as being directly across from one another – in most comics which depicts Gotham and Metropolis as being on opposite sides of the bay they are stated to be several miles and about and hours drive apart.
Of course, Gotham’s location is often seen as being remote – like New York, Gotham is often depicted as residing on an island, an important fact in the classic Batman Story No Man’s Land.
In the story Gotham is shuck by a massive earthquake which causes all of the bridges in to Gotham to be destroyed at the city to be effectively isolate; the city already in a bad shape is in fact effectively written off by the US government until Batman and his allies convince the government to change their minds – with a bit of help from none other than Lex Luthor.
Why It Is Important To Know Whether Gotham City In The DC Universe Is Based On A Real City
Gotham City is perhaps one of the most important locations in the DC Universe thanks to its association with one of their premier heroes. Batman is perhaps the most iconic superhero in comic book history and whether or not you know anything about comic books or not you’ve heard of Batman.
And Batman is in part so popular because the story of Batman speaks to us; he is a man who has trained himself to be the very best that he can be and can easily battle any foe that he comes across no matter their own powers.
This is why knowing whether or not Gotham is based on a real city is so important – because Batman’s appeal relies on his ability to be easily comparable to our own lives and so the city he lives and fights crime in must be as realistic as possible.
Gotham City certainly is that and that’s why it is important to know whether it is based on a real city or not – because it ensures that we know how real it truly is.