For other meanings of Gotham, see Gotham.
Gotham City is a fictional city appearing in DC Comics, best known as the home of Batman. It was first named in Detective Comics #48 (February 1941), before that Batman's adventures happened in New York or an unamed city. At one point, DC placed Gotham City in the state of New Jersey, though its features and location have been altered at times due to the capricious nature of the writers, editors and storyline. Gotham is known to be architecturally modeled after New York City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but with more exaggerated vices. It has been said that, metaphoricaly, Metropolis (home to Superman) is New York during the day, and Gotham is New York at night. This comparison is helped by the fact that Metropolis is more often seen during the day, and Gotham more at night. Longtime Batman writer and editor Dennis O'Neil has also said figuratively that Metropolis is New York above 14th St., and that Gotham City is New York below 14th St.
According to Swamp Thing #53 (and various subsequent comic book stories), Gotham City was founded in 1635 by a Swedish mercenary and was later taken over by the British. During the American Revolutionary War it was the site of a major battle and various occult rites were rumored to have been conducted within the city. Perhaps for these reasons Gotham is a dark and foreboding place rife with crime, grime, and corruption. It has maintained a thriving economy and is considered a major center of manufacturing, shipping, finance, arts (with its numerous museums, galleries, and jewelry displays), and the production of giant novelty props.
In recent years Gotham has faced more than its fair share of difficulties. Numerous costumed maniacs have emerged, necessitating the construction of an asylum dedicated to the incarceration of the criminally insane (see Arkham Asylum). Unfortunately the asylum has rarely managed to cure or keep its various insane inmates for long. Gotham has also suffered from rampant crime, an artificially created plague, an earthquake, another plague, and, following yet another earthquake, a federal edict to cut off the city from the rest of the country. After a full year cut off from the United States, Gotham was once again recognized as a municipality, and the process of rebuilding is now well underway.
Apart from the superhero residents, the residents of the city were featured in a back up series in Detective Comics, Tales of Gotham City and in two mini-series called Gotham Nights. In addition, the Gotham City Police Department is the focus of its own series, Gotham Central.
Several maps of Gotham City have been produced over the years. Many of them are directly based on Manhattan, while another is based on the Rhode Island coastline, and others are completely original. A map of Gotham City used in the 1989 film Batman was actually an inverted map of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In the same movie, a map of the Axis Chemical plant was actually a map of the Capitol Hill neighbourhood in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. The current definitive maps of Gotham City are those based on the ones produced for the "No Man's Land " arc.
In chronological order from earliest to latest:
- Hamilton Hill
- Armand Krol
- Marion Grange
- Daniel Danforth Dickerson III
- David Hull
- City History