Gotham City’s real-world equivalent has long been a subject of debate among comic fans, due in no small part to the creative license many writers and artists have taken with defining the city and its relationship to other locations in the DC Comics universe (like Metropolis, for example).
In a new video created by comics fan and scholar Nerdwriter, the fictional city’s history in television, movies, comics, and video games is explored with a fascinating amount of detail and backstory that adds quite a bit more depth to our understanding of Batman’s birthplace — and why it takes a city like Gotham to give the world a hero like Batman.
Posted to YouTube, the seven-minute video chronicles the evolution of Gotham City from its early days as a fictional parallel to New York City, through later interpretations based on mafia-ruled Chicago, and then on to the more recent, big-screen versions of the city in Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan’s films. The video even dives into the representation of Gotham City in the hit Arkham City and Arkham Knight video games, as well as the early, campy Batman television series.
Along with packing quite a bit of detail into the video, The Evolution of Batman’s Gotham City also explores the connection between the city, its hero, and the villains that inhabit the city, offering some theories why the Dark Knight could only exist in a city like Gotham — and by existing there, Batman also creates an environment for costumed criminals like The Joker to exist, too.
The video’s analysis of Burton’s version of Gotham City in 1989’s Batman is particularly fascinating, as it tracks not only the art that inspired the memorable skylines of the film, but also the themes and other sources of inspiration for that art.
The evolution of Gotham City in DC’s comic-book universe also receives significant attention, with special attention paid to the periods when Batman transitioned from his swinging ’60s period to the darker tone that spawned Frank Miller’s celebrated 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns (the inspiration for the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie).
For any Bat-fans out there, the video is must-watch material that puts an intriguing, philosophical spin on the legend of the Dark Knight and the iconic city he inhabits.