Evolution of Gotham City

If you want to start a lively debate with your friends, try to come up with a definitive answer as what major U.S. city is represented by Bruce Wayne’s hometown of Gotham City.

After all, if Metropolis is supposed to be New York City, then surely Gotham City can’t be the same thing. Batman artist Neal Adams took inspiration from the 1940s mobster history of Chicago as the basis for Gotham, while Frank Miller sees Metropolis and Gotham City as two different sides of New York City in the daytime and night respectively.

No matter which city you see as the inspiration for Gotham, the evolution of the fictional city is an interesting one as it has changed and grown with the evolution of the Dark Knight himself, and a new video essay explores the relationship between the two.

Here’s The Evolution of Gotham City from Nerdwriter:

There’s no doubt that crime is synonymous with Gotham City, so much so that you have to wonder why some of these wild criminals don’t just head to another city and create some chaos where there isn’t a vigilante waiting to stop them in the night.

But this video sort of explains how┬áit’s the arrival of Batman to fight crime that actually brings about the escalation of these criminals and their activities. It’s exactly what Commissioner Gordon warned Batman about in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins:

We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor piercing rounds. And, you’re wearing a mask. Jumping off rooftops. Now, take this guy…

It was Batman who actually brought about the arrival of the Joker, and this set up actually makes the events of The Dark Knight hold even more weight outside of the confines of the sequel itself. The Joker and Batman are just two sides of the same coin, each taking matters into their own hands, going outside of the system of crime and law enforcement respectively. And that’s just the beginning. But neither of them would exist if it wasn’t for the crime-riddled Gotham City.

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