In the earliest Batman comics, there was no Gotham City. Instead, Batman’s adventures took place in a version of New York City that wasn’t a fitting reflection of its Dark Knight Detective. It wasn’t until 1940 that Batman co-creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane renamed Gotham City and began giving it a larger than life personality worthy of their iconic superhero.
This year is the 75th anniversary of Batman’s Gotham City. To mark the occasion, Evan Puschak a.k.a. The Nerdwriter, has created a very compelling video essay that looks back at Gotham City’s earliest depictions in the comics, in live-action, and in the seminal Batman: The Animated Series from the ‘90s.
Puschak notes that the years after the Batman ‘60s TV series brought out the darker shades of Gotham City, while Batman director Tim Burton and designer Anton Furst brilliantly re-envisioned Gotham as if “hell burst through the pavement and grew.” The 1989 Batman film’s Gotham City was mash up of different architectural styles that eventually made its way into the comics. Batman: The Animated Series brought a timeless and classic “Dark Deco” take to the city, while Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City was pulled closer towards reality in his Dark Knight trilogy.
One of Puschak’s most intriguing notions is that crime is the only constant between the various incarnations of Gotham City across all media. Just as Gotham City needs a Batman to battle evil in all of its forms, Batman needs Gotham City. Without a steady supply of criminals and supervillains, Batman wouldn’t be able to justify his nocturnal actions. But if there was no Batman, Gotham City would be swallowed whole by its rampant criminal element.
That means Bruce Wayne’s crusade can never truly end. The mantle of the Batman can fall to other characters, but there must always be a Batman in Gotham. The fate of the Batman and his city are irrevocably linked.
What did you think of this video essay about Gotham City? Share your thoughts below!
HT: The Nerdwriter
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Interactive/Rocksteady Games