Location: Gotham County, New Jersey, United States of America
AKA: Gotham Colony, Wonder City
Dimensions: 846.9 km² (327 sq mi) (divided among six islands)
First Appeared In:
- Batman #1 (September 21, 2011)
Gotham City is one of the oldest-established Eastern urban centres in the United States of America.
It nestles at the mouth of the Gotham River upon islands once peopled by the vanished Miagani Tribe. Though it now resides in infamy for its rampant per capita crime rate, florid urban legends, and brooding Gothic spires, Gotham's 19th-century patrons once envisioned their community as a concrete and steel stronghold for pious righteousness and booming industrial growth.
Bolstered for generations by the business ventures of the wealthy Wayne Family, Gotham's economy helped the city to flourish as a technological hub, but one founded upon the swampy soils of slow and inexorable moral decay, despite the best of intentions.
The Gotham Colony was founded by the British Empire. Due to it's small size, it was the perfect location to establish one of the first bases of the Court of Owls. Since the beginning of it's history, the city was led by the First Families of Gotham, primarily the Wayne Family and the Kane Family. However, while the Waynes were beloved, the Kanes were held with more suspicion.
Around the late 1800s, the city experienced it's first contact with Metahuman life as Vandal Savage arrived. The city was also revitalized in terms of architecture via Cyrus Pinkney and the Gates of Gotham. The city began to experience great corruption, though, and a street war was led between the Crime Bible and the Court. After the war, the Court began to take a more background scene in Gotham. Near the end of the 19th Century, the city suffered a zombie epidemic. History was rewritten when Alan Wayne ensured that everybody saw this as little more than a small plague of cholera, eventually this incident was forgotten.
In the 1950s, Gotham was a bleak and dark place plagued by rampant crime and depression. The one form of escapism that proved even more effective than drugs and alcohol was amusement parks and to this end an early string of amusement entrepreneurs started a chain of successful parks, which eventually bred more competition and led to the creation of even more parks for cheaper admissions fees. By the mid fifties, Gotham boasted no less than three zoos, five amusement parks, and a large number of wax museums and reptile farms. Dubbed "Wonder City", people came to the city in droves and used the amusement industry to essentially drown their sorrows.
With the people taking the city into their own hands, the Court of Owls had all but lost their grip on the city but despite this, they continued to make assassinations whenever they saw fit. When the recession hit in the 1960s, which had led to massive factory closures and unemployment. As a result, people were no longer able to afford coming to amusement parks and began turning more to crime. One by one, these parks closed down.
The 1980s proved to be the worst period in the history of the city as Falcone's Mob allowed crime to run rampant through the streets and the GCPD to fall prey to corruption. Thievery and deceit was running at a surplus in Gotham. Nobody was safe during this Gotham, with the likes of Thomas and Martha Wayne even falling dead to crime.
The 21st Century saw this criminal activity transform into something new, a revolution of crime was led by the Red Hood Gang, who effectively controlled the city.
With the urban legend, the GCPD's corruption was ridden and the city started to recover, until a new breed of super villains like the Joker began to rear their head. Eventually the Batman proved to be real, publicly seen aiding other heroes in thwarting the Parademon Invasion of Earth.
Around 2006, following his public revelation of funding the Batman Incorporated scheme, the Court of Owls take notice when Bruce Wayne further announces plans to renovate and reshape Gotham City for the future. While Mayoral candidate Lincoln March agreed with Bruce's vision of the future, Bruce is sentenced to death by the Court.
Managing to defeat the Court of Owls in the battle of the Night of the Owls; with the revelation that the Court was being controlled by March.
Following the incident, the city went on a downward spiral, with riots being sparked by the Joker, Atlantis flooding the city and the Secret Society taking over. Upon the Secret Society's takeover, the city's chaos and crime became more rampant than ever before, despite being coincidentally organized. Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Man-Bat, Poison Ivy and the Ventriloquist each divided the city unto themselves to do whatever chaotic activities they could in their sectors.
The Secret Society's takeover eventually resulted in the Arkham War. With Bane taking control of the city, order eventually returned with the city being relatively stable by the time the Batman returned. Shortly thereafter, the city was subject to the Gotham Cold War (a war against Batman instigated by Cluemaster and Lincoln March) which ended with the city in flames. However, given that by the end of the Cold War, almost all of the Batman's enemies were defeated, it was easy for order to be restored.
The first map of Gotham City (Earth Prime) was seen in Batman #24 and was a direct copy of the Gotham City map of New Earth, however, a new map was shown in Batman #30 which was based off of the map used for Gotham in the Dark Knight movie trilogy. The original Gotham City map is later used again in Batman Eternal #2 before Cluemaster and his allies are seen overlooking the Dark Knight trilogy map in Batman Eternal #3, while in the same issue Batman is seen looking at the original map on the Batcomputer. The Dark Knight map is used again in Batwoman #28 and #29.