A question about DC universe geography

What’s the deal with Metropolis and Gotham City? I always saw them as sort of the polarization of New York, kind of the light side and dark side of the Big Apple. I remember an old World’s Finest that had everybody leaving Gotham for Metropolis (or vice versa), and all they had to do was cross a Golden Gate-style bridge. But lately I’ve noticed a lot more appearances of the real NY, particularly in JLA. Seems like the north-eastern US must be a pretty crowded place.

So, is there any canonical representation of the physical relationship between the three cities?

Not really. Or rather, there are, but they contradict. Sometimes Gotham is in Jersey and Metropolis is in Delaware, sometimes Gotham City is in the state of Gotham, and sometimes they’re in other places. It seems obvious to me that they’re all New York and folks should just willfully ignore the contradiction – after all, we’re willing to accept that Jimmy Olsen hasn’t aged a day in 60+ years, we can certainly deal with this.


Woulda been quite a bit simpler if DC had done what Marvel did and used real cities.

Simpler, yes. Cooler, no. :slight_smile:

Actually, in the first several appearances of Batman, he was based in New York.

But you don’t have to worry about contradicting the facts in real cities.

We do know that both Metropolis and Gotham are coastal cities, with dockside districts. Gotham, in particular, is durn near a peninsula. Oh, and according to the animated series, Gotham produces its own license plates, thus implying that it’s the 51st state…

Or an independent City like Washington D.C or St. Louis MO

And, IIRC, on the license plates, it’s the “Dark Deco State”, which always made me laugh. :smiley:

St.Louis MO is an independent city? In what way?

If I recall correctly, aren;t both Gotham and Metropolis old nicks for New York?


There have been Marvel / DC crossover issues where Superman flies from Metropolis to New York to visit Spider-Man, for instance. So, no, neither Metropolis nor Gotham City is New York. They may be inspired by New York, but they’re not euphemisms therefor. They’re (necessarily) other cities.

New York? naw, Metropolis is on the North Coast. Cleveland. I thought everyone knew that?

Metropolis is located at the real life location of Cape May, NJ.

Gotham City…Lewes, Del.

So I sez.

Haha, but where is Opal City (of Starman fame)?

If you believe the WB show, Metropolis is very close to Smallville, Kansas. In the animated shows, both Gotham and Metropolis are within a short flight of a southwestern-looking desert. And in the old Batman TV show, Gotham was across the bridge from “New Guernsey.”

Enola is remembering the late, lamented Mayfair games DC Heroes Roleplaying Game and its Atlas of the DC Universe, wherein:
Coast City (RIP) was north of San Francisco
Midway City is near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Central City and Keystone City are across the Missouri River from each other, just north of the Kansas Cities
Hub City is across the Mississippi River from St. Louis
Star City is in Northern California, near Ft. Bragg

Since the game went out of print ten years ago, DC has destroyed Coast City, and added Opal City and Gateway City and who knows what else…

Denny O’Neill used to say that, at least in his mind, Metropolis was mid-town Manhattan and Gotham was lower Manhattan.

The only way that St. Louis is “independent” is that it is not in any county. Not that big of a deal, no special license plates. I believe Baltimore has the same situation. But it’s nothing like Washington, DC.

Close but backwards. Metropolis is in Delaware and Gotham is in New Jersey. This according to the Atlas of the DC Universe, which is as official a reference as you’re going to get for something like this.

Unless there was more than one edition of the Mayfair Games, you got Star City wrong.

It was where Chicago really is. The map had it on the south west coast of Lake Michigan. I found it amusing that in the description it mentioned Chicago but no mention of where the hell Chicago was supposed to be.

Also, the baseball stadium was named after a chewing gum mogul of Star City. (Wrigley Field anyone?)

But where’s Astro City?

Yeah, but it doesn’t neccessarily make sense. I was simply saying that both of them were takes on different views of New York, including nicknames for it that emphasized the character.

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, isn’t it? I think I recall some of the early issues showing it at the foot of a very tall peak.