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Is Batman’s Gotham City Somewhere in New Jersey?

The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brothers)

Here’s a fun idea to consider when Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters in July, the fictional Gotham City of the DC Comics universe is largely considered to be in New Jersey.

Since the 1939 debut of Batman in Detective Comics #27, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Gotham was a fictional representation of New York City. After all, “Gotham” has been associated with The Big Apple since author Washington Irving made the connection in 1807.

For the first several decades of Batman’s publication history, the exact location of Gotham was purposely kept secret, as co-creator Bill Finger hoped to make the fictional city identifiable to readers from across the country and the globe.

The notion of where the city is has changed as different writers put their own spin on the character and his surroundings. For example, legendary comic artist Frank Miller, who helped to reinvigorate the character with his 1986 mini-series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, often said that Gotham City was an analogy New York City at night while Metropolis (of Superman fame) was representative of New York City in the day.

The exact location of Gotham was made even murkier as the character was adapted to the big screen. Tim Burton based the setting of his films Batman and Batman Returns on New York, while Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight both contain overt Chicago references.

In 1990, DC Comics published their Atlas of the DC Universe which showed definitively that Gotham City is located in southern New Jersey, along the Delaware Bay, across from Metropolis, which is in Delaware.

Considering what we know about Gotham, the Delaware Bay coast comparison seems apt. Gotham City is a major port with a commercial seaport and a navy yard. It is the home to Wayne Enterprises, the corporate namesake of Batman’s secret identity Bruce Wayne, as well as Ace Chemicals.

Could this be the backdrop for Batman’s crime fighting? Check out the map below and let us know what you think.


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