Explore the dark history of Batman’s city in Gates of Gotham
Posted by dailypop on February 22, 2011
Batman to me is more of a warden in a city-sized prison than a detective or superhero. His enemies are madmen and monsters, stalking the streets only to be halted by the dark avenger of the night who seems to always be where he is needed. He never kills, only captures his enemies and hands them over to the police who in turn place the criminals in Arkham Asylum… only to break out and strike again. Nothing escapes his vigilance, he haunts the crooks and everyday citizens alike, a living gargoyle of flesh and blood. For fans of the monthly comic book, animated series and feature films, the twisted and ancient towering cityscape of Gotham City is just as iconic as the Batman’s cape and cowl.
In the live action Tim Burton Batman movies, Gotham City took on a unique character thanks to the design work of Anton Furst. Like art deco mixed with Bauhaus and a dash of paranoid claustrophobia, the city of the big screen made a big impact on the comic, resulting in a Legends of the Dark Knight story called Destroyer.
A new six part mini-series Batman: Gates of Gotham by Trevor McCarthy, Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins will take a deeper look into the dark history of Gotham City.
Newsarama: Scott and Kyle, we hear people say so often that “Gotham is a character” in Batman stories. What do you think that means? And is that what you’re exploring in this story?
Kyle Higgins: I think when people refer to Gotham as a character, what they’re reacting to is the mood it creates, the shadow that the city casts. In our story, we’re really exploring the make-up of the city, and trying to take that concept of Gotham as a character to another level.
Scott Snyder: Kyle and I have talked a tremendous amount about the idea of Gotham as a character, and it’s definitely the central theme of what I’m trying to do in Detective. I’m exploring the idea that Gotham changes with the face of whoever is under the cowl. It changes to be a twisted funhouse mirror for anyone who’s trying to do good in Gotham, and it challenges in these ferocious and potent ways. So that’s part of this story as well.
Nrama: It fits into the idea of Gotham changing as Dick Grayson takes on the job of Batman?
Snyder: It’s part of the story. It’s about Dick Grayson as Batman coming to terms in some ways with this notion that he as Batman is part of Gotham’s past, and that even though his family might not be as lodged there in the city’s story, like the Waynes or some of the other families.
You can’t be a part of Gotham’s present without being part of its past as well. Its past is always living right there beneath the surface.
Higgins: Dick Grayson is working a case that explores the history of the city. And he’s not a part of that history.
Snyder: He’s not a part in a way that he realizes yet.
Nrama: So this is rich with history?
Snyder: Definitely. But there’s a lot more to it. It’s history, and it’s also architecture. We look at the building of Gotham and some of the stories that are really woven into the stones and the buildings themselves, into the landscape of Gotham.
Higgins: In our story, we go back to the early days of the city and the building of the modern city as we know it now. The plot surrounds a mystery that happened back then, and it’s one of Gotham’s great secrets. A lot of the buildings we see now, there’s a story behind them and why they are the way they are, and why the buildings are in specific places.
Snyder: We’ll also be exploring the history some of Gotham’s famous families. We’re interested in how those families and those figures that we know in present Gotham stretch back all the way.
Nrama: Can you tell us anything about the mystery that leads Dick Grayson toward exploring Gotham’s history?
Snyder: It’s one of our favorite things about the story, because I think some of the best stories about Gotham are those that are grounded on mysteries of Gotham. My favorite Batman stories are the ones that feel like they could be happening now, because they have that sort of gritty realism to them.
The mystery we’re going to be dealing with in the past, and in the present, is a big, dark, heavy sort of story with a lot of action to it.