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It seems pretty clear to me that DC's Gotham City is not supposed to represent a real place. It's far too grim to be somewhere that anyone would live, or businesses would open up in. I know Grant Morrison actually tried to make Gotham more realistic, but the current Tom King run solidifies for me that there's no way Gotham is supposed to be some twisted characterization of New York or something.

Have the writers ever said that Gotham is a metaphor, and if so, what?

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    Chicago and New York; today.com/id/25774413/ns/today-today_entertainment/t/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 21:40
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    Reworded, thanks Blackwood :)
    – cflewis
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 21:46
  • I deleted my earlier comment to avoid making any suggestion that the question is, opinion-based. I believe it no longer is following the edit.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 22:13
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    “DC's Gotham City is not supposed to represent a real place. It's far too grim to be somewhere that anyone would live, or businesses would open up in” — you never visited New York in the seventies! Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 10:21

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Opinions may have differed for different writers, but when Gotham City was created by Bob Kane and Milton Finger, they clearly meant it to be New York City. "Gotham" (no "City") was a long-standing moniker for NYC.

Per Mental Floss, http://mentalfloss.com/article/62563/why-new-york-city-called-gotham

Author and NYC native Washington Irving started using the term in 1807 in his satirical periodical, Salmagundi.

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Bob Kane himself (in this 1989 clip for Batman with Michael Keaton) actually refers to it as being

Gotham City, transposed from my home city of New York

Happens around 2:00

He goes on a bit about how he was inspired by NYC

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    Metropolis was New York by day. Gotham was New York by night. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 1:17
  • There's at least a couple panels in early stories where it's actually called New York. DC quickly switched to using fictional cities in all their books. It's why when Marvel set their books in New York City, it was seen as radical and groundbreaking. Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 16:52

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