Monday, April 03, 2017

Dark Imagery - Batman and Gotham City

Out of the many comic books being published there are few that have as much versatility as the Batman titles. While others are often tied to strict rules regarding the character's positive image and "family friendly" environments, Batman and his Gothic metropolitan home are left shrouded in mystery which allows them to bend the rules slightly. This can lead to interesting story possibilities for the Dark Knight that simply aren't possible in other comic book character's titles. Horror, Noir, Mystery, Science Fiction, Batman and the Gotham City backdrop lends itself easily to all of these genres due to the vast dark imagery in Batman lore.

Sometimes Batman is displayed as a hero, sometimes a brooding man hell-bent on revenge, and it has even been hinted that he is actually just as psychotic as the villains he disposes of, and in the end they all work and are justified in their own lights provided the right mindset is adapted. A man dressed in a black cape stalking the night for wrong doings to right: hero. A beast orphaned as a child seeking the blood of many for the crimes committed against him: vigilante. A guy in a giant bat suit chases a Lewis Carroll inspired midget who designs evil hats: crazy person.

Depending on the way he is drawn, narrated and whom he is pitted against Batman can take on many different roles. In the same light, or lack there of (this is Batman we're talking about) Gotham City can change the setting of a story drastically depending on which incarnation is being used.

The Gotham City Bruce Wayne strolls about in the daytime seems like nothing more than an upscale business center, due to the districts a billionaire playboy would visit, which allows even Superman to frequent. However, delving into the slums, with broken windows and boarded up and condemned homes, shows a much more desperate kind of place, a breeding ground for crime, organized or otherwise.

The tall Gothic architecture of the city, complete with terrifying gargoyles perched atop buildings, creates a new feeling altogether. A place out of a noir film in which a blood curdling scream could lead the World's greatest detective into a case he won't soon forget. And then there are the places Batman goes where we often wish he didn't. The deepest darkest corners of a city where it is plausible that a half man half crocodile could feed on flesh, or a homicidal clown could "add a smile" to somebody's face.

Batman and Gotham City allow for all of these tales and more because they have so many different faces to them. Detective stories, action comics, suspense horror, they all are plausible in that world. That's the beauty of the imagery showcased in the Batman comic books, it allows a comic book hero versatility and creates stories that could only thrive in a place like Gotham City.

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