Gotham City, or simply Gotham, was first named in Batman #4 (1940) and was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Finger admitted that he considered a number of other names - including “Civic City” and “Coast City” - before finding “Gotham Jewellers” in a phone book and settling on “Gotham City”.
It was important for Finger to create a fictitious city so that readers of any city could identify with it.
Gotham City is located on the Eastern seaboard of the United States and is traditionally located in the state of New Jersey. The ancient Native American Miagani tribe inhabited the area for centuries, but mysteriously disappeared before European explorers arrived. Captain Jon Logerquist, a Norwegian mercenary, officially established Gotham City in 1635 and it was eventually taken over by the British prior to the Revolutionary War.
Despite decades of philanthropy from the Wayne family - continued by billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne - and others, Gotham seems marred in perpetual corruption and darkness. More than any other city in the DC Universe, that darkness has taken the form of a large number of colorful and often mentally unbalanced supervillains.
Wayne’s alter-ego Batman, his allies, and associates do their best every night to protect the city, capture the villains, and bring a little light to Gotham, even if it’s only the reassuring glow of the Bat-signal.
10. Gotham City And Corruption
If there is one overarching problem throughout the history of Gotham City, it is the deep-rooted corruption throughout the city government and the police force. Despite all his efforts as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, this is one battle that neither extreme wealth nor fists and Batarangs could solve quickly. It would take time, patience, and a lot of persistence.
In Batman’s first years, Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb was as corrupt as they come. Bruce was able to find evidence of conspiracy charges that forced Loeb to resign, making way for Jack Grogan, who was Commissioner before James Gordon. When Grogan briefly retired, the corrupt Peter Pauling was put in place by the equally corrupt Mayor Hamilton Hill. Pauling instated a shoot-to-kill order for Batman and Robin. When Pauling was killed by Rupert Thorne, Gordon was reinstated and worked hard to finally clean up the GCPD.
The Mayor’s Office of Gotham City is rife with corruption, with many of the city’s mayors being in the pockets of one or more of the city’s villains.
For starters, Hamilton Hill was little more than a puppet for crime lord Rupert Thorne. As for Armand Krol, he wasn’t so much corrupt, as more severely incompetent. Then there was Marion Grange, who was a good mayor but failed to keep the federal government from turning Gotham into a “No Man’s Land” following the devastating earthquake that decimated the city. Unfortunately, she was killed by agents of Nick Scratch soon after that event.