Comic books are rooted in New York City history: many fictional cities allude to our metropolis, several comic creators were born or have lived here and a large number of comics actually take place in New York City.
Superheroes are becoming increasing popular and as such, a plethora of comic book shows have popped up within the last few years. Major networks like FOX and the CW attended the Upfronts press event last week to promote their upcoming seasons. With the strong ties superhero TV shows have with our thriving metropolis, New York City was undoutably a fitting location for the event.
Here are five current superhero and comic shows set in cities that mirror New York City:
5. Gotham in Gotham
In addition to FOX’s Gotham being filmed in New York City, the similarities between the two cities don’t end there. Of course, Gotham mirrors the aesthetics of the city since the show features key buildings like The Bronx County Courthouse and Grand Central Terminal, but Camren Bicondova, the actress who plays young Catwoman, cites diversity as the strongest link between Gotham and New York City.
Gotham, a Batman prequel story has been taking great strides to diversify the well-loved characters in the show. Danny Cannon, co-executive producer, spoke on the matter, stating that since Gotham is a fictional city, “everyone should exist there. There’s no way on earth we would have a show like this limit itself with out-of-date values.” It was a huge stride for primetime television to give a well-known character like Penguin, who was never previously portrayed as gay, a male love interest. Despite potential fallback with longtime Batman fans, Gotham went for it and created a fascinating dynamic and power play between Penguin and Riddler.
The portrayal of minority characters in power positions is more common in Gotham than most major network TV shows — from Fish Mooney, who at one point had her own criminal empire, to Penguin who held the position of governor to Tabitha Galivan and Barbara Kean, both bisexual, who manipulated their way to the top of multiple crime syndicates. Like Gotham, New York City is a melting pot of different races, religions, and sexual orientations. The city has long been at the forefront of many social rights issues like the Gay Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. From Malcolm X to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, some of the most well-known American activists have made their mark here.
Comic creators and diversity have their own history in New York City as a good number of the greats are Jewish and many, like Stan Lee, are from the city. Comic books are often created to encapsulate adversity and to fight against oppression. Hydra, the evil organization in Captain America, was a parallel to the Nazi regime, Superman has a plethora of Jewish symbolism, and X-Men is often considered an allegory for gay rights.
Also, check out NYC Film Locations for TV Show Gotham on FOX.