Friday, August 20, 2010

Let's Talk About: Comic Book Cities

Hey X-Maniacs, it's time for me to throw out another quickie post in lieu of some reviews. I'll get the requested reviews up here eventually, but I really haven't had the time to just sit back and read oodles of comics. As a matter of fact, I didn't read a single new comic last night! Trust me, that's rare! Before I pass out tonight I plan on reading the two Shadowland titles that came out this week, as well as Brightest Day #8. That way I'll be able to put together some sort of review by Sunday night.... Hopefully.

So that's the story with the reviews(or lack thereof). Now let's get to the purpose of this post... As any comic book fan worth their salt knows, each super-hero has a city that they call home(well, most heroes anyway). Superman resides in Metropolis. Batman protects Gotham City. Spider-Man swings through New York City. Some heroes are beloved in the city they protect(there's an entire Flash museum in Keystone City), while other heroes are scorned by the public they try to protect(depending on the way the wind is blowing, New Yorkers either love or hate Spidey on any given day). The relationship between heroes and their cities got me thinking the other day... Which city is the out and out dumbest when it comes to the treatment of it's heroes? In the Marvel Universe, the main city is New York. Most of the top heroes and teams in the Marvel U are based out of the Big Apple. For the most part, the Marvel version of New York seems to love its heroes. The Avengers are revered, Daredevil was left alone(until recently)and the Fantastic Four are seen as heroes of the highest regard. The only reason I even mention NYC is because of the way it's citizens treat Spider-Man... No matter how many times Spidey saves the city, he's STILL looked at as a menace. It doesn't seem to matter what Spidey does, or how many times he saves the city, the majority of New Yorkers just don't seem to like the guy. I'd call Marvel's New York bi-polar, not necessarily dumb.

That leaves us with the DCU. Gotham City and Keystone/Central City treat their various heroes the way I'd expect, so I'll cross them right off the list. The same holds true with DC's version of New York. When the JSA was living in NYC they were treated well by the people they were protecting. So where does that leave us? Metropolis. The home of both Superman and Clark Kent. Clark has managed to keep his identity secret from the denizens of Metropolis for YEARS by simply donning a pair of glasses, slouching and fixing his hair slightly different. My problem with that is the fact that he works for THE major newspaper in Metropolis! He's surrounded by journalists, and for some bizarre reason, none of them seem able to figure out that Clark and Supes are one and the same. Sure, Supes has had shapeshifters appear with him to disprove that he was Clark Kent, but come on, are the journalists in Metropolis THAT naive? And to make matters worse, Superman's greatest enemy is possibly one of the smartest men on the planet, and yet not even Lex Luthor can look at Clark Kent and say, “Hey, that's Superman!!!”. So it sounds like I'd consider Metropolis to be THE dumbest city in all of comic books, doesn't it? Wrong! For my money, there is NO dumber city then Star City. Star City, where Green Arrow fights crime, occasionally without a mask, and yet most citizens remained blissfully unaware that Green Arrow and Oliver Queen were one and the same. Better still, Oliver Queen was once elected MAYOR of Star City, and yet nobody was able to connect the fact that Green Arrow and Oliver Queen were one and the same! Unlike Clark Kent, Oliver Queen does little to nothing to hide the fact that he's Green Arrow. I mean the goatee itself should probably be a dead giveaway! Yet until Ollie was arrested for the murder of Prometheus, the people of Star City had no idea that former mayor(and high profile public figure)Oliver Queen and Green Arrow(another high profile public figure)were indeed one and the same... So for that reason, I grant the title of Comicdom's Dumbest City to Star City of the DCU. They sure earned it! As always, if you can think of a city that's even dumber the Star City or if you just feel like shooting the breeze, drop me a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts. That's it for tonight, X out.

Oh, and one quick edit... Paul C of the Last of the Famous International Fanboys blog has a wonderful defense of the citizens of Metropolis here that you should definitely check out. He made a believer out of me!


  1. Lmao, this dude. Thank you for calling out those idiotic people, especially the Star City people who elected a vigilante as Mayor then were shocked. And the genius Lex being so dumb he doesn't recognize his arch nemesis is the dud that married the woman he loves?! Same for Canary, who has no way of hiding her identity anymore yet is upset that people know now.

  2. Brilliant post. I think I'd vote Gotham as the dumbest city. There's people like the Joker on the loose, there's been an earthquake and even a bloody plague! Why would anyone live there?

    As for Superman's secret identity, I would dispute what you said about the the dumbness of the people of Metropolis, especially Lois and Lex, but I think I'll write a blog post about that.

    There's no debating Star City though. Hmmm, there's a guy in Star City who looks exactly like Green Arrow and his house keeps getting blown up by supervillains. Coincidence?

  3. You've inspired me to write a blog post about Superman's secret identity!

    On the theme of dumb citizens though, didn't Dick Grayson share a flat with Starfire back when they were dating? How dumb were their neighbours not to figure out that the guy sharing a bed with the big orange woman might also have been in the Teen Titans!

  4. You know, I think the dumbest city has to be Gotham City. Why? Two words: Arkham Asylum.

    The way they lock supervillains up at Arkham is probably the most consistently stupid thing I have ever seen in a comic. There's just got to be a better deal with these people then throwing them in a place that's so easy to escape from and that you can get out of scot-free if you just show good behavior for a few months.

    And why are the cells see-through? Are you trying to make it easier for them to escape? People like the Joker shouldn't be able to see and talk to other inmates or any old person walking down the hall.

    I really don't understand why Gotham doesn't see the need to make Arkham a functioning mental asylum. For starters, why not try employing mentally stable doctors and guards who aren't ex-cons themselves? What they should really do is pay the employees enormous salaries so they won't be tempted to help criminals escape or to sell floor plans and such to outsiders (things that have happened too many times to count). Would it cost the city a lot of money? Heck yeah, it would. But can you really put a price on the lives of the hundreds (if not thousands) of lives you would save?

  5. Thanks for the comments guys! First off, upon further review, I'm beginning to warm to the idea that Gotham is the dumbest comic book city... Then again maybe they're just the craziest city... Really, why WOULD you live there? Paul's examples(the earthquake, the plague, and of course the Joker!)would definitely help me get out of town! Plus like Marc said, having Arkham in Gotham doesn't really help matters! Btw, I laughed out loud about Arkham constantly hiring crazy doctors and criminal guards, because it's SO true! Then again, you'd probably need a screw loose to work at a place like Arkham anyway! I mean, imagine having to come face to face with not just regular psychos, but with the Jokers and Killer Crocs of the world! No thank you!

    So yeah, the people who live in Gotham have to be kind of crazy themselves, but I still have to say that the folks in Star City are the dumbest... Anyone who can't connect Oliver Queen to Green Arrow HAS to be a half-wit! :D And totally agreed with Dinah, JT. Hell, she should have been surprised that her identity wasn't outed sooner!

    I can't wait to check out that post Paul. Once I'm done here tonight I'll definitely be heading over to your blog. I can't wait to see how you try to defend Metropolis!

  6. Lmao @ Marc, that was EXCELLENT. It's SO true, And like Paul mentioned, those reasons alone were enough but with the combined reasons you guys picked I wouldn't even wanna be a state's distance from Gotham City. That place is a hell hole.

  7. "That place is a hell hole." I think that sums up Gotham better then anything else I've ever read!