Saturday, 7 December 2013

Gotham City In Swamp Thing and Sandman Comics

When Gotham City was created as a setting for the Batman, no one suspected what would happen there later:

in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, Abigail Arcane is supported by a Gotham City Women's Action Group when she is tried for unnatural activities with the plant elemental;

the Justice League stores some of its trophies in a warehouse in a little town called Mayhew in upstate Gotham - a mundane setting and, over several pages, we see two characters conversing about current events as they drive towards Mayhew at night;

"When I was in the pen, I saw your son. Little Bernie. He'd been hustling his ass in Gotham, got picked up for knifing his pimp. You could have him for a packet of cigarettes. Bette...I did."
- Neil Gaiman, Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (New York, 1995), p. 176.

I got the same impression from Neil Gaiman's and Dave McKean's Black Orchid, set in Metropolis but not featuring You Know Who:

seamless integration of realistic fiction into the familiar fictional universe;
subtle, understated use of familiar characters and settings - we might not recognize Lex Luthor until we notice the name plate on his desk but we might recognize the names of fictional cities protected by lesser superheroes when they are listed in a railway station announcement.

I would like to read a prose novel about ordinary inhabitants of the DC Universe who read about powerful, mysterious beings in the Daily Planet or the Metropolis Eagle but otherwise get on with their own lives maybe working for Waynetech or Lexcorp.

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