We Are Gotham

Finding American Society in the Television Series


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About the Book

The television series Gotham gave viewers a unique perspective on the fascinating world of Batman, the legendary comic book character. More than a simple “origin story,” the series introduces viewers to a pre-Batman Gotham City, where young hero-cop James Gordon fights a one-man war on crime. In a city where crime is evolving from traditional organized crime to a city plagued by flamboyant and psychotic “super villains,” there is a desperate need for a Batman. All of this is witnessed by Bruce Wayne, who was orphaned after his parents were murdered.
This book details how characters and story lines throughout the series touch on modern America: our ethics and flaws, our fears and aspirations. Chapters also explore the show’s unique twists to classic depictions of the franchise’s characters, who have been adored by millions of fans across the decades. Throughout the text, the authors examine Gotham for its insight into 21st-century America, concluding in the exhilarating and frightening conclusion that “We ARE Gotham.”

About the Author(s)

Richard A. Hall has taught courses on various areas of American popular culture as well as U.S. military history. Retired from teaching, he lives in Laredo, Texas.

Author and longtime Batman fan Maria Antonieta Reyes lives in Laredo, Texas.

Josh Plock has written about comics and films for House of Geekery and other pop culture websites. His knowledge of popular culture has also led to his appearance on several podcasts. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Richard A. Hall, Maria Antonieta Reyes and Josh Plock
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 233
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8085-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4734-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword: Gotham Is All About Journeys and Villainy by Robert G. Weiner 1

Introduction: Welcome to Gotham! 3

Part I. The Heroes of Gotham

 1. The Hero’s ­Pre-Journey: Bruce Wayne from His Parents’ Deaths to the Cape and Cowl 17

 2. “The path of the righteous man”: Policing in Gotham and the ­Pre-Batman Career of James Gordon 32

 3. Becoming Catwoman: Selina Kyle and the Female Criminal 47

 4. Alfred Pennyworth: Parenting a Future Vigilante 61

 5. Gotham’s Savior: The Penguin? 72

Part II. The Villains of Gotham

 6. From Falcone to “No Man’s Land”: The ­Un-civilization of Organized Crime in Gotham 87

 7. Dirty Politicians: The Mayors of Gotham and the Corruption of Democracy 98

 8. Science and Moral Absolutes: The Ethics of Dr. Hugo Strange 112

 9. Girl Power! The Women of Gotham 123

10. “Riddle me this!”: The Downward Spiral of Edward Nygma 141

11. “We’re all mad here”: Scarecrow, Mister Freeze, Mad Hatter and the Strategy of Terror 153

12. Jerome, Jeremiah, and the Joker: Insanity in an Insane World 164

Part III. Gotham in Perspective

13. Fear Itself: The Role of Fear in Gotham and 21st-Century America 179

14. Flipping the Text: Are Supervillains a Response to the Superhero, or Is the Superhero a Response to the Supervillains? 192

15. “No Man’s Land”: Comparing and Contrasting the Comic and TV Storylines 203

Conclusion: We Are Gotham! 215

Index 223