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A city of justice, a city of love, a city of peace
October 14, 2011 3:38 PM   Subscribe

The Architecture of the Comic Book City
posted by Artw (28 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought this was going to explain the architecture behind whatever Spiderman is web-swinging from most times when he shoots his webs directly above him, when he's clearly over the horizon.

But this is nice too.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:43 PM on October 14, 2011


I have to admit then when I was a kid and visiting Manhattan for the first time there was the THIS IS WHERE SUPERMAN/BATMAN/XMEN LIVE YES going on.


Does TOP TEN's Neopolois count here?
posted by The Whelk at 3:46 PM on October 14, 2011


(Also from that map I think I live a block from Mary Jane Watson)
posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have to admit then when I was a kid and visiting Manhattan for the first time there was the THIS IS WHERE SUPERMAN/BATMAN/XMEN LIVE YES going on.

I got that and also Sesame Street.
posted by Artw at 3:49 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could look at Jack Kirby cutaway views of the Baxter Building all day.
posted by Scoo at 3:49 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see flaming architecture after super powered battles, isn't destruction visual during melee?
posted by Mblue at 3:50 PM on October 14, 2011


I have to admit then when I was a kid and visiting Manhattan for the first time there was the THIS IS WHERE SUPERMAN/BATMAN/XMEN LIVE YES going on.

I did the exact same thing. I kept looking for glimpses of Spider-Man swinging between buildings.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:55 PM on October 14, 2011


Mister X is pretty fucking neat i think
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:56 PM on October 14, 2011


(Also Impossible Industries is housed in the Grace Building)
posted by The Whelk at 3:59 PM on October 14, 2011


I was hoping for one of those "If [building X from fantasy world Y] were constructed in reality it would look like THIS!" showing off massive disproportions and broken physics.

But that's not what the article was about.
posted by LoudMusic at 4:05 PM on October 14, 2011


That map of a Manhattan that never was is a map of a Manhattan that we'll never see again. The Yancy Street Gang on the Lower East Side!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:07 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maps of...the Flash’s Central City, among others, approximate the cartographic reality of Manhattan

The Flash's Central City doesn't seem to be modeled on Manhattan. It's an abstraction designed for the benefit of a character who needs endless room to run. It has twenty lane streets with sidewalks thirty feet wide. Apartments in Central City have rooms the size of bowling alleys. The city is so vast that its skyline sits on the horizon in every direction. I cower in existential dread of the endless expanse that is Central City.

A realistic cityscape is vital for a character like Daredevil. Daredevil lives in Hell's Kitchen, an area of a few city blocks. With his hypersensitive senses he must have gotten to know every inch of the place. To understand his perspective, we need to be able to feel the pattern of the rivets on the underside of that bridge.

Abstraction works better for the Flash. In a blink he can be a block away, or on the other side of town, or in Moscow, or Singapore. His freedom to be anyplace makes him untethered from any one place. He doesn't really live in Central City at all. He lives in an anonymous, blurred cityscape.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:08 PM on October 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wait, Peter Parker lives in Chelsea? That must be some kind of mythical rent control going on.
posted by The Whelk at 4:11 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


You would think that Reed Richards would want Sue and the Human Torch to live in the Baxter Building if only to help out with the rent.
posted by arcticseal at 5:00 PM on October 14, 2011


The poverty of these representations prove incapable of registering the volatility of these shifting urban centers, formed by the accumulation of diverse experiences whereby the familiar (the grid, landmarks, parks) is subverted and read anew through Situationist techniques.

This guy is trying way too hard to impress us.
posted by adamrice at 5:06 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, Peter Parker lives in Chelsea? That must be some kind of mythical rent control going on.

I had exactly the same thought. Shit, I didn't know that freelance photography and maybe-sometimes-depending-on-the-writer teaching high school science paid that well.

You would think that Reed Richards would want Sue and the Human Torch to live in the Baxter Building if only to help out with the rent.

I love the actual line, though: "Torch and sister Sue Storm commute from suburbs." Like: huh. Okay. By Fantasticar or something? Or do they just hop a commuter bus to the F like every other workaday schmoe in the world? In this universe they're huge celebrities, world-saving heroes, operating out of Manhattan. And they commute to work. From the suburbs.
posted by penduluum at 7:48 PM on October 14, 2011


(oh and Artw: daps for the title reference. Second best song on a Batman movie soundtrack of all time [Batdance; Kiss From a Rose coming in a surprising third], and best R&B song about a fictional city [Chocolate City came very close to upsetting but was declared doubly ineligible].)
posted by penduluum at 7:58 PM on October 14, 2011


penduluum, Johnny can fly, and could carry Sis with a non-flaming hand if he wished. But what's so weird about commute by Fantasticar? It is their "family" vehicle.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:41 PM on October 14, 2011


If you like Mr. X, you will love the holy fucking shit out of Terminal City.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:48 PM on October 14, 2011


Does Daredevil still say that he lives in Hell's Kitchen, or does he now call it Clinton?
posted by painquale at 8:49 PM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


If his cheesey rice risotto doesn't make it to the pass at the same time the Owl's scallops do, he has to pack up and move to Queens.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:56 PM on October 14, 2011


"This guy is trying way too hard to impress us."

Yeah. There's whole passages of the article that are nonsensical, and he makes a bunch of factual errors. The scans are fun to look at though.


"In this universe they're huge celebrities, world-saving heroes, operating out of Manhattan. And they commute to work. From the suburbs."

There was a Human Torch feature in the, uh, 60's I think, that actually showed them living in an ordinary single family home somewhere in the burbs. Better there than Johnny's "abestos room" in the Baxter Building! Though I hate to think what kind of insurance premiums Sue was paying with a brother who can start fires in his sleep...
posted by Kevin Street at 9:03 PM on October 14, 2011


Johnny can fly, and could carry Sis with a non-flaming hand if he wished.

If that's what was regularly happening, I hope they wouldn't call it "commuting". It's too awesome to be commuting.
posted by penduluum at 4:04 AM on October 15, 2011


I was curious as to why the author calls the benches in the High Line "infamous." Apparently it's because of the provenence of the wood.

It's now twenty years since I was really into Marvel Comics in my adolescence, and the placement of all of those heroes in Manhattan just seems completely absurd. Avengers' Mansion would be much better suited to some bland Northern Virginia suburb.
posted by HeroZero at 5:12 AM on October 15, 2011


provenAnce. Dammit.
posted by HeroZero at 5:12 AM on October 15, 2011


Avengers' Mansion would be much better suited to some bland Northern Virginia suburb.

A little while back they tried putting a version of The Avengers in each of the fifty states. Virginia's was never specified.
posted by painquale at 9:18 AM on October 15, 2011


No Astro City? Not reading, then.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:00 PM on October 15, 2011


Fun fact: Around the No Man's Land era at least, it was said by creators that Gotham City is where Little Egg Harbor, NJ is in our universe.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:51 AM on October 16, 2011


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