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Charting Imaginary Worlds
April 15, 2010 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Comic Book Cartography is more than maps of make-believe lands. It also covers cutaways ga-lore, robot schematics, and diagrams of Batman's utility belt. In the same vein, there was The Marvel Atlas Project (M.A.P.), and though it is now offline, some pictures have survived. There is also the two-part Marvel Atlas, a subset of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. The Atlast of the DC Universe is limited to Earth, (sourced from the DC Heros RPG book and Secret Files & Origins Guide to the DC Universe 2000), and Mapping Gotham is a single blog post which collects some maps from Batman's world, as found from a variety of sources. The Map Room collected a few more, some which require some digging into the archives. [more, previously]
posted by filthy light thief (28 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
I haven't visited the link yet, ( at work,) but I do hope it properly places Gotham City in New Jersey as per the comics. (explicitly placed in NJ in places such as the Shadow of the Bat annual #1 and implied to be in the place of the real life Little Egg Harbor throughout No Man's Land.)

It alwas surprises me how many sources get that wrong. Oh, I know it wasn't always in NJ (just as Smallville wasn't in Kansas until decades later), and I know they could easily change that on the future. It's still in continuity now, or at least as in continuity as anything is in Comics.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:56 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


[end unsolicited nerd rant]
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:56 AM on April 15, 2010


They do, indeed, place Gotham City in New Jersey.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:11 PM on April 15, 2010


Goddam gahgeous. I loooooove graphics like these. THANKS.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:22 PM on April 15, 2010


I'm glad to see Batman and I have the identical problem of having to carry spare contact lenses. I'm sure his is less of a klutz issue and more of a potassium-nitrate-stings-like-hell-issue. But if he was as as smart as me, he'd have a spare bottle of solution too.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:22 PM on April 15, 2010


I must sir, point out, that that is no robot (despite the name Robotman). It is clearly a cyborg, containing a human brain. When you are ready to have a serious conversation about Robotman, you have my memail address.
posted by bonehead at 12:24 PM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon Batman's belt buckle.
posted by Babblesort at 12:32 PM on April 15, 2010


Ah, right you are. I missed the "protective fluid in which brain floats" part. My sincere apologies.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:33 PM on April 15, 2010


I'd like to know more about this "Pathenia" I found in a Hyborian Map. How is it that I've never heard of this land before? Did Conan ever go there?
posted by josher71 at 12:52 PM on April 15, 2010


Gotham City is indeed an old industrial sprawl in NJ. Metropolis is near where Chicago is and Star City is supposed to be Seattle, right? There aren;t many classic Comic cities in the south - used by good effect my Moore in the superman-swamp thing one-off where he has to drive somewhere without other superheros ....so he heads to New Orleans.

And I'm not getting anything done, again, today.
posted by The Whelk at 12:53 PM on April 15, 2010


Nope, looks like Metropolis is in Delaware. (?!)
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on April 15, 2010


Oh, and Star City looks to be halfway between San Francisco and Eureka.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:58 PM on April 15, 2010


Not in my mind shakespeherian, not where it counts.
posted by The Whelk at 12:58 PM on April 15, 2010


josher71, there's some discussion on The official Robert E. Howard forum, where one person cited Three-Bladed Doom and other works.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM on April 15, 2010


WOW! How weird... about three months ago, I posted an AskMe question about this very thing... The first comics I can remember reading were G.I. Joe 3, 4 and 5, one of which had a cutaway of the PIT.

As for Batman's contact lenses, 1f2frfbf, I imagine that they are so that he might change his identity via colored lenses... Especially during the era when that issue would have been published, there were all kinds of different identity shenanigans in the Batman storylines.

Thanks for this resource!
posted by Slothrop at 1:22 PM on April 15, 2010


Okay, one of the maps is a diagram Kirby made of Kamandi's world. On the map is a place called "Madhole - Country of the Screamers." I have a lot of Kirby comics (including Captain Victory, so that's a lot of Kirby), but that is just awesome. I also love the Sprang drawing of the Batcave.
posted by Slothrop at 1:31 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, seeing the map of Kamandi's continent made me want to get the original Kamandie comics. Who wouldn't want to read about gorilla communes, the expanding tiger empire, or explore the under sea New York rat network? The later volumes still seem affordable, but the first few are pretty costly.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:37 PM on April 15, 2010


I like that in the Official Marvel Universe, there is one extra unnamed continent and one has a different name. Weird.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:41 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fictional Cartography is right up there with obsessive overthinking of fictional science on the list of things that gets my nerd gland pumping. So thanks for this.

shakespherian, even though more recent Superman stuff (especially Smallville) and the original Superman creators put it in the midwest, it's pretty traditional in the DC universe for Gotham and Metropolis to be within driving distance, if not twin cities. But really, Metropolis is one of those that just doesn't really have a fixed location like Gotham does.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:53 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


there is one extra unnamed continent

I think that must be Atlantis, c. 21000 years ago or more, you know, before the Great Cataclysm. See, nothing weird about it.
posted by Zed at 2:12 PM on April 15, 2010


it's pretty traditional in the DC universe for Gotham and Metropolis to be within driving distance, if not twin cities. But really, Metropolis is one of those that just doesn't really have a fixed location like Gotham does.


Or, as it was described to me once "Metropolis is New York City and Gotham is Philadelphia." and I was all 'nuuh uh" until I went to Philadelphia and they actually *have* dark narrow alleyways with smoke coming out of the manholes and big civic buildings they're not taking good care of and a frikken stone prison on the edge.
posted by The Whelk at 2:15 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]



I think that must be Atlantis, c. 21000 years ago or more, you know, before the Great Cataclysm. See, nothing weird about it.


The weird part was that it was unlabelled, along with the labelling of "Antartica."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:34 PM on April 15, 2010


shakespherian, even though more recent Superman stuff (especially Smallville) and the original Superman creators put it in the midwest, it's pretty traditional in the DC universe for Gotham and Metropolis to be within driving distance, if not twin cities.

Yeah, I grew up on Silver Age DC, so I remember how often Batman would swing by to visit Supes, which gave the impression they were fairly close together. But seriously: Delaware?!
posted by shakespeherian at 2:55 PM on April 15, 2010


HolyMoly good post. filthy light thief gains 150 xp.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 3:42 PM on April 15, 2010


Here's a little map for Astro City, a super hero 'burb unto itself. Though not specifically located in the stories themselves, the Wiki section on the possible location is pretty interesting, though not as problematic as the location from Springfield in The Simpsons.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:55 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're going to talk about schematics and technical explanations for tech-based superheroes and accessories and gadgets, then Eliot R. Brown is the man here. When Marvel came out with its Official Handbook series, Brown was the guy who turned it from a collection of pin-ups and stuff about the heroes that you already knew into something that rivaled the Star Fleet Technical Manual for geekgasms-per-page count. His diagrams of Iron Man's suit, Nick Fury's flying car and even Daredevil's billy club knocked my socks off. (Looks like he's done work for DC, as well.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:54 PM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I went to Philadelphia and they actually *have* dark narrow alleyways with smoke coming out of the manholes and big civic buildings they're not taking good care of and a frikken stone prison on the edge.

Clearly I should have paid more attention when I went down to Philadephia from New Jersey. Although now that you mention it, I'm pretty sure I've parked somewhere that wasn't that far from Crime Alley to go to a show.
posted by immlass at 10:10 PM on April 15, 2010


When I was in 5th or 6th grade -- roughly 200 years ago now -- I had an issue of Detective Comics that contained an *awesome* blueprint of Bruce Wayne's skyscraper office building *and* the Batcave. (At the time I remember thinking that it was a serious breach of security on the Batman's part to let that sort of thing get published for all the world to see.)
posted by GatorDavid at 11:36 PM on April 25, 2010


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