The DC Universe is home to some of the most iconic cities in comic book history, each with its own unique personality and culture. From the bustling metropolis of Metropolis to the dark and gritty Gotham City, these cities are an integral part of the DC Universe and have played host to some of the most memorable and epic storylines in comic book history. In this article, we will explore the top 10 iconic cities in DC Universe and delve into what makes each of these cities so special and important to the DC Comics mythology. So, without further ado, let’s take a journey through the DC Universe and explore its most iconic cities.
Top 10 Iconic Cities in DC Universe
Out of all the cities in the DC Universe, Gotham City stands out as the most intricately developed. Its streets, alleys, and iconic landmarks have been the setting for countless storylines, turning the city into a character in its own right, alongside its resident hero: Batman. In fact, some districts within Gotham have gained such notoriety that they have been adapted into movies, games, and TV shows.
A key factor in Gotham’s fame is its unique blend of different eras. The city features a mix of modern elements alongside Gothic architecture, neon lights juxtaposed with 1940s-style clothing. This fusion of styles creates an iconic aesthetic that is instantly recognizable and difficult to surpass.
Following his time in Smallville, Clark Kent relocated to Metropolis and eventually became the iconic superhero we know as Superman. The bustling metropolis, also known as “The City of Tomorrow,” is home to the Daily Planet and LexCorp, and has been featured in several Superman and Batman movies, including Superman I through IV, Superman Returns, Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Drawing inspiration from New York City, Metropolis is renowned for its diverse population, thriving business sector, and a symbol of hope in the DC Comics universe. With its first appearance in a 1939 comic book, Metropolis has the longest history of any city on this list, preceding the introduction of Gotham and Keystone City in 1940.
In addition to Superman, notable characters from Metropolis include Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Doomsday, Prankster, and Bizarro, among others. The city has often been depicted as the “sister city” to Batman’s Gotham, although the proximity between the two has varied over the years. Interestingly, Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern from the Golden Age, was also born in Metropolis.
DC’s portrayal of Atlantis blends elements of fantasy and science fiction to create an advanced civilization that thrives beneath the ocean’s surface. The city is now a well-guarded secret, possessing high-tech vehicles, weaponry, and defenses that make it the most dominant metropolis on Earth. Leading this underwater kingdom is Arthur Curry, also known as Aquaman, who brings mystical elements to Atlantis with his royal blood. James Wan’s Aquaman showcased the city’s beauty, highlighting its unique character and giving viewers a glimpse into a thriving and realistic world that felt both familiar and otherworldly at the same time.
Central City is DC’s equivalent of Chicago, a sprawling urban hub that symbolizes modern civilization and a hub for scientific research companies, as its name suggests. Some versions of the DC Universe link Central City with the establishment of S.T.A.R. Labs, conveying the impression that the city is a vision of the future. However, Central City is best known for being the stomping ground of Barry Allen, better known as The Flash, and a host of formidable enemies that constantly threaten it. Unlike Batman who primarily battles costumed criminals, The Flash regularly combats metahumans, which, together with his Justice League contributions, earned him a dedicated museum in Central City.
Smallville, Kansas is a crucial location in the Superman mythos, as it is where his Kryptonian spacecraft lands and where he meets his Earth parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, before being named Clark Kent. This town is where Superman matures and becomes the strong and virtuous character that we all know and love. Additionally, Smallville is the site of several encounters between Clark and a young Lex Luthor, who would eventually become his most formidable adversary.
Smallville has been prominently featured in numerous Superboy comic issues and the long-running television series, Smallville, which aired for a decade on The WB (now known as The CW). Although the show was shot in British Columbia, Canada, the 2013 film Man of Steel opted to film the town’s rural scenery in the state of Illinois.
Star City, located on the West Coast, has been portrayed in two distinct ways in the DC Universe. At times, it is depicted as a prosperous and luxurious city, while at other times, it is portrayed as a hub for criminals, much like Gotham City. This is done to emphasize the differences and similarities between two of DC’s iconic heroes, Green Arrow and Batman, both of whom operate in these cities.
In the Rebirth era, Star City is modeled after Seattle, Washington, and unfortunately, it has suffered a similar fate as the real-life city. It has endured significant damage and even been transformed into a demilitarized zone. Despite these challenges, Oliver Queen, who serves as both an elected official and a vigilante, strives to prevent Star City from falling apart.
Blüdhaven, often regarded as the sister city of Gotham, is notorious for being a terrible place to reside. While Gotham saw improvements with Jim Gordon assuming the role of police chief and Batman protecting the city alongside his team, Blüdhaven remained stagnant and plagued by problems. In an attempt to make a difference, Dick Grayson left Gotham to start anew in Blüdhaven, hoping to inspire change in the city. Unfortunately, Blüdhaven experienced numerous catastrophes, including nuclear explosions, and became a haven for various villains, hindering Grayson’s efforts.
Coast City, the birthplace of Hal Jordan who is the Silver Age Green Lantern superhero, can be likened to San Diego, California. Rebuilt after the Infinite Crisis comic book event, it has been nicknamed “The City Without Fear.” Unfortunately, the city was destroyed in the 1990s. In the Green Lantern 2011 film, which was not well-received, New Orleans, Louisiana served as the filming location for Coast City. The Ferris Aircraft headquarters in the movie was portrayed by the New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
First appearing in Superman #77 in 1952, Coast City has been mentioned a few times in recent years on The CW shows, including Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. The city was also referenced in an episode of the NBC television series Powerless, where it was revealed to be the destination for a company’s retreat.
Themyscira, the hidden city and home of Wonder Woman and the Amazons, holds a significant place in the DC universe. This culture of women has had a vital impact on Princess Diana’s upbringing and her development into a Justice League leader, thanks to her warrior-like training. The city’s magnificence has been experienced by more people through its representation in media such as the Gal Gadot films.
The Amazons’ belief in gods, such as Hera and Athena, is reflected in the ancient Greek architecture of the city. Often referred to as Paradise Island, Themyscira is best described as elegant, beautiful, and utopian, owing to its isolation from the outside world.
Midway City, Michigan, which is loosely inspired by the city of Chicago, holds a significant place in the DC Comics universe. It is notably recognized as the birthplace of the Doom Patrol team, though they later moved to Kansas City. Furthermore, Midway City houses Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who operated incognito in the Midway City Museum. Recently, Midway City served as the setting for the 2016 film Suicide Squad.
The city made its first appearance in The Brave and the Bold Vol 1 in 1961, and is credited with introducing characters such as Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and police commissioner George Emmett, who played an important role in changing the negative perception of costumed vigilantes in Midway City. The Doom Patrol ultimately left Midway City as their activities became too costly for the city to maintain.
Also Read: Top 10 DC Comics That Could Be Adapted Into Horror Films
Top 10 Iconic Cities in DC Universe