Are the cities in DC Comics films and TV series allegorical in nature?

For example:

Is Gotham City considered to be an allegory of New York City/Brooklyn

Central City the allegorical Kansas City/Detroit/Chicago?

Metropolis the allegorical Boston/Philadelphia?

Star City the allegorical Pittsburgh?

Or are they meant to be fictional cities in the DC universe that exist next to the real US cities of New York/Boston/Philadelphia/Chicago/Detroit,etc.?

Marvel makes barely any mention of fake city names, and almost always uses real city names in their universe.

1 Answer 1


It is because DC already had a well fleshed out places in Metropolis and Gotham City. It would have issues on continuity if they suddenly change them. I believe they decided to keep their own city names to have more freedom in their storytelling needs.

Also worth noting that they also use real world areas in some of their books.

enter image description here(eg. Wonder Woman lives in Washington DC, The Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle lives in El Paso Texas and found the scarab in Egypt)

Also, in the DC Universe Atlas, Gotham is based in an area near New Jersey, and Metropolis is in the south end of the Delaware Bay.

  • I once saw a DC map where Gotham City and Metropolis were on opposite sides of the Delaware River or Delaware Bay. I don't remember which one was in Delaware and which one in NJ. And other sources put Gotham City and Metropolis near NY City, on opposite sides of the bay in NJ and in Long Island. All in different alternate universes in the DC multiverse I guess. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotham_City#/media/… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_(comics)#Geography Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 20:20
  • Hmm - You'd think we'd remember an entire city being moved, twice, in Arrow, but it's really not mentioned. :-)
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 22:12
  • Is there a source for the map, or was it an original creation?
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 22:16
  • Not only have Gotham and Metropolis often been placed in the vicinity of New York City, they've been described in terms of it: Metropolis is NYC by day, Gotham is NYC by night.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 22:32
  • The image is based on the Atlas of the DC Universe which i treasured dearly in my childhood days. Unfortunately, I lost track of it's location growing up, and I cannot find scanned pages for it anymore. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Atlas_of_the_DC_Universe). I am also not sure if it is still canon after the all the "Crisis" that happened since the early 90s.
    – gigz
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 0:03

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