The Secret Geography of the DC Universe: A Really Big Map

 

iFanboy cub reporter Jeff Reid sends me strange things sometimes. Recently, he's taken to sharing some very peculiar maps. But these milestones won't be familiar to Rand McNally and may doom your TomTom to cybernetic depression. Like Narnia and Terabithia, getting to these places require a little imagination. 

Jeff found a map of the United States of America, as it existed in the DCU of 1990. 

Take it away, Jeff: 

"There seems to be a perennial question among comics fans: What's up with those fictional cities in the DC universe? Just where are Gotham City and Metropolis located? Star City's on the West Coast, right? Is it kinda close to Coast City or is it somewhere in Washington? It's weird. Why won't anyone at DC just say where these damn cities are on a map? A 2008 video show touched on this topic, but few answers were forthcoming. 

"We were all looking towards the comics for these questions to be answered. We were looking in the wrong place.

"Recently, I was at my parents' house to help them clean out my old bedroom. While there, I found a stack of a ton of my old role playing game materials. In middle and high school, I'd been an avid player of Dungeons and Dragons but still dabbled in other games. Our group had been known to delve into GURPS, Vampire: The Masquerade, and a few others including the DC Heroes role playing game. It was the later material that I found most intriguing.

"DC Heroes, published by a company named Mayfair Games, was a paper-and-pencil role playing game that was first released in the mid-'80s but still had material coming out into the mid-'90s. It had a system in place where all types of characters with all types of powers could interact. It was all fully licensed and approved by DC. Most of the adventures were set in the then-current continuity. I had bought plenty of used source books and game modules for this RPG, but hadn't actually played with most of them. They had laid forgotten in a closet for years. In the stack of these books was a copy of something that would provide answers to all of those questions about the various DC cities. I found a copy of The Atlas of the DC Universe.

"This thing is a clinical look at the location and history of the cities, planets, and dimensions of the DCU. Well, it's a look at these places as they existed in 1990. The maps aren't flashy, but they get the job done. Metropolis is in Delaware. Gotham City is in New Jersey. It's true! This DC licensed product says they're located there so you have to believe it!

"If the logo on the cover doesn't convince you, the author of the book might. Paul Kupperberg is listed as the main author of this book. Kupperberg was an editor at DC for years and even wrote several runs of series including the 18 issues of Doom Patrol immediately preceding Grant Morrison. His name carries some weight. He wasn't just a writer that Mayfair grabbed off the street. Kupperberg knew DC Comics.

"You may notice that a few storied cities like Opal and St. Roch aren't mentioned anywhere but that's simply because they were created after 1990. This book is very much of its time. Take this all with a grain of salt. Who's to say what the various Zero Hours, Final Crisis-es, and Superboy continuity punches did to these cities' locations. This is one answer to all of your questions, but it's not The Answer. As always, make your own continuity."

Click on the image to manifest your destiny. 

    

    

How about a closer look at New England?

            

Stay tuned for more from The DC Universe Atlas later this week. 

Comments

  1. I had heard tales of this map’s existence, but I had no idea…

  2. jmstump jmstump says:

    Awesome map. I find it funny that they include so many real cities, yet leave Detroit off of it.

  3. flakbait flakbait says:

    I’m not sure Detroit even exists on our maps anymore.

  4. doyleclark doyleclark says:

    very nice

  5. MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

    Detroit’s still not a real city.

  6. BigE BigE says:

    @flakbait  Way to kick a city while it’s down. Thanks for the insightful contribution to the discussion.

  7. ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

    Keystone City is in Kansas?!?!  Central City is in Missouri?!?!  This blows my mind.  I always pictured them in Pennsylvania, you know, the Keystone state.  What with it being near Iron Heights prison, it always made sense to me that it would be in steel country. 

  8. BigE BigE says:

    @MisterShaw  Way to kick a city while it’s down. Thanks for the insightful contribution to the discussion.

  9. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Moving on from the subject of Detroit…

  10. MikePositive MikePositive says:

    This made me so happy. Excited to see more from this (perhaps with state outlines?).

  11. gobo gobo says:

    So… where’s Opal?

  12. gobo gobo says:

    Damn it! I missed the Opal City comment in the article… sorry

  13. i see smallville but where is metropolis?

  14. ed209AF ed209AF says:

    You must bring the map to Mordor and cast it into the fires of Mt.Doom. Only then will we be truly rid of its Evil!

  15. CaeuZokul CaeuZokul says:

    It’s really a shame this book hasn’t been updated and reprinted as a DCU book of some sort. I’m glad I have a copy, it’s good for browsing and settling DC disputes at cons and comic shops.

  16. absolutely love this book. Got a chance to borrow it from a friend a few years ago. Very interesting read. I should try and track it down again. 

    Yeah the locations of those cities is insane. Metropolis being in Delaware is always funny. You’d think they’d show more beaches and endless industrial chemical plants. =)

  17. Jeff Reid JeffR (@JeffRReid) says:

    @viperseatlotus  There are more maps coming, including one of a close up of New England which answers your question.

  18. MisterJ says:

    @wallythegreenmonster  I heard rumor that the Delaware location had to do with being about halfway between NY and DC, but who knows the real reason why. 

  19. @MisterJ  –Yeah i think i’ve heard that too, except that it isn’t really. Delaware is basically attached to MD…a hop and a skip from DC. I’d say Philly is closer to halfway. Maybe though Delaware explains the famous chemical syndicate story! haha a total dig on Dupont.

  20. Thursday Thursday says:

    I’d heard of this before too, but it’s awesome to actually see! I always thought Star City was somewhere between Portland and Seattle.

    But I really only have one question: What the hell is Challengers’ Mountain Amusement Park, and why is it significant enough to get its own dot on the map?

  21. PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

    If I recall correctly the locations of Gotham and Metropolis correspond to the locations of Newark, NJ and Newark, Delaware.

  22. MisterJ says:

    @wallythegreenmonster  I have heard the Philly thing explained, and by the same podcast where I heard the rumor, that they couldn’t just move or remove Philly, so this was the solution.

    @PraxJarvin  God, I hope that is true.  It is such good comic book logic.

  23. AquaPimp82 AquaPimp82 says:

    I always imagined Meteopolis being somewhere near Buffalo. As for Gotham, I pictured it being somewhere out on Long Island. Star City always seemed like a northwestern city to me.

  24. @MisterJ  –oh that makes sense. I mean its interesting in that they are keeping real cities and adding new ones of large scale. Gotta put em someplace. Delaware is the only mid atlantic state without a mega city, so it makes sense. 

    For me though, Gotham will always be NYC and Metropolis will be Chicago. I know its wrong in terms of the DCU, but thats just how i’ve always rationalized it going back to being a little kid. 

  25. stuclach stuclach says:

    I love this kind of universe building material.  Good stuff.

  26. goonfan12 goonfan12 says:

    There actually is a Metropolis in southern Illinois, right about where Hub City is placed on this DC map.  I drive through it when I head back to my hometown every once and a while.  Big statue of Superman in the town square.  Even if that statue counted as a person, the town’s population would be about 12 people though, so don’t miss it if you go looking for it.

  27. goonfan12 goonfan12 says:

    and even though I always imagined Central and Keystone City’s being somewhere in the Midwest, PLEASE tell me the Flash family doesn’t identify as KC Royals fans.  That’s more than my fragile heart can take.  Go Cardinals.

  28. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    This is awesome. A big thanks to Jeff and Paul. The locations never really bothered me, but I was always curious.

    Only in the comic community could you find the answer to a question you’ve been asking for twenty years.

  29. flakbait flakbait says:

    Did someone really get riled up about a couple of easy Detroit jokes?

    With Gotham, Metropolis, and New York all in the same area, it seems like most of the population of the country is concentrated in one area.

    I recall from the JLA vs Avengers story that DC Earth is actually slightly larger than, er, our? Earth.

  30. srh1son srh1son says:

    @goonfan12  You’ve just made my list.  Go Royals!  :)

  31. @goonfan12   @srh1son  –we need an immediate column dealing with the Baseball and Football allegiances of all major DCU characters! hahaha that would be amazing and impossible. 

  32. This is weird…

  33. goonfan12 goonfan12 says:

    @wallythegreenmonster  I’ve literally spent the last hour working on that based on this map (don’t tell the principal this is how one of his teachers uses his prep period).  Here’s what I have so far:

    Green Lantern – Oakland A’s
    Green Arrow – Oakland Raiders
    Teen Titans – split between 49ers and SF Giants.
    Black Canary – Seattle Supersonics (and bummed that they no longer exist)
    Martian Manhunter – Colorado Avalanche (I don’t know why, but I assume MM loves hockey)
    Swamp Thing – New Orleans Saints
    Wally West – KC Royals
    Barry Allen – St. Louis Cardinals (this is how the world works if all is perfect and beautiful)
    The Question – Memphis Grizzlies (is anyone a Grizzlies fan in real life?)
    Elongated Man – KC Chiefs
    Hawkman – Detroit Lions
    Hawkwoman – Michigan Wolverines
    Batman – NY Jets
    Superman – NE Patriots (count this among the various reasons I don’t care for Superman)
    Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) – Chicago Cubs
    Plastic Man – Chicago Bulls

    Have I forgotten any?  That took way longer than I probably should have let it.

  34. newway12 says:

    Wow the West cost is pretty empty in the DCU

  35. srh1son srh1son says:

    @goonfan12  Thanks for throwing me a bone with Wally West.  And Ralph Dibney is chilling at Arrowhead Stadium?  YES!

  36. @goonfan12  - yeah but Superman is a midwestern farmboy. I could believe he was a Packers or Bears fan. NO way he roots of the Patties esp. with him renouncing his citizenship and all. But the original Justice League is based in Rhode Island so i can see all of them rooting for the Sawx and the Pats. WE GOT SNAPPER CARR! WUT! hahaha

  37. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @wallythegreenmonster  @goonfan12  Clark Kent has been shown many times in the comics to root for the Metropolis teams.The Metroplis Monarchs are Clark’s favorite baseball team and the Metropolis Metros his favorite football team.

  38. @conor  –good point. Also in Earth One, he almost played for the Metro’s right? Doesn’t Gotham have some teams? The Knights…or am i confusing that with “The Natural?”

  39. So Batman is in New Jersey?

    Well as a resident to this state I must say…..he’s not doing a good job. Clean up Camden for crying out loud! 

  40. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @wallythegreenmonster  Gotham City Sports teams:

    Baseball – Gotham Goliaths
    Football – Gotham Knights
    Basketball – Gotham Gators
    Hockey – Gotham Blades

    Metropolis sports teams:

    Baseball – Metropolis Meteors (NL) & Metropolis Monarchs (AL)
    Football – Metropolis Metros
    Basketball – Metropolis Generals (they lose a lot to the Harlem Globetrotters)
    Hockey – Metropolis Mammoths

  41. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @conor  Aaand there goes Friday’s surprise…

  42. @TheNextChampion  –too dangerous for even Superman to walk through. =)

    @conor  –hot damn those are lots of teams. Def want to see some DCU sports stories with those teams.

  43. ed209AF ed209AF says:

    @connor
    please tell me you didn’t have to look those up, cause that’d be some serious knowledge.

  44. @PaulMontgomery  –stratomatic fantasy baseball with Gotham and Metropolis teams!?!?! <head explodes>

    we need to go out on a limb and just make one of The Flash(es) a fan of the Brewers…for Tom. 

  45. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @wallythegreenmonster  Central City and Keystone have their own teams too.

  46. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @ed209AF  I had to look up the basketball and hockey teams.

  47. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    There will be a big list of sport teams on Friday. Stay tuned! 

  48. srh1son srh1son says:

    @PaulMontgomery   Please don’t take Wally and Ralph away from Kansas City! 

    Missouri has so few things to take pride in…

  49. BizDaddy BizDaddy says:

    What?  No New York City? Must be because that’s where all the Marvel types live.

  50. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    UPDATED with the map of New England. 

  51. PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

    @Flakbit Yes, according to Avengers/JLA the DC Earth is slightly larger than the Marvel earth. (The logic being that it’s bigger to accomodate all those fake countries and cities!, also because of the Crisis making into – at the time – one giant world of 5 earths worth of people.) There are some bits in Avengers/JLA pertaining to where cities are placed in the MU vs DCU, too

  52. Haha, I find it hilarious that Gotham is in New Jersey. Who wants to protect that place? And Metropolis is in Delaware? It’s kind of anticlimactic, for lack of a better word.

  53. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I need to check the regional rail schedule to see if I can spend tomorrow afternoon in Civic City. 

  54. Ali Colluccio WonderAli (@WonderAli) says:

    New Jersey: Home of Gotham City. I like this map.

  55. PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

    I am trying to figure why Gotham appears to be Atlantic City?

  56. It is weirder that Metropolis is in Delaware.

    So I guess in Smallville when they were looking at Metropolis they were looking 500+ miles away? 

  57. gobo gobo says:

    @TNC It’s best to take these things with a pretty huge grain of salt :)

  58. @gobo No, no, no. It’s in continuity my friend so it’s all true. :)

  59. I find it funny that DC thinks that Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are all part of New England. GEOGRAPHY classes people! haha =)

  60. @TheNextChampion  I love that Metropolis in the DCU is larger than Delaware is in real life.

  61. Unoob Unoob says:

    Gotham is in Jersey? Really? “This season on Housewives, Silver St. Cloud-Wayne.”

  62. @JohnV: Metropolis is probably bigger then freakin Rhode Island.

    A state, which this is true, a classmate of mine years back complained: ‘Rhode Island? That street?’ 

  63. NJBaritone NJBaritone says:

    Farmville is in the DCU?  I wonder if I can get Barry Allen to help me with my Dairy Expansion.

  64. Thursday Thursday says:

    So Dover has replaced Wilmington, DE, which no longer seems to exist. And Delaware must have a lot more electoral votes in the DCU!

  65. srh1son srh1son says:

    @Thursday  Holy shit.  If someone does an electoral map, guestimating the population of the United States in the DCU (let’s figure out how Lex got the Presidency), my political and comic book worlds will collide and I will lose it.

  66. drdeeeznutz drdeeeznutz says:

    LOl-This is a great Artcle-Thanks Paul for the knowledge that Bruce Wayne is a Jersey Boy.

  67. EJ EJ says:

    Luthors map in Superman: Returns, has Metropolis in the New York Metro area. And you just know that someone with that much of a hard-on for real estate would have the latest and greatest in maps. I think that the map in Young Justice has it there as well (I could be wrong) That one also has Gotham in the Bridgeport/New Haven area of CT. 

  68. Skyfire124 Skyfire124 says:

    I actually remember having this game and being fascinated by the map…I remembered that either Gotham or Metropolis was in Delaware but couldn’t remember which.

    For some reason, I find it really bizarre that they randomly chose to include Coeur d’Alene, ID on the map…which is about 20 miles from me here in Spokane.  I can only figure that Green Arrow must have taken a roadtrip there in his 80s series. 

  69. ericmci ericmci says:

    DCU state of Maine is waccckkkyyyy.

  70. Jeff Reid JeffR (@JeffRReid) says:

    I was actually a little sad to see that Fawcett City wasn’t on this map until I read that it wasn’t invented until 1994 during Jerry Ordway’s time with the Shazam line of characters. I can partly confirm this by rereading parts of my copy of Showcase Presents: Shazam, which reprints parts of the 1970s Shazam series. During this time period, Captain Marvel is clearly living in New York City. Does anyone know if this also true of the 1940s comics? Was the Marvel Family originally comprised of New Yorkers?

    If we’re placing Fawcett City, it’s clearly in the Midwest. Billy Batson has some clear middle American values and everyone seems so nice in that city. It has to be in Minnesota. If Captain Marvel ever gets a movie, he’d better have a thick Fargo-ian accent.

  71. Metroppolis should be about where Toronto is I think. Joe Shuster said it was anyways.

  72. @gobo  I think James Robinson said Opal said is near Baltimore.

  73. Jeff Reid JeffR (@JeffRReid) says:

    I just now realized that if you want this map to reflect the current DCU geography, you need to cram Bludhaven into the area just south of Gotham City. However, ever since Infinite Crisis, it’s been one big pile of radioactive rubble.

    Man, that’s a lot of giant cities in a very small amount of land.