Metropolis (comics)

From Academic Kids

For other usages of Metropolis, see Metropolis.

Metropolis is a fictional city that appears in comic book published by DC Comics, and is the home of the superhero Superman. Metropolis first appeared by name in Action Comics #16, in 1939.

The co-creator and original artist of Superman, Joe Shuster, modeled the Metropolis skyline after both Toronto, Ontario (where he was born), and Cleveland, Ohio (where he later lived and met co-creator Jerry Siegel in high school). Since then, however, it has become a fictional analogue of New York City.

The real town of Metropolis, Illinois, has proclaimed itself the "hometown of Superman," and celebrates its "local hero" in every possible way that it can. Among the ways it celebrates the character include a large Superman statue in the city, a small Superman museum, an annual Superman festival, and its local newspaper The Metropolis Planet, a name inspired by the major newspaper in fictional Metropolis, The Daily Planet.


Like many of DC's other fictional cities, the location of Metropolis has varied greatly over the years. Metropolis, however, is usually portrayed as a major city on the east coast of the United States.

It has been said that, metaphorically, Metropolis is New York during the day, and Gotham City (home to Batman) is New York at night; this comparison is usually attributed to Frank Miller. Longtime Batman writer and editor Dennis O'Neil also said figuratively that Metropolis is New York above 14th St., and that Gotham City is New York below 14th St. However, New York City does exist as a separate city from Metropolis and Gotham City within the comics.

A role playing game DC Universe atlas guide published by Mayfair Games claimed that Metropolis was in the state of Delaware, which DC itself has also cited on occasion.

The 2005 comic Countdown to Infinite Crisis places Metropolis in the state of New York.

Metropolis is frequently depicted as being within driving distance of Gotham City, home of Batman. DC has on occasion cited Gotham as being located in the state of New Jersey, though, like Metropolis, its location isn't permanent; however, Gotham is usually treated as also being a major east coast city. The distance between the two cities has varied greatly over the years, ranging from being hundreds of miles apart to Gotham and Metropolis being twin cities on opposite sides of a large bay.

In the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths comics, Smallville was often shown as being within driving distance of Metropolis, though with no definitive location. Since John Byrne's revamp of Superman in 1986, however, its location has usually been cited as being in Kansas.

In the Smallville television series, Metropolis seems to be located in Kansas or in a neighboring state. In an interview, the creators of Smallville have stated that Metropolis is approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Smallville. In one episode a letter can actually be seen with the address "Metropolis, KA" suggesting the city is located in Kansas. The odd thing is Kansas is actually abbreviated KS.

In 1978's Superman: The Movie, its sequels and in the 1990s television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Metropolis is shown as being in (or taking the place of) New York. (The first movie even showed such New York landmarks as the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center).


Over the years, Metropolis' features have greatly changed in the comics; however, Metropolis is always presented as being a world class city on the same caliber as New York City or Chicago.

Metropolis' features became more defined (and more obviously based on New York) following both 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries and John Byrne's subsequent revamping of Superman, including the late 1980s comic special The World of Metropolis. Metropolis is presently divided into six regions or "boroughs", centered around "New Troy", an island borough based on Manhattan. The Daily Planet building is located here (in "Planet Square"), as was Lex Luthor's corporate headquarters, the Lexcorp Tower. The now-married Clark Kent and Lois Lane currently live in an apartment here, at 1938 Sullivan Lane; Clark Kent's traditional apartment address of 344 Clinton St., Apt. #3B, was usually described as being located in midtown Metropolis.

New Troy is separated from the suburban boroughs by the West River and Hobb's River. Jimmy Olsen lives in the borough of Bakerline. There is also a economically depressed area in northwestern New Troy called Suicide Slum, best known for the 1940s adventures of the Guardian and his street urchin companions, the Newsboy Legion.

A statue of Superman can be found in Metropolis' largest park--Centennial Park.

Other major media located in Metropolis include WGBS-TV, flagship station of the Galaxy Broadcasting System (GBS) television network, both subsidiaries of media conglomerate Galaxy Communications. Popular shows included The Midnight Show Starring Johnny Nevada (a fictional version of NBC's The Tonight Show, with Johnny Nevada being an analogue of Johnny Carson). During the 1970s, both Clark Kent and Lois Lane worked for WGBS (after Galaxy Communications purchased the Daily Planet in a 1971 storyline), with Clark as the anchorman for the WGBS evening news (he was eventually joined by Lana Lang as a co-anchor). After John Byrne's revamp of Superman's origins, though, Clark and Lois were reverted to working at the Daily Planet once again.

In the Silver Age comics, another major Metropolis landmark was the Superman Museum, which featured various exhibits dedicated to Metropolis' favorite superhero.

The central branch of S.T.A.R. Labs, a major scientific research institution, is located in Metropolis.

Metropolis' police department also possesses a special crimes unit dedicated to defending the city against superhuman menaces in case Superman is absent. The unit is headed by Maggie Sawyer and Dan Turpin, with both maintaining frequent contact with the Man of Steel. Another of Superman's police contacts over the years has been Inspector William Henderson, who in the current comics is the Metropolis police commissioner.

Around 2000, the city was given a futuristic makeover by the time-traveling Brainiac 13, a villainous descendant of Superman foe Brainiac, but it has since reverted to its former state.

The people of Metropolis are depicted as a diverse group of large city-dwellers, befitting Metropolis being (within the comics) one of the country's largest and most important cities outside of New York.

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