06What is a Gotham City without the Batman? What contextualized his transformation into Gotham City’s protector, the Dark Knight? These are the questions that the CW’s Gotham seeks to answer. The journey has already begun, and over the last three and a half seasons, fans have watched familiar characters and villains begin to take shape and find their place in Gotham City. With characters like Alfred Pennyworth and Jim Gordon, supporting our young Bruce Wayne, Gotham City might just stand a chance in the fight against the likes of Professor Pyg, Oswald Cobblepot, and Victor Fries.
This is not the Gotham City that we are all familiar with, but that doesn’t mean that Gotham doesn’t reference it. Now that we have hit the midway point of season four of Gotham, we thought it was a good time to re-visit all of the little references to the Batman comics that the producers of Gotham have been able to sneak into the show over the last four seasons. Even if some of the references were only on screen for a split second, it was still cool for them to make it from page to screen in the first place! Were you able to catch all of them?
15 THE CLOCKTOWER
Barbara Kean is Jim Gordon’s former fiance on the TV show. In the comics, they eventually have a daughter together, whose name is also Barbara (confusing, we know). And Barbara Gordon goes on to become the leader of a team called the Birds of Prey. As the leader of the Birds of Prey, Barbara would go on to take the moniker ‘Oracle’, and act as the technological expert of the team.
She monitored multiple computer and surveillance systems, acting as the eyes and ears of the Birds of Prey. And she did all of this from the comfort of the New Gotham Clock Tower. Barbara Kean’s clocktower apartment bears a striking resemblance to the New Gotham Clock Tower, which is a nice nod to her future daughter’s heroics.
14 BRUCE'S SKETCHBOOK
As we’re sure you’ve figured out by now, the producers of Gotham absolutely love to sneak in little references to the DC Universe and their show’s very rich source material wherever they can. A few of these little references came in the form of young Bruce Wayne’s (played by David Mazouz) notebook.
If you were to look closely at the pages, you would be able to see a couple of images that looked very familiar. Not only did young Bruce draw what would appear to be the first concept sketches for the famous Batcave, but he drew a monstrous beast, seemingly of reptilian nature with a whole bunch of teeth. Could this have been some foreshadowing, indicating that we’ll see Killer Croc somewhere down the line?
13 QUEEN CONSOLIDATED SIGN
In the episode of Gotham titled ‘Selina Kyle’ (Season One, Episode two), fans of the comic book DC Universe or of the television show Arrow might have picked up on the large neon ‘Q’ on one of Gotham City’s tallest buildings. Though it was only a fleeting shot, some fans were quick to point out that this could be an office of Queen Consolidated, which would signal the existence of the Queen family in Gotham’s universe.
This could indicate that a potential appearance by a young Oliver Queen, or potentially even a time-travel-based Arrow crossover in Gotham’s future. Though producer Danny Cannon has already confirmed that any resemblance to the Queen Consolidated logo was completely unintentional. But that doesn’t mean that the chance of a crossover between the two hit shows that spun out of the DC Universe is totally gone, does it?
12 MATCHES MALONE
This easter egg references a particularly deep cut in the Batman mythos from a few decades ago. In Gotham, Silver St. Cloud (played by Alexandra Matheson) mentioned that the man who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents was named ‘M. Malone’. It might seem like just a name, but it references the name of a minor criminal in the Batman comics. Unfortunately, his life was brought to an untimely end.
From time to time, Bruce Wayne would adopt the persona of Matches Malone as a disguise in order to infiltrate various criminal enterprises. Beginning with Batman #247, Bruce as Matches Malone, began frequenting various bars around Gotham City in order to dig up information on a fugitive criminal. He would continue to don the guise of Matches Malone off and on over the course of the next decade.
11 GOTHAM CITY SIRENS
Before Cobblepot takes over and renames it, ‘The Iceberg Lounge’, Barbara Kean operated a nightclub called ‘The Siren Club’. This is a direct nod to the critically acclaimed comic book series, Gotham City Sirens (written by Paul Dini with art by Guillem March). Gotham City Sirens follows the most popular female villains of Gotham City: Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy on a series of pseudo-heroic adventures. As of now, Warner Bros is developing a film with called Gotham City Sirens as well.
In Gotham, The Siren Club acted as home base for a gang called ‘The Sirens’, that consisted of Selina Kyle (also known as, Cat), Barbara Kean, and Tabitha Galivan (also known as, Tigress). Though it isn’t likely we’ll see the comic book iteration of the sirens, it’s a cool nod to a well-received series.
10 COURT OF OWLS
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo had an extremely long run on Batman, with its first arc of course, being arguably the most significant contribution they made to the Batman mythos. That arc’s title was of course, ‘The Court of Owls’. The arc revealed that there was a secret organization that had been manipulating Gotham from behind the scenes for generations before Bruce became Batman. Batman has only had so much success as Batman, because they have ALLOWED it.
So basically, Batman is totally at the mercy of the Court of Owls, which is not a place Batman generally is. But it seems as if Snyder and Capullo’s addition to the Batman mythos has spilled into Gotham. Have you seen all the owl statues popping up all over the sets of Gotham?
9 WAYNE MANOR'S ADDRESS IN BTAS
This one is a really deep cut that even most hardcore Batman fans might have missed. In Gotham, the address of Wayne Manor is ‘1007 Mountain Drive’. This might seem normal enough, and perfectly unassuming, if you haven’t seen one particular episode of Batman: The Animated Series recently. In the episode “The Demon’s Quest” of Batman: The Animated Series, it gets mentioned that the address of Wayne Manor is ALSO ‘1007 Mountain Drive, Gotham’.
Mind you, this is the only time that Wayne Manor’s address ever comes up in Batman: The Animated Series. Even so, it is pretty cool that the writers of Gotham were able to both catch Wayne Manor’s address in Batman: The Animated Series and throw in a nod to the fan favorite cartoon.
8 SELINA KYLE'S GOGGLES
As we are first introduced to Gotham’s iteration of Selina Kyle, the woman who we all know better as Catwoman, she is a teenage girl and not the full-fledged catburglar we all know and love to hate. While young, the Gotham iteration of Selina Kyle (portrayed by actress Camren Bicondova) is already an accomplished thief in her own right, though not up to the caliber of her comic book counterpart.
One of the first shots that we get of the young thief shows off her criminal get-up. Her goggles are turned upwards, giving off the appearance of cat ears. While Selina Kyle has yet to be referred to as ‘Catwoman’ in Gotham (though she is known as ‘The Cat’), those upturned goggles looked a whole lot like a nod to the character’s classic mask.
7 THE KILLING JOKE
Throughout Gotham, there are references to the Joker peppered in, though he has yet to officially appear. In each episode of Gotham’s first season, the show’s creators included a bit character in each episode that could potentially become a Joker. Some of these references were just made with props. However, one sticks out.
In the first episode of season one, at Fish’s Club, there was a skinny stand up comedian who wasn’t doing too well. This is a direct reference to Batman: The Killing Joke, in which we are treated to one of Joker’s origin stories. In this one, he is, you guessed it, a stand-up comedian. Though it’s probably safe to say that he won’t be crowned the Clown Prince of Crime anytime soon.
6 BURIED ON SUNDAY...
At the end of the final episode of the third season of Gotham, it was revealed that minor character Butch Gilzean did not die at the end of season one, as some had thought, but was in fact, just in a coma. It also came out that Butch had changed his name at one point, originally. His name was Cyrus Gold.
Now, if you are at all a fan of Batman comics, you’d know that Cyrus Gold is the name of zombified villain Solomon Grundy, before he became the swamp-fortified behemoth that we know him as today. Though details differ depending on which incarnation you remember, Cyrus Gold was killed in Slaughter Swamp, where due to plant matter and decomposition, he was reincarnated years later.
5 BILL FINGER'S BIRTHDAY
In the first episode of Gotham, the show included a nod to Bill Finger, one of the creators of Batman. Finger went uncredited for decades, receiving none of the acclaim that his Batman co-creator Bob Kane enjoyed. Finger did not only co-create Batman, but also many of the minor characters and villains who have appeared in Gotham over its four season run.
As you can see on the placard near the front door of Wayne Manor, it was built in the 1914, which is the same year Bill Finger was born. This was a nice reference for the Gotham production team to include, seeing as Bill Finger was not even credited for his involvement with Batman’s creation until Bob Kane mentioned it years after Finger had died.
4 GOTHAM ACADEMY
Given that Gotham takes place years before the young Bruce Wayne had become the Batman, it would make sense that he is enrolled in school. After all, he is just a kid. And of course, with all of his family’s money, Bruce Wayne would not be going to just any school, no, he’d be going to the best, most expensive prep school in the city of Gotham.
So, Bruce is enrolled as a student at Gotham Academy. Not only is Gotham Academy a private school in Gotham, it is also the title of a DC Comics title. The comic, ‘Gotham Academy’ is a spooky teen drama set in the Batman mythos that is directed at younger readers. The book even crossed over with ‘Lumberjanes’ from Boom! Studios.
3 ARKHAM CITY
Arkham Asylum is a pretty huge part of almost every Batman story arc, in some way or another. It’s where Batman stores all of his baddies until they inevitably break out again and run wild on the city. Of course it would appear in Gotham. In the fourth episode of the first season (titled, ‘Arkham’), a design for living quarters surrounding the Arkham Asylum can be seen.
Up close, these designs look a great deal like the layout of the cordoned off neighborhood dubbed ‘Arkham City’ in the Arkham City video games. While this is not explicitly a comic book reference, given the success of the video games, Arkham City has become a huge staple of cross-media Batman lore. Thank goodness we won’t be ending up there.
2 4TH AND GRUNDY
Some of the little easter eggs that pop up all over Gotham are not really all that overt. Some of them come in the form of sound bites or interactions, instead of directly referencing something in the Batman canon. This is one of those instances. It isn’t really of any relevance, and won’t be acting as a plot point anytime soon, but at the end of the day it’s still pretty nifty.
When Harvey Bullock realized he had found a lead in the Wayne case, he called up his partner, Jim Gordon, to let him know. While on the phone Jim, Bullock tells Jim to meet him at the corner of ‘4th and Grundy’. That intersection is a nod to the undead Batman villain Solomon Grundy.
1 BANE'S VENOM
All we know about the time period of Gotham is that it is set in the past. It’s in our past, as well as Bruce Wayne’s. This is evidenced not only by the characters all being a bit younger than we generally know them to be, but also because of the technology. This also applies to comic book technology. A certain drug in Gotham is evidence for this -- Viper.
Viper is only at street drug status in Gotham, but its effects sound awfully familiar. They give the user a brief burst of super strength and endurance. The effects and name of this drug are so eerily similar to Bane’s venom, that it must be some sort of a predecessor to what gets the hulking Bat-baddie going.