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  1. #16
    Beyond Good. Beyond Evil. Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I would say the drastic changes within adaptions is speaking more of why they're fictional than to just say they're a real life city and leave it at that, while retaining just a general aesthetic or tone.
    Yeah, but it's not like you can have a general aesthetic or different tone than using a real life city. Plenty of movies that use New York as a setting that have completely different tones and aesthetics to one another.

    And for every Gotham that sometimes tries to approach feeling like a real city, you get "totally worse than Gotham" Bloodhaven.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    This is pretty much how I feel. I don't see fictional cities as necessary and I think it depends on the character and how it is handled.
    Yeah, I guess I'd say Gotham and Metropolis are grandfather clauses but I don't see how much Superman media would really change if it Metropolis was just changed to New York City in the dialogue.

  2. #17
    Ultimate Member Vordan's Avatar
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    If you’re willing to put in the work to flesh them out, then they can be great. Otherwise use real cities because then you can draw on the culture of the real city to inform the stories and characters. A lot of fake cities often feel like they’re just copying NYC anyway, but imagine setting a superhero book in Las Vegas or New Orleans for example. That’s going to change the tone pretty radically if you’re doing your research.
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  3. #18
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius View Post
    Yeah, but it's not like you can have a general aesthetic or different tone than using a real life city. Plenty of movies that use New York as a setting that have completely different tones and aesthetics to one another.

    And for every Gotham that sometimes tries to approach feeling like a real city, you get "totally worse than Gotham" Bloodhaven.
    But visually you don't have to be beholden as to what that city is actually like in real life, to the point where it may as well be an independent entity.
    Yeah, I guess I'd say Gotham and Metropolis are grandfather clauses but I don't see how much Superman media would really change if it Metropolis was just changed to New York City in the dialogue.
    Does making it New York really benefit anything? Especially when some adaptions do kind of go forward with it being the "city of tomorrow" to match with Superman. I guess Superman would have to pass by actual New York landmarks.

    New York doesn't have a newspaper publisher with a giant rotating globe on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    If you’re willing to put in the work to flesh them out, then they can be great. Otherwise use real cities because then you can draw on the culture of the real city to inform the stories and characters. A lot of fake cities often feel like they’re just copying NYC anyway, but imagine setting a superhero book in Las Vegas or New Orleans for example. That’s going to change the tone pretty radically if you’re doing your research.
    Rebirth Bludhaven was basically Las Vegas.

  4. #19
    Ultimate Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius View Post
    Yeah, but it's not like you can have a general aesthetic or different tone than using a real life city. Plenty of movies that use New York as a setting that have completely different tones and aesthetics to one another.

    And for every Gotham that sometimes tries to approach feeling like a real city, you get "totally worse than Gotham" Bloodhaven.



    Yeah, I guess I'd say Gotham and Metropolis are grandfather clauses but I don't see how much Superman media would really change if it Metropolis was just changed to New York City in the dialogue.
    If they used Metropolis being fake to its fullest extent, no question in my mind that Supes benefits from being in a fake city. “Realism” doesn’t suit him long term. It’s just that they haven’t fleshed out Metropolis to the extent they should.
    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    But visually you don't have to be beholden as to what that city is actually like in real life, to the point where it may as well be an independent entity.

    Does making it New York really benefit anything? Especially when some adaptions do kind of go forward with it being the "city of tomorrow" to match with Superman. I guess Superman would have to pass by actual New York landmarks.

    New York doesn't have a newspaper publisher with a giant rotating globe on it.

    Rebirth Bludhaven was basically Las Vegas.
    I know, I was explicitly thinking of that. Nightwing in a Las Vegas inspired city is such a perfect choice for him.
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  5. #20
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    I think if its done well and really fleshed out, fictional cities are better. I don't like the DCU resembling our world too much, the more stylistic and fantastical it is the better. Gotham at its best is packed with atmosphere and personality that we don't get from the way DC utilizes real cities. Metropolis should be on that level too; it's grandfathered in the way Gotham is, but it should be on the same level of stylistic because like Vordan said, grounded realism doesn't really fit Superman. I'd love for Metropolis to visually resemble the anime film of the same name (which is in turn loosely based on Fritz Lang's film).

    Otherwise, the way things generally are, I guess it doesn't really matter much either way. When they try to create new cities, sometimes you get complete non-starters like Gateway and Bludhaven. But on the other hand, I don't get much of a thrill of seeing a superhero fighting crime in a real world city. Coast City may not stand out much for Hal, but I can't imagine setting him in Chicago or New York would make things any more exciting on that level. It'd be ok, but it wouldn't be a main draw whereas somewhere like Gotham and Metropolis can let an artist go nuts with their imagination in terms of design.

    I also never got why Wonder Woman was set in Boston during post-Crisis or New York during Rucka's first run. That sort of highlights how interchangeable the real world cities can be. Setting the stories in Washington D.C. like pre-Crisis instead of Boston wouldn't change anything.

  6. #21
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I think it's largely an artistic thing. Using real cities ties you down to real places. That you then have to get right. Fictional cities gives you complete freedom to do whatever you want. Marvel did it because they wanted to be more realistic than DC.
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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend View Post
    Gotham and Metropolis are grandfather clauses. It was just the thing to do back in the golden age - even Timely's books weren't all set in New York - that change at Marvel only happened early in Fantastic Four, they actually started in a fictional city which was then retconned to being New York. Obviously Barry Allen debuted before then (his debut being the commonly accepted start of the silver age), so Central City has the same grandfather clause as well. DC persisted with the fictional city thing through the 1970s, but then New Teen Titans in 1980 followed Marvel's lead, and the book was set in New York. Soon after, Green Arrow went for more realism, hence the switch from Star City to Seattle.
    I think in a lot of cases, they started out as real cities and then later morphed into fictional cities. Bruce Wayne was in Manhattan. Clark Kent was in Cleveland. Denny Colt was in New York (Wildwood was in New Jersey). A lot of characters were in cities with no name, but clearly modelled after New York. I don't think Capt. Marvel's city was named in the 1940s or 1950s (correct me if I'm wrong) and it only became Fawcett City much later.

    I don't believe fictional cities are a fad of any era. They're used a lot in fiction all the time. Thomas Hardy famously set all his novels and short stories in the fictionalized Wessex, with fictional cities like Casterbridge and Oxbridge. Contemporary T.V. shows and movies use fictional cities on a regular basis. The majority of soap operas are set in fictional cities and towns.

    In the 1960s, Stan Lee might have started putting everything in New York--because that's where he lived and worked--but you can see many examples in Marvel comics of fictional countries and fictional cities to this day.

    Personally, I don't like there being so many real cities in the same world where Gotham and Metropolis exist. So much about the fictional cities is borrowed from the real cities and then mythologized that it just makes it redundant to have the real cities like New York and Chicago existing in the same universe. They don't need the real cities when the fictional cities can do all the work and more.
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  8. #23
    Beyond Good. Beyond Evil. Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    But visually you don't have to be beholden as to what that city is actually like in real life, to the point where it may as well be an independent entity.

    Does making it New York really benefit anything? Especially when some adaptions do kind of go forward with it being the "city of tomorrow" to match with Superman. I guess Superman would have to pass by actual New York landmarks.

    New York doesn't have a newspaper publisher with a giant rotating globe on it.
    Yeah, because I'm sure Marvel's NYC doesn't have any of it's own major landmarks unique to the Marvel Universe.

    But going off what Vordan said when it comes to putting in effort to fictional cities. Real cities being often feel interchangeable in comics because writers rarely actually try to build off the culture and history of that city to make unique to their character/story. Real cities like Boston, New York, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Las Vegas, San Diego have far more interesting histories and culture to them than any of DC's fictional cities ever will. So that's why I don't there's really any argument beyond personal preference/experience of whether using fake or real cities is superior to one or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    I also never got why Wonder Woman was set in Boston during post-Crisis or New York during Rucka's first run. That sort of highlights how interchangeable the real world cities can be. Setting the stories in Washington D.C. like pre-Crisis instead of Boston wouldn't change anything.
    It's a holdover from Greg Potter (who gave the original pitch for post-Crisis WW before Perez came on) was from Boston.

  9. #24
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius View Post
    Yeah, because I'm sure Marvel's NYC doesn't have any of it's own major landmarks unique to the Marvel Universe.

    But going off what Vordan said when it comes to putting in effort to fictional cities. Real cities being often feel interchangeable in comics because writers rarely actually try to build off the culture and history of that city to make unique to their character/story. Real cities like Boston, New York, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Las Vegas, San Diego have far more interesting histories and culture to them than any of DC's fictional cities ever will. So that's why I don't there's really any argument beyond personal preference/experience of whether using fake or real cities is superior to one or the other.
    I think it really just depends on the writers/runs too, because we have James Robinson who breathed life into Opal City while Geoff Johns tried to make Coast, Keystone, St. Roch, and Amnesty Bay distinct in their own right.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    If youíre willing to put in the work to flesh them out, then they can be great. Otherwise use real cities because then you can draw on the culture of the real city to inform the stories and characters. A lot of fake cities often feel like theyíre just copyitng NYC anyway, but imagine setting a superhero book in Las Vegas or New Orleans for example. Thatís going to change the tone pretty radically if youíre doing your research.
    The similarity to the city (usually New York) is one of the sauces I enjoy in the fictional cities. It gives me a kick to see how they've borrowed from the real city for the fiction. Just like you can enjoy a parody of a super-hero as much as the actual super-hero, because there's a kind of metafiction there, that you wouldn't get if it was the literal thing.

    I like reading the Fleisher entries in his encyclopedias on Batman and Superman for all the parallels to N.Y. that were worked into Gotham and Metropolis.

    I also like reading American comic book stories about Canada, which might as well be a fictional country given how ridiculous it appears. In fact, most countries and cities that are not American hardly have any relation to the real thing.

    But I'm happy that Stephen Sadowski put the Burrard Street Bridge in Opal City. I imagine in that reality, some billionaire saw our bridge and paid to have it disassembled and reassembled in Opal. In classic comics, rich people were always doing that sort of thing. There were a plethora of stories where some rich person had a castle from England taken down and rebuilt somewhere in the United States. The Joker had an affinity for such castles which were abandoned by the time he moved into them--rich people always spend loads of money on things they later abandon.
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  11. #26
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    As was said, you can be as creative as you want with a fictional city. I think that the settings of DC are a large part of the reason the world feels so special. When done right, they are a character themselves. It also allows the place to be a representation or reflection of a character's world, without having to twist or subdue existing populations to fit into that narrative.

    Green Arrow in Seattle is one of the best examples of the opposite working great. But he was doing a lot of globetrotting then too and the plots kind of lent themselves to very grounded stories. St. Roch in Louisiana is real and has sometimes incorporated the setting into Hawkman/Hawkgirl stories (occasionally, if I remember right). San Diego became Sub Diego as well.

  12. #27
    Astonishing Member WonderScott's Avatar
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    Part of DC’s history and charm is it’s fictional cities. It’s fun, and a throwback, and something that can get turned on it’s ear for modern storytelling.

  13. #28
    Astonishing Member Mutant God's Avatar
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    I prefer fictional cities for DC

  14. #29
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightning Rider View Post
    As was said, you can be as creative as you want with a fictional city. I think that the settings of DC are a large part of the reason the world feels so special. When done right, they are a character themselves. It also allows the place to be a representation or reflection of a character's world, without having to twist or subdue existing populations to fit into that narrative.

    Green Arrow in Seattle is one of the best examples of the opposite working great. But he was doing a lot of globetrotting then too and the plots kind of lent themselves to very grounded stories. St. Roch in Louisiana is real and has sometimes incorporated the setting into Hawkman/Hawkgirl stories (occasionally, if I remember right). San Diego became Sub Diego as well.
    I was really disappointed, though, when Ben Percy remade Seattle into Star City and didn't keep it.

  15. #30
    Astonishing Member marhawkman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutant God View Post
    I prefer fictional cities for DC
    Heh, DC is one of the real cities that DC uses. Usually as part of stories involving the Pentagon, or US President, or something like that.

    Marvel has done a few stories that really needed equivalents of real locations for the name drop. Like Magneto sending Joanna Cargill to the UN as the Genoshan Ambassador. Or Apocalypse deciding he wishes to personally address the UN general assembly.

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