In the latest superhero blockbuster, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, director Zack Snyder makes a lot of controversial decisions. In the movie, Batman indiscriminately kills bad buys; Lex Luthor is a manic, long-haired, 31-year-old silicon valley type; and the future members of the Justice League are revealed in an email attachment (for real). But one of the more interesting decisions was to make Metropolis & Gotham twin cities in Batman v Superman. Most fans aren't used to seeing Batman and Superman being next door neighbors, and it begs the question as to why Batman would be needed in Gotham at all if Superman is right across the bay.
Metropolis and Gotham City are both often considered to be representations of New York City, so it actually would make sense for them to be in the same general area. There is a saying, though no one seems to be sure who originally said it, that Metropolis is New York during the day and Gotham City is New York at night. Using that analogy, I guess there would still be room for Batman to operate in Gotham at night even if Superman is nearby in Metropolis during the day, because Supes has to sleep sometime, right? So I can see the twin city dynamic working in Batman v Superman, so now the only question is whether or not this set up been done before.
The distance between the cities has been anything been constant in the comics. Sometimes they're hundreds of miles away from each other, and other times they're remarkably close. And yes, on some occasions, they have been shown to be sister cities much like in Batman v Superman. Perhaps the first recorded instance of this set up was in a panel of The Worlds Greatest Superheroes newspaper comic strip in 1978. This panel showed Gotham City in southern New Jersey, directly across the Delaware Bay from Metropolis, located in Delaware, and the two cities were connected by the Metro Narrows Bridge. The cities were displayed in this manner again in 1979, in the pages of World's Finest Comics #259, where the citizens of Gotham attempted to invade Metropolis via the bridge. And the New Jersey/Delaware locations were repeated again, sans bridge, in the 1990 book The Atlas of the DC Universe.
So although there is precedent for Gotham and Metropolis being twin cities, it doesn't appear that Zack Snyder was aware of any. At Comic-Con last year, the director seemed to believe that he was the first to come up with the arrangement. Wired reports that he said at the time, "The big rule that we broke is that we put Gotham and Metropolis right next to each other. It made sense to us and worked for our story that they were kind of sister cities across a big bay. It’s like Oakland and San Francisco, kind of."
So there you have it. Even if Batman v Superman thought it marked the first time Gotham City and Metropolis were twin cities, it did not. And that's two be expected, really. After all, the cities have coexisted for nearly 80 years.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; DC Comics; giphy.com