Have you ever wanted to wander the back alleys of Gotham? Let’s be honest, the answer is probably not. It’s no secret that danger lurks under every busted streetlight in Batman’s hometown. But in the pages of Exploring Gotham City, a new book that explores the rich history of the famous fictional city, you’ll get an unprecedented up-close look at Gotham’s neighborhoods, landmarks and sites where legendary battles between heroes and villains have been waged.
Written by Matthew K. Manning, colorfully illustrated by Studio Muti and published by Insight Editions, this tall tome is packed with all the Bat-tastic details you could want. You’ll feel like a tourist discovering the best spots in the storied city, from Wayne Manor and Arkham Asylum, to Ace Chemical and Crime Alley. All of Gotham’s famous locales and their secrets are yours to discover.
And what secrets they are! Even the biggest Dark Knight fans are likely to learn something new. Let’s take a look at five of the iconic locations covered by the book—and a few fun facts you may not know about them—as we kick off your sightseeing adventures.
Stately Wayne Manor is outside of Gotham City proper in the community of Bristol Township. The house was originally designed and constructed over 150 years ago by Ambroos Lydecker for the Waynes, one of the first families of Gotham. Since then, it’s been remodeled and almost destroyed on several occasions. Alfred Pennyworth keeps the expansive grounds and house in pristine condition. (Are we sure he’s not a superhero?)
On one of the manor’s many floors you’ll find the bedroom of Damian Wayne. Did you know almost every Robin still has a bedroom in the grand house?
You might think you know the Batcave all the way down to the Bat-Cow who wanders its dim caverns, but you’ve never seen it level by level like this. There’s a command level for training, the Hall of Trophies that’s home to the giant penny and Tyrannosaurus rex, the tech-filled Hall of Armor and the garage packed with Batman’s wonderful toys. There’s even a mysterious sublevel—number 7—that no visitor has ever seen. Only Batman knows what he keeps there.
We’ve got another little-known fact for you from Exploring Gotham City: There’s more than one Batcave. Batman keeps smaller "caves" across Gotham, including in the East End, the Narrows and below Arkham Asylum. Speaking of which…
Gotham’s famous asylum was once the sprawling private residence of Amadeus Arkham. The doctor dedicated his life and donated his house to the care of the mentally ill, naming the facility the Elizabeth Arkham Home for the Criminally Insane as a tribute to his mother. Unfortunately, Amadeus later became a resident himself after his own deteriorating mental condition came to light.
Inside Arkham you’ll find cells that match their unusual occupants. The Riddler scribbled codes and messages on his walls; Clayface was housed in an airtight space to prevent his escape. Intriguingly, the unhinged Amadeus Arkham carved strange occult symbols into the floor of his cell, which remained hidden for years.
The gorgeous Old Wayne Tower was designed by Cyrus Pinkney, the architect who imagined Gotham City’s striking skyline. The landmark is one of the most famous structures in Gotham. Tourists often head to the observation deck for a breathtaking panorama of the entire city, unaware that the building was the site for fights for the future of Gotham.
Bruce Wayne took on the Talon and the Court of Owls here—and almost died.
You might not know the name of this park, but you certainly recognize the antihero who often operates there. Poison Ivy feels at home on the three hundred square acre park nestled in the middle of Gotham. The botanist has a deep connection to all life on Earth through the Green, so naturally she’s drawn to the largest green space in the city.
Criminals from muggers to super-villains are also drawn to the popular park. Aware that the area was a hub for crime, Bruce Wayne hid a small Batcave below the Robinson Park reservoir. Over the years, Batman has squared off against corrupt Gotham City police, Black Mask, Scarecrow, Dr. Phosphorus and countless small-time crooks in this otherwise peaceful preserve.
With hundreds of illustrations, details and facts about the history of Batman’s home turf, Exploring Gotham City is a must-have for Bat-fans of all ages. Find it now at your local bookstore or online.
Kelly Knox writes about all-ages comics and animation for DCComics.com and her writing can also be seen on IGN, Nerdist, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk superheroes, comics and crafts.