Monday, July 08, 2024

Seven Things About The Map of Metropolis

I do so love maps.  What can we learn from the map of Metropolis, newly visible in set pics from the forthcoming Superman film?

1. Metropolis is in Delaware, as indicated by the Delaware Bay.

Locating Metropolis in Delaware is pretty traditional and has always made sense.  Metropolis is pretty clearly intended as an East Coast city and Delaware is a "gap" among existing large cities which allows you to locate Metropolis there without moving or eliminating any significant places or landmarks.

Although I am sure Jack Lingo would disagree.

Architecture fans like to imagine Chicago as Metropolis because of the presence of Art Deco and elevated trains.  And fans of Smallville, KS, often picture it as being closer to the heartland.  But those aren't as consistent with the history of Metropolis is portrayed in the comic books.

2"It is a crag! ... a peak! ... a promontory! ... A promontory, did I say? ... It is a peninsula!"  Or, at least, so it appears. One cannot see what's beyond the western edge but it doesn't feel like it tapers off again into an island.

3.  It has many streets. Almost of which have been named after Superman-related comics creators.  In fact, there are TWO Robinson Streets, even though that almost certain would not happen in real life.

4. It has many smaller parks rather than one large one.  This is very consistent with what we have always been shown of Metropolis. There always seems to be a small park in walking distance of, well, anything.  The park that Superman winds up fighting someone above.  

5.  It has no marked neighborhoods. A little odd for a tourist map, where most people will be looking for general neighborhoods rather than every little specific street.  

Pity. I was REALLY hoping to find out just where Little Africa was.

This saddens me, as neighborhoods are the real handles by which we can pick up and drink lore from a huge cup like Metropolis. Metropolis does have neighborhoods that have been defined (or mentioned) in the past, even if not so aggressively as Gotham City.

One of many ways in which Gotham City is more aggressive than Metropolis.

I did see in other material from the film that the neighborhood of New Troy is being used, so there is hope for more neighborhood being mentioned, too.

6.  The city has a more historic "lower end", which gives way to more strictly planned later development.  This is the Manhattan model and, although Metropolis is not Manhattan, it is very logical layout.  The tip of the peninsula would have been developed first by settlers, using a more organic street layout, followed in later decades by more standardized city street planning in the American way.

Which is one of the things Superman protects.

7. It's a shipping/port town, as indicated by all the wharfage.  This might seem so obvious as to not need mentioning. But it is important to note since Metropolis is somewhere along Delaware's coast, better known for beachfront property than shipping.

The Metropolis map has Delaware Bay mapped clearly.  This locates it somewhere NORTH of Rehoboth Beach, since anything south would be labelled "Atlantic Ocean" rather than "Delaware Bay".


Dave said...

While I appreciate the attempts at giving hat tips to previous creators, I always hate the naming of streets after artists and writers: "Car 37, report to the liquor store at Binder and Kanigher."

Scipio said...

I usually love it! In this case, however, it looks like chaotic overkill, especially when names are repeated and rest of the nomenclature is sloppy (e.g., "boulevard/lane/avenue/etc." and cardinal directions being using haphazardly).

Anonymous said...

When a writer can put in 2 or 3 creator-named streets or buildings in a story, it’s fun. When a writer puts in too many references, it gets annoying. Some always work for me: Robinson Park, Finger Alley, and , “…at the intersection of O’Neil and Adams.”

More recent creators’ names throw me out of the book (“he’s headed for Jim Lee square!”) except for any mention of a Rucka Street. Since Rucka spent so many pages writing about the non-Batman aspects of Gotham, he gets a pass.

Anyway, good points about Metroplois being in Delaware. It should be at least one state removed from Gotham, NJ, and far from Smallville, KS.

- Mike Loughlin

Scipio said...

If you are going to name a big empty simple space with no set purpose, "Jim Lee" seems like an excellent choice to em.

cybrid said...

The image of the map where a red hand/glove is drawing a circle around New York (above: "2. "It is a crag! ... a peak! ... a promontory! ... ") has no explanatory/expository caption. Is it supposed to have one? Because I have no idea who that is or what story it's from. :-)

Scipio said...

I was afraid someone would ask. I know only that I remember reading that story as a child, but I have no idea what story it is from. It's Bronze Age, for sure, and I suspect that's Curt Swan's art.

Scipio said...

Mystery solved. You could search forever and not find the comic book that panel is from; because it's not FROM a comic book but a comic STRIP.

Thank you, Kokomo Tribune. And if E. NELSON BRIDWELL says he carefully researched very DC comic every written to make a decision... then it damned well happened. You'd think Metropolis would have given him a bigger street.

cybrid said...

Cool. Thanks for the response. :-)