Gotham City Mayors (Part 3)

In the early 1980s, writer Gerry Conway took over the Batman titles and began his infamous “Marvelized” Batman run. As opposed to the mostly done-in-one capers of the past, his run featured an ongoing soap opera-like narrative that put a spotlight on Bruce Wayne’s social life, the inner workings of organized crime, and the political turmoil of Gotham City. Hamilton Hill debuted in Detective Comics #503 and was sworn in as Gotham’s mayor after defeating city councilman Arthur Reeves in the election. Hill was secretly in league with crime boss Rupert Thorne, and one of his many nefarious dealings as mayor was to replace James Gordon with a more compliant police commissioner. In Batman #381, Hill’s corruption was exposed and he was forced out of office.

Hamilton Hill.

George P. Skowcroft debuted in Detective Comics #551 and was appointed acting mayor in the wake of Hill’s downfall. In Swamp Thing #53, he infamously attempted to criminalize Abby Arcane’s relationship with Swamp Thing as beastiality. The Batman titles at the time teased an election showdown between Skowcroft and Lucius Fox, but when Denny O’Neil took over as editor after Crisis on Infinite Earths, most of the plotlines being weaved by Conway and Doug Moench were unceremoniously dropped. Thus, we’re not really sure who won the formal election or what happened to Skowcroft.

George Skowcroft (and my favorite reaction image ever).

In Huntress: Year One, we meet an unnamed mayor of Gotham City. Not only does he force an arranged marriage between his daughter and mafia prince Tony Angelo, but he plans to manufacture a crisis where he would intentionally destory Gotham’s dam system, flood the city, and swoop in with aid to take control of the fiasco and ride the wave of adulation to the White House. Kind of a weird plan, but whatever. His schemes are discovered by the Huntress, Helena Bertinelli, who takes the information to Batman. After being exposed for such a thing, this mayor was surely ousted from office.

The mayor from Huntress: Year One.

The timeline of Huntress: Year One is up for debate. Helena’s debut as the Huntress takes place around the Catholic holiday of Carnival, marking the beginning of Lent – usually a February date. In original post-Crisis history, Huntress debuted after the death of Jason Todd. However, Huntress: Year One reveals that Huntress was active while Barbara Gordon was still Batgirl, before The Killing Joke and A Death in the Family. If we place Huntress’s debut as late as it can possibly go, in the February before the Joker’s crippling of Barbara Gordon, then it would take place after Skowcroft’s appointment as mayor. The only other timeline clue is Catwoman’s claim that she is 29 – but can we trust Selina Kyle to tell the truth about her age?

So, some people do place the debut of Huntress earlier, sometimes prior to the introduction of Jason Todd, with speculation that this mayor could be Skowcroft or Hamilton Hill himself. To be honest, I don’t think he is Hamilton Hill. Their appearances are different and their storylines are way too distinct. It could theoretically be Skowcroft – but once again, the appearances don’t exactly match. In my opinion, the mayor from Huntress: Year One is the unnamed man who defeats Skowcroft in the formal election.

The mayor from Batman: The Cult.

The next mayor of Gotham appears in Batman: The Cult. An older white-haired man with thick eyebrows and squinty eyes, he is assassinated by Deacon Blackfire’s followers along with the rest of the city council. At the end of The Cult, a slim gray-haired man named Donald Webster is appointed acting mayor of Gotham. The mayor in Batman: Run, Riddler, Run is similar enough in appearance to Webster that we can say it is probably the same person.

The mayor from Batman: Run, Riddler, Run.

The mayor from Detective Comics #626.

Our next mayor is a chubbier man with black hair and a mustache who appears in Detective Comics #626. He’s mad that Commissioner Gordon gave him a parking ticket. Next, Mayor Julius Lieberman appears in Batman vs. Predator, where he is viciously eviscerated by a Predator (comics!) Lieberman has white hair and a mustache, but is otherwise similar enough in build and appearance to the mayor from Detective #626 that they might be the same person… but, they might not be.

Julius Lieberman.

After Lieberman’s death, Mayor Goode debuts in the Robin II mini-series. If you look closely, you can see his name on a plaque on his desk in issue #3. Goode reappears in Robin Annual #1, with slightly fuller hair. But a week before that issue was published, Gotham’s mayor helped celebrate the return of the JSA in Justice Society of America #1. Although he doesn’t look exactly like Goode, he’s got the thinning hair and same general build, so we can probably assume it’s the same guy. And then, on the same day Justice Society of America #1 was published – a week before Robin Annual #1 Gotham’s outgoing mayor inexplicably appears as an African American man in Detective Comics #648.

The totally blinged-out Mayor Goode from Robin II.

Detective #648 was written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Tom Lyle, the same authors of Goode’s appearances in Robin. This mayor is drawn very similarly to Goode, with his hair style from the annual, but he is colored as a black man while Goode is clearly white. I’m guessing this may have been a coloring error or miscommunication, since Goode appeared a week later in the Robin annual… but at the end of the day, does the published page supersede behind-the-scenes info? Does Detective #648 establish another canonical mayor of Gotham distinct from Goode? For now, the jury is out.

Detective #648’s unnamed mayor.

Detective Comics #647-649 also introduces the man who will become the next mayor of Gotham, Armand Krol. He’s a hardline conservative with a major hate-boner for Batman and Jim Gordon. His first appearance as mayor is the Misfits storyline in Shadow of the Bat #7-9 (his last appearance as a candidate being Batman #489-490). When Batman saves Krol from the Joker during Knightfall, Krol softens up towards the Dark Knight but never loses his adversarial attitude towards Gordon. Krol runs for re-election but is ultimately defeated. During the lame duck period of his mayoralty, he installs a friend of his, Andrew Howe, as police commissioner. When Krol’s successor takes office in Contagion, Gordon is restored as commissioner and shortly afterwards, Armand Krol succumbs to the Clench virus and dies.

Armand Krol.

To find out why Krol’s successor represents a historical milestone on our list, stay tuned for the next post!

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1 Response to Gotham City Mayors (Part 3)

  1. PurpleGlovez says:

    In Batman #342, Hamilton Hill is erroneously referred to as Harrison Hill in a newspaper headline. Perhaps we can assume this is his middle name. Weirdly, a similar thing happened in Batman Eternal when Sebastian Hady was inexplicably referred to as William.

    With the current real-world political climate, it’s interesting to note that Hill ran on a seemingly sincere platform of police reform.

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