Gotham City Mayors (Part 4)

With the backing of Bruce Wayne himself, Marion Grange (debuting in Detective Comics #686) defeated Armand Krol in the election to become the next mayor of Gotham City. A liberal and former district attorney (she appears in this capacity via flashback in Two-Face: Year One), Marion is notable for being the first female mayor of Gotham depicted in comics! She took office during the Contagion storyline. We learn that she had a nephew die of the Clench virus as well. In Road to No Man’s Land, when Marion was in Washington, D.C. trying to secure federal aid for Gotham after an earthquake, she was shot and killed by a sniper’s bullet intended for Bruce Wayne.

Marion Grange.

When Gotham was reopened in the wake of No Man’s Land, Daniel Danforth Dickerson III won the emergency elections to become the city’s mayor, debuting in Detective Comics #743. He’s as corrupt as any old-school Gotham politician. In Gotham Central #12, when Commissioner Akins met with Dickerson to prevent him from cutting police overtime, a sniper perched on a building across the street fired through the window and put a bullet through Dickerson’s head, killing him instantly. Astonishingly, Dickerson’s assassination is referenced in The New 52’s Teen Titans #15, making him (to my knowledge) the only pre-Flashpoint mayor besides Sebastian Hady to be transferred over to New 52 canon – although it presents a continuity error, as discussed in the Hady section below. And that issue curiously claims he was killed at Kennmann Commons, as opposed to City Hall in the original telling.

Daniel Danforth Dickerson III.

After Dickerson’s death, his deputy mayor David Hull was appointed acting mayor, debuting in Gotham Central #13. Making a few sporadic appearances in Gotham Central and the Batman titles surrounding the War Games storyline, his tenure is somewhat unremarkable and the details of his leaving office remain unrevealed.

David Hull.

The next mayor is a head-scratcher. In David Lapham’s City of Crime storyline from Detective Comics #800-808 and 811-814, the mayor is initially identified as Hull. However, for the rest of the story he is referred to as Mayor Seamus McGreevy. He is involved in a wild criminal conspiracy known as “The Body” which utilizes doppelgängers and mass paranoia-induced hallucinations to serve their ends. As such, some speculate that McGreevy was never actually Gotham’s mayor. However, the story itself does seem to present him as a real person and the true mayor of the city.

Seamus McGreevy.

Here’s what I think happened: Since City of Crime takes place shortly before War Games, though it was published after, DC wanted to maintain continuity between titles and had Lapham name his mayor Hull. However, it soon became clear this was impossible. Hull serves as mayor before and after War Games, has a different physical appearance to City of Crime’s mayor, and no other comics give any indication of his involvement with The Body. The end of City of Crime makes it clear that the story’s mayor is not going to win his re-election campaign. Thus, as scripts were coming in, DC had his name changed and made him a distinct character to avoid conflicts with Hull’s post-War Games mayoralty. We can assume that Seamus McGreevy does briefly serve as Gotham City’s mayor, using his influence and contacts within The Body to temporarily displace David Hull from office.

When Batman returned to Gotham City after a year-long sabbatical following the Infinite Crisis storyline, an unnamed woman was serving as mayor, as referenced in Detective Comics #817. We know nothing about her, but there is an obscure clue to her identity: in West End Games’ 2000 Daily Planet Guide to Gotham City, it’s noted that many of Gotham’s mayors (including Armand Krol and Marion Grange) come from the District Attorney’s office. Thus, it’s speculated that Karen Willis – the District Attorney at the time, in the aftermath of No Man’s Land – was potentially on track for the mayor’s office in future elections. It’s unclear if this was a seed planted by DC editorial that never bore fruit, but at any rate, the unnamed female mayor of the One Year Later era could possibly be Karen Willis.

Detective Comics #817.

In Grant Morrison’s Batman run, we start to hear of another male Gotham City mayor, and in the post-Battle for the Cowl “Batman Reborn” comics we finally meet him: Sebastian Hady, as corrupt as they come. His scummy deeds include working with Firefly, trying to frame Jim Gordon for murder, blackmailing his election opponent and cheating on his wife. He is the father of twin girls, one of whom briefly dated Bruce Wayne. In Zero Year, Batman Eternal, and James Tynion’s Detective Comics, Hady was retconned to have been the mayor of Gotham for almost the entirety of Batman’s career in New 52 continuity, despite an earlier reference to Mayor Dickerson. At one point in Batman Eternal, Hady’s first name was inexplicably given as William. In Detective Comics #951, Sebastian Hady is murdered by the League of Shadows.

An iconic Zero Year shot of a Hady campaign billboard.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, otherwise known as the Penguin, served as Gotham’s unofficial “mayor” during the villain takeover of the city in Forever Evil: Arkham War. In Catwoman: Election Night, he also runs for mayor against Constance Hill (they’re both forced out of the race and Hady remains mayor).

In Manslaughter (Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #15-17), Gotham is afflicted by a virus that only affects men. So while the mayor is out of commission, Councilwoman Muir is appointed mayor. She is revealed as the ringleader of the Daughters of Gotham, the group behind the virus, and she is shot and killed by Amanda Waller’s lackeys. In Detective Comics #969, Michael Akins is introduced as Gotham’s mayor in the wake of Sebastian Hady’s death, with Hamilton Hill Jr. serving as deputy. Akins actually served as GCPD commisioner for years following the Officer Down event, up through War Games and Infinite Crisis.

Councilwoman Muir.

Birds of Prey #15-17 were published from October 11 to December 13, 2017. Michael Akins debuted as mayor in Detective Comics #969 (part one of Fall of the Batmen), released November 22, 2017. In that issue, Stephanie Brown (the Spoiler) rejoins the Gotham Knights team, whereas in Manslaughter, Batwoman is rather cold to her and mentions the trouble she’s caused the Knights lately. This suggests that Manslaughter possibly takes place before Fall of the Batmen, meaning the male mayor that Muir replaces could either be Hady or yet another interim mayor. Alternatively, Manslaughter could still be after Fall of the Batmen, where Batwoman isn’t exactly thrilled about Spoiler rejoining the team anyway.

Michael Akins.

(In the Cold Snap story from the latest volume of Batgirl, issues #19-20, a white man with black hair is repeatedly referred to as mayor. Although it’s not explicitly stated, context indicates this may simply be the “mayor” of the Burnside neighborhood, and not of Gotham City itself. It’s also worth noting that a number of comics over the years feature a rotating roster of “mayors” in Gotham’s Chinatown district.)

In Neal Adams’ ostensibly canon Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul, we meet yet another mayor, a man named Atkins. In this series, Damian Wayne and Tim Drake are both active as Robin, meaning it must take place at some point after Akins’ tenure as mayor. (And yes, the similarity of their names is bizarre.) Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul was advertised as tying in to DC’s linewide Year of the Villain event, and follows up on other ostensibly canon work of Adams, namely his Deadman series, which in turn follows Batman: Odyssey. So, Mayor Atkins’ name is added to our list.

The faces of Mayor Atkins.

And finally, the current mayor of Gotham City in DC Comics continuity is a man named Dunch. We meet him and his wife in Batman #86, the inaugural issue of James Tynion IV’s run on that title. Dunch presides over the post-City of Bane Gotham with no explanation as to what happened to Akins or Atkins.

Mayor Dunch, from Batman #86.

Phew!! There you have it. Every mayor of Gotham City who has ever appeared in the mainline, in-continuity comic books. To my knowledge, anyway. And what’s more, solicitations for October issues of Detective Comics tease that another mayoral election will play a part in Batman comics very soon! If any readers know of a mayor I missed, especially from obscure sources like newspaper strips, RPG sourcebooks, or novelizations, please drop a line in the comments and I would love to research it. There are also tons of mayors in alternate-universe comics and multimedia, but that’s a post for another day.

In future timelines peripheral to canon, Winston is mayor of pre-Crisis Earth-2’s Gotham when Bruce Wayne’s daughter Helena operates as Huntress, per Batman Family #20. In the world of Neo-Gotham from Batman Beyond, Clement is mayor (digital chapter #3) before being replaced by William Dusk (Batman Beyond 2.0 #1) until his death, after which Greg Hoffman takes office. And in Dan Jurgens’ canon Batman Beyond series, Gotham’s mayor is none other than Luke Fox, the former Batwing!

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Gotham City’s mayors as much as I’ve enjoyed researching them. It might seem like an obscure and nerdy topic, but I think it’s cool, and makes Batman’s gritty hometown feel like that much more of a real place. The idea that all these people served as Gotham’s mayor in the true story of Batman, and that there’s such a rich history throughout eighty years of comic books, is just fascinating to me. I’m grateful to Collin of The Real Batman Chronology Project for hosting these articles and hopefully more people will get into this kind of stuff. This is PurpleGlovez, signing off. See you next time!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gotham City Mayors (Part 4)

  1. PurpleGlovez says:

    Welp, from the solicitations for December’s Detective Comics #1033: “A landslide victory for anti-vigilante mayoral candidate Christopher Nakano”… hmm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *