Gotham City Mayors (Part 2)

Alright, so now that we’ve looked at Gotham City’s mayors during the early years of the post-Crisis Batman’s career, we’re gonna take a look at mayors who appeared in pre-Crisis comic books between 1942 and 1980. To be honest, I’m kind of dreading making this post because there were a lot of appearances of Gotham mayors during this time with absolutely no consistency. I won’t be posting pictures of all of them because this post would just be way too long. Anyway, here we go…

The first mayor of Gotham depicted in a comic appeared in two stories in 1942’s Batman #12, as well as a story in Detective Comics #68. (Don’t get used to that level of consistency.) He was a caricature of New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The next unnamed mayor was an overweight man who appears to be bald under his top hat, from Batman #29. Next, an unnamed mayor with brown hair, a mustache, and glasses appeared in Batman #30.

The first named mayor of Gotham appeared in Detective Comics #121. Well, he’s not technically named; his son, Chadwick Carfax, is. Thus, we know that this is Mayor Carfax, a white-haired mustachioed man with glasses.After that, a balding man with brown hair and a monocle over his left eye appears as mayor in the Riddler’s debut story in Detective Comics #140. In Star-Spangled Comics #94, a balding man with dark hair and a mustache is mayor. In Batman #54, the mayor has dark hair and no facial hair; his head is covered by a top hat.

In Detective Comics #166, an ex-convict named John Gillen is working as a circus performer called “The Man With a Million Faces”. He transforms into the visage of Gotham City’s mayor: an older slim man with white hair. In Star-Spangled Comics #113, yet another nondescript mayor (with dark hair and no facial hair) appears in a top hat. In Batman #66, the infamous story of the Joker’s “boner” crimes features an elderly mayor with balding white hair and glasses. In Detective Comics #179, we get our second named mayor: Bradley Stokes. He runs a program where Gotham citizens can be “mayor for a week” during his vacations; named participants include Thomas Mays and Bruce Wayne. I wonder if we can use this program as a handy explanation for some of the mayoral inconsistency in this era…?

In World’s Finest Comics #69, we meet Mayor Sheppard, who frantically calls Commissioner Gordon as a psycho named Tom Beckett bursts into his office and threatens to blow up City Hall. In Batman #85, we learn that a man named Alan Dent is running for mayor; we never actually see him and he is never mentioned again. But, it’s theoretically possible (though purely conjecture) that Alan could in fact be any of the unnamed mayors who appear around this time. Two issues later in Batman #87, a mayor appears, a balding cigarette-chomping man. The mayor in Batman #91 appears to be identical to him.

In World’s Finest Comics #76, the mayor appears alongside City Hall in trying to convince a science convention to meet in Gotham instead of Metropolis. He has gray hair and glasses. In Batman #102, the mayor appears with a full head of dark hair and a dapper mustache. The mayor in Detective Comics #245 is a jowled man free of facial hair; the top of his head is obscured by a hat, but he looks plausibly similar to the man in Batman #87 and 91. (At this point I should note that, to account for the mayor’s varying appearances, it’s possible some of these stories actually take place out of sequence from when they were published.)

In Batman #120, the mayor appears to have white hair and seems a little overweight. The mayor in Detective Comics #277 bears a remarkable resemblance to World’s Finest #69’s Mayor Sheppard. In Batman #149, the mayor is a slim man with white hair, depicted both with and without a mustache. In World’s Finest Comics #140, it’s hard to make out the mayor’s features but he is a slim man who may have dark hair and possibly a mustache. The mayor in Detective Comics #330 is an older gentleman with white hair, glasses and a mustache. In The Brave and the Bold #59, a slightly overweight, balding mayor appears; vaguely similar to the man from Batman #87, et al. In Batman #173, the mayor has white hair and a mustache, and quite the shiny bald head.

The mayor in Brave and the Bold #67 is a nondiscrepant man with brown hair. A mayor appears in Batman #186 but it is impossible to make out his features. In Detective Comics #375, Mayor Taylor is mentioned, but not shown; as such, he could be any of the unnamed mayors who appear around this time. In Brave and the Bold #78, the mayor is another generic man with a top hat, and in Batman #207, we meet Mayor Hayes, a balding man with dark hair. In Brave and the Bold #81, the mayor has a head of black hair with white temples. Brave and the Bold #89 features a mayor of indistinct appearance with his back to the reader. In Brave and the Bold #94, the mayor appears alongside city council as a younger man with brown hair. In Brave and the Bold #102, he’s a fatter balding man with a mustache. In issue #105, this mayor appears again.

The next mayor is a bit of a head-scratcher. In Batman #245, two political bosses, Bilker and Harvey, are running candidates for mayor in the election. Bruce Wayne previously supported Harvey’s candidate before switching sides to Bilker’s man, MacCutcheon, whose face we see on a billboard. However, Batman exposes a plot by Bilker to frame Harvey for murder, and supposedly cinches the election for Harvey’s candidate. A few months later in Detective Comics #433, we meet another mayor of Gotham City: a blonde man who looks extraordinarily similar to MacCutcheon! So what gives? It could just be a man with an uncanny resemblance… or, it’s possible Harvey’s candidate didn’t win after all, and MacCutcheon was ignorant of Bilker’s plot, exonerating himself with the help of Batman and Bruce Wayne. But this is purely conjecture on my part.

World’s Finest Comics #218 features an orange-haired mayor who is threatened with blackmail over a kickback scandal by a villain named Capricorn. However, Capricorn seemingly dies before he makes good on any of his blackmail threats… thus, it’s unknown if the public ever learns about this scandal. In Brave and the Bold #113, a new mayor is sworn in, a young man with blonde/dandelion hair who briefly retires Batman and replaces him with the Metal Men. This could plausibly be the same mayor from Detective #433 and World’s Finest #218, if we assume this issue took place before those stories. Alternatively, it could be a separate person.

In the David Reed-scripted Batman #270, 275, and 283, an older, white-haired mayor appears. In the Christmastime Brave and the Bold #148, the mayor has orange hair and a thick mustache, while issue #150 clearly features the same mayor from issues #102 and #105. In Super Friends #22, what appears to be the same mustachioed mayor from Brave and the Bold #148 appears. In World’s Finest Comics #260, the mayor is a clean-shaven man with gray hair, while in issue #262, the mayor has white temples and a mustache. In Detective Comics #490, the mayor has orange-brown hair and a thick mustache, similar to the man from B&B #148 and Super Friends.

Well, that’s all the mayors I’m covering in this post. As you can see, there was no consistency whatsoever for many decades in depicting Gotham’s mayoral office. In-universe explanations of weight loss, weight gain, shaving, hair dye, wigs, and toupes (as well as out-of-sequence issues) can all theoretically be used to condense these mayors into a smaller number of people and explain their differing appearances. But in reality, the fact is that DC just didn’t care to keep it straight. Interestingly, it’s clear that a few artists did draw the mayor with consistency between different comic book issues, but this was a rarity.

Miraculously, things did start to get consistent under Gerry Conway’s pen in the early 80s with a certain character named Hamilton Hill. We’ll talk about him and other mayors in the next post!

Part 1: 

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2 Responses to Gotham City Mayors (Part 2)

  1. PurpleGlovez says:

    Comic Cavalcade #20 (April 1947) and All-Star Comics #35 (June 1947), tales of Alan Scott’s Green Lantern, both feature an unnamed mayor of Gotham City: a slightly chubby man with white hair, a mustache, and glasses. The previous appearance of a mayor in Batman titles was Detective #121 (March 1947)’s Mayor Carfax. Remarkably, Carfax looks almost identical to these men except for the weight. Perhaps we can assume he started stress-eating after that fiasco with his son and put on some weight.

  2. PurpleGlovez says:

    1947’s Green Lantern #24 features the mayor of Gotham City in flashback to his dedication of a new police building in the year 1920. Two mayors of Green Lantern’s previous hometown, Capitol City, were depicted before this in All-American Comics #31 (John Logan) and #34 (Kastor). Although Secret Origins #18 has Alan Scott active in Metropolis early in his career (in reference to All-American #17), I am hard-pressed to find a reference to Capitol City in post-Crisis canon. At least one source (Daily Planet Guide to Gotham City) has Alan active in Gotham in 1940. So it’s anyone’s guess as to whether Logan and Kastor constitute honorary Gotham mayors.

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