Beard: Not all of ‘Gotham’ populated by comic charactersWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sept. 22 debut of TV’s “Gotham” introduced both comic fans and interested non-fans to an army of DC Comics’ newest film incarnations of Batman-related characters, with the notable exception of one prominent troop.
Beyond the more recognizable characters like Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, Alfred, the Penguin, Catwoman and the Riddler, the show’s wallpapered with those denizens of the comic pages that wouldn’t necessarily show up on the casual viewer’s radar.
Harvey Bullock, rough-around-the-edges partner to Gordon, first appeared in a 1974 issue of Detective Comics, but perhaps didn’t fully come into his own until the 1989 Michael Keaton Batman film. Also on the list of Gotham’s comic-born police officers is Renee Montoya, a 1992 character, and her partner Crispus Allen, who was introduced in 2000 and then later killed – after death he became the host for the all-powerful Spectre entity.
It may surprise some to learn that Gordon’s fiancée Barbara Kean is actually a 1981 comics-derived character, and not the same character as Barbara Gordon, Jim’s daughter and the heroine Batgirl. Gordon and Bullock’s boss, Captain Sarah Essen, is also a comic character, having been introduced in 1987’s Batman: Year One as a fellow officer with whom Gordon has an extramarital affair.
On the other side of the law, Gotham’s big crime boss, Carmine Falcone, while not a known-name outside of comics has been a heavy hitter in Batman’s backyard since 1987 and nicknamed “The Roman.” Falcone’s currently bedeviling the Caped Crusader in the weekly Batman Eternal comic series. Eagle-eyed viewers looking for true comic characters in the show may also have spotted young Ivy Pepper, whose name and penchant for plants singles her out as the future-villainess Poison Ivy.
So, who’s the one major role in “Gotham” without a comic book foundation? Jada Pinkett Smith’s wily Fish Mooney has no counterpart in Batman’s comic universe; in fact, while our hero has faced many a femme fatale, there have been few lady kingpins of Mooney’s stripe. As with Harley Quinn, the Joker’s moll who made the backwards leap from television to comics, it will be interesting to see if the same will occur with Fish.
Speaking of the Joker: Where is he in the show? Is he the Wayne’s killer? Is he Fish Mooney’s comedian? Well, that’s the joke isn’t it?