DC Comics Universe Cities

DCComicsUnitedStatesColorCoded2

Arrow frequently relocates Starling City.

The first season placed Starling near Seattle because the series is filmed in Vancouver and the two cities have similar terrain. The second season flashed geographic coordinates that depicted Starling City’s airport in northern Wisconsin, somewhere north of Green Bay. Then during a Flash/Arrow crossover in the third season, they said that The Flash ran from Central City to Starling City and that Barry traveled 600 miles to do so. Even if Starling City exists in northern Wisconsin, Barry would still have had to travel more than 600 miles, so there may be a third location for Starling City. But the comics place Green Arrow in Star City and that’s in northern California.

As far as the Golden Age Flash’s home of Keystone City is concerned, it’s located across the Missouri River (in Kansas) and serves as a twin city for Central City, MO. I didn’t include it on the map because that would’ve looked crowded.

Metropolis used to be located near New York City but it got moved to Illinois. Many believe that it’s located in Chicago, and that may be, but DC Comics made a public announcement that the physical Metropolis is the official home of Superman. Perhaps I should’ve put a second Superman logo in northern Illinois to muddy up things further.

At any rate, let’s see how these locations compare in terms of population.

DCComicsCitiesAccordingToPopulation

I guess Smallville’s population is no more than a drop in the bucket when compared with Metropolis. Ba-dum-bump.

Note: Gotham City’s population refers to post-No-Man’s Land arc.

7 thoughts on “DC Comics Universe Cities

    1. Good catch. I should’ve cited my sources for these numbers.

      Our sources for these numbers are DC Comics (www.dccomics.com) and the DC Wikia (http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/DC_Comics)
      I’m sure most of these numbers were off the top of someone’s head when a fan asked them how many people lived in a particular city or town, and they are subject to change.

      Thanks for keeping me honest. I’ll make sure to cite my sources for any figures in the future.

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  1. In a season one episode of the flash he ran into a bay or an ocean so I think central city is San Francisco where keystone is Oakland And starling city based off Portland which puts the distance between the 2 at just above 600 miles.

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    1. Hi, Luke. Thanks for reaching out. I didn’t catch your comment until recently and then I took some time with how to respond. My knee-jerk reaction would be that Arrow and Flash didn’t put much thought into the placement of either city, but that’s not productive, so let’s break it down.

      Starling is just a name (the starling bird has been introduced to most of the United States), so Starling City could be anywhere, and Arrow has moved Starling City around a lot. Portland, Oregon is as good a location as any, so we’ll place Starling City at Portland.

      Keystone and central are geographic designators. Where ever Flash places Keystone City and Central City has to be in the middle of something. My first thought when you mentioned Oakland and San Francisco was that those two cities were in the middle of their respective counties.

      San Fran is about the only thing in San Francisco County, so that works, but Oakland is in the Northwest corner of Alameda County; that doesn’t work as well. So I moved my search out. Perhaps the bay area is the center of the United States’ Pacific Coastline, and it’s pretty close. They’re about 173.5 miles south of where they’d need to be (just north of Shelter Cove, CA), but that’s close enough for government work. This location makes some sense, and it places Central City and Keystone City on a coast.

      But 173.5 miles is still off by quite a bit, and San Fran and Oakland are only that close if we forget about Alaska. We’d be looking at Seattle, or some other location in Washington State, if we included Alaska. But that doesn’t take Hawaii into account either. Midway Island, which is about midway between Hawaii and the continental United States, might be a closer bet to a geographic center of the US’s Pacific Coastline, but that goes down a huge rabbit hole, adds too many qualifiers to the geographic center of the US’s Pacific Coastline, and we lose sight of why Keystone City was called Keystone.

      The name Keystone pays homage to Pennsylvania, the Keystone State. Pennsylvania earned its nickname for several reasons—it was the location of the First Continental Congress, which made it a pivotal state, and it was an economic giant when the United States became a country—but one of the prominent reasons it was dubbed the Keystone State was that it was in the middle of the country at the time; we’re talking original 13 colonies. The DC Comics Universe placed Keystone City around Kansas City, Kansas, and Central City around Kansas City, Missouri because they’re within 40 miles of the geographic center of the contiguous United States.

      I’m not sure what Flash was thinking by placing Central City and Keystone City on a coast. If we want to be very generous, we can claim the bay area as the geographic center of the United States’ Pacific Coast. Or perhaps the show’s writers didn’t put much thought into placing Central City and Keystone City.

      I’m sorry it took me this long to respond to your comment. I wanted to make sure I looked at this issue from multiple angles. There might be one I’m not thinking of at the moment. Knowing me, there probably is. Thanks again for commenting, Luke.

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  2. Hi. In batman vs superman. They were in metropolis when they seen the bat signal in Gothams skyline. So that means they are close. Right?

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    1. Hi, Cathy.

      I haven’t seen Batman v Superman since it was in theaters and I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to see it again—we have a lot of movies and other geekly things on our plate at the moment—so I don’t remember some of the specifics during that scene. I thought Bruce had set up shop in Metropolis before turning on the Bat Signal, but perhaps not. Let’s just say that Supes was in Metropolis when Batman flipped the switch in Gotham City.

      Metropolis and Gotham City have moved around a bit in the DC Comics Universe. The closest they’ve ever been to each other was Philadelphia (Metropolis) and New York City (Gotham City). So if we accept these two locations as the DC Comics Cinematic Universe’s placement of Metropolis and Gotham, these two cities would be 85-95 miles from each other, depending on how you gauged suburbs.

      Superman and Lex were standing atop a tall skyscraper, so let’s say that The Daily Planet Headquarters is as tall as Philadelphia’s Comcast Center. The night was clear, so there weren’t too many clouds or smog. A normal human—like Lex—could see Gotham from Metropolis, especially if what they were looking for was the Bat Signal. Heck, not even smog or clouds would obscure Supes’ vision because he’s Superman.

      I’m not sure if Batman was in Metropolis or not with the Bat Signal, but if he was in Gotham City, it looks as if the DC Comics Cinematic Universe is going with a New York to Philly connection.

      I may have to watch BvS again soon to be sure. Thanks for commenting.

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