Jim Gordon--By the book or Cowboy?

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By  Phil Perich for Before the Bat: The Gotham Podcast



Hi, I thought I’d follow through with what I said last week and convey the story of Commissioner James “Jim” Gordon since Gotham has started to air this last week.  Jim Gordon shares many similarities to Batman.  His first appearance was also Batman’s first appearance, the first panel of the first page of the first Batman story in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939).  So Jim Gordon became the very first Batman supporting character.

Most Batman stories set in the present time depict Jim Gordon as the Commissioner of Police for Gotham City.  In most depictions of the character pre-1986, Jim Gordon is shown to fully trust and almost be dependent on Batman as shown in the comics

 and 1960’s TV series where he was played by actor Neil Hamilton.

In 1987, Writer Frank Miller retold the origins of Batman and Jim Gordon in Batman: Year One (Batman #404-407).  In this story, taking place before Gordon becomes commissioner, Jim Gordon returns to Gotham after years away living in Chicago and working on the Police Force there.  This is around the same time Bruce Wayne is returning to Gotham after his years away traveling the world learning the skills he would need for this mission.  Gordon comes to quickly realize that Batman is his only ally at that time as the Gotham Police Force is drowning in mob controlled corruption.

Unlike earlier versions of the Batman/Gordon team stories, Batman is never a deputized officer of the law and his relationship with Gordon is kept out of the public eye as Batman works from the shadows.  In 1988, Gordon is pushed to his limits when the Joker shoots his daughter Barbara(Batgirl), crippling her and kidnapping Jim Gordon himself.  Even after Batman rescues him, Gordon demands Batman bring the Joker in “by the book”.  This was all depicted in the book Batman: The Killing Joke.

The Batman Gordon dynamic was unique, and never worked when one of them was absent from the equation, like when Jean Paul Valley assumed the Batman identity in 1993-1994 or when Gordon retired after the storyline Officer Down in 2001.

From 1989’s Batman until 1997’s Batman & Robin, the role of Commissioner Gordon was played by actor Pat Hingle.

In Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movie trilogy, The role of James Gordon went to actor Gary Oldman.

In the comic book world, James Gordon’s greatest challenge came from a serial killer who turned out to be his son, James Gordon Jr.

On September 22, 2014, The TV show Gotham debuted on the FOX network.  The show is a Batman prequel starring actor Ben Mckenzie as James Gordon as a rookie cop.  

In the show, Gordon must navigate the crime and corruption of Gotham City and the police force without Batman (Bruce Wayne is only a child and in the first episode sees his parents killed).  He is partnered with Harvey Bullock who skates around, if not outright breaks the rules.

Gotham airs at 8 pm on the FOX network Monday nights.  And for all info on the show, go to www.southgatemediagroup.comand listen to all episodes of Before the Bat: The Gotham Pod cast (or download it anywhere you get Podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, etc.)  That’s it for this week.  Let me know what other Gotham characters you’d like to learn about.  To contact me about this blog or the Before the Bat Podcast, use any of the following:





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Until next week, be good. Remember Batman isn’t the only law and order in Gotham.


Posted on September 30, 2014 .