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Bruce Wayne has been the Batman for approximately ten years when this series begins (as revealed in the spin-off movie, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)), putting him in his early to mid-30s. As a comic-book character, Batman's first appearance was in DETECTIVE COMICS #27 (May, 1939).
In the book Batman: Animated (written with Chip Kidd) Paul Dini writes: "In rethinking Robin for the animated series, it was our intention that Dick Grayson would be older than the traditional depictions of his character, about twenty, and operating on his own as a solo crime fighter." He has apparently been Batman's partner for 9 years (almost half of his life).
Gotham City is a fictional U.S. port city located on the north-eastern Atlantic coast. It was originally a stand-in for New York City, but has also resembled other crime-ridden urban centers such as Chicago and Detroit. Some sources, including Mayfair Games' authorized (but now out-of-print) Atlas of the DC Universe, have placed Gotham City in the state of New Jersey. Batman: The Animated Series shows Gotham City in New York State on the western tip of Long Island.Christopher Nolan's (director for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) Gotham City is located in the middle of the estuary of the Liberty River, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The river separates most of Gotham from the mainland. The River Merchant divides Uptown from Midtown, while Midtown is separated from Downtown by the Gotham River. The Narrows is a small island in the Gotham River. A creek divides the district of South Hinkley from the rest of Gotham City. Gotham International Airport is in Pettsburg, to the north of the Liberty River estuary.The current DC Universe version of Gotham City is separated from the mainland by the Gotham River, bridged by a series of bridges and tunnels. The east and south sides of Gotham face the Atlantic Ocean. The city is further divided by the Sprang River (named for Dick Sprang) on the northern end and the Finger River (for Bill Finger) to the south. Tiny Blackgate Isle to the south-east is home to Blackgate Maximum Security Penitentiary. (Blackgate is replaced by Stonegate Penitentiary in the animated series "Batman" (1992) and its spin-offs.)
The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane is first mentioned (as Arkham Hospital) in "The Threat of the Two-Headed Coin!" in BATMAN #258 (October 1974) by Dennis O'Neil. The first specific reference to "Arkham Asylum" was in the story "This One'll Kill You, Batman!" also by Dennis O'Neil in BATMAN #260 (February 1975). The name was inspired by the fictitious New England city of Arkham created by H.P. Lovecraft.
In the post-Crisis comics Dick Grayson was 13 years old. In Batman: The Animated Series, Dick was approximately 10 years old when he was orphaned, and maybe 11 when he first became Robin.
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