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Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (who becomes The Penguin) - In the comics he was portrayed as short and portly, and he is known for his love of birds and his specialized high-tech umbrellas. A mobster and thief, who called himself a "gentleman of crime;" his nightclub business "The Iceberg Lunge" provides a cover for criminal activity, which Batman sometimes uses as a source of criminal underworld information. According to The Penguins co-creator Bob Kane the inspiration for character came from then advertising mascot of Kool cigarettes a penguin with a top hat and cane. The Penguins other co-creator Bill Finger drew him as a high-society gentlemen in tuxedos because he was reminded of the look of emperor penguins.
Selina Kyle (who becomes Catwoman, in a nod to this she is nicknamed "Kat") - In the original comics she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts. In the Batman Year One comics she worked as a dominatrix in order to survive but wants to break away from her abusive pimp (and former boyfriend). She witnesses his crimes and, because of an event that occurs to her sister (Holly Robinson), fears for her sister's life and begins to study self-defense and martial arts. Her teacher inspires Selina to become more than what she has been and she realizes that prostitution is no life for her, or for Holly.
Edward Nygma (who becomes The Riddler) - In "Gotham" Edward Nygma works for the GCPD as a forensics technician who presents his evidence results as riddles. He is then mocked and abused by his colleges until he snaps and becomes a criminal. In the comics Nygmas real last name was Nashton and he never worked for the GCPD at all. His criminal career began sooner when in school a teacher announces that a contest will be held over who can solve a puzzle the fastest. Edward sets his sights on winning this, craving the glory and satisfaction that will come with the victory. He sneaks into the school one night, takes the puzzle out of the teacher's desk, and practices it until he is able to solve it in under a minute. As predicted, he wins the contest and is given a book about riddles as a prize. His cheating rewarded, Edward embraced the mastery of puzzles of all kinds, changing his last name to Nygma (as in E. Nygma) and becoming a carnival employee who excelled at cheating his customers out of their money with his bizarre puzzles and mind games. He soon finds himself longing for greater challenges and thrills, and doned the guise of the "The Riddler" to challenge the crime-fighter Batman, believing him to be a worthy adversary.
Ivy Pepper (later renamed Pamela) is a younger depiction of Poison Ivy. - In the comic books her real name is Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, Ph.D., a botanist, environmentalist and echo terrorist.
Harvey Dent (who will become the villain Two-Face) - In "Gotham" he is an Assistant District Attorney for Gotham City. He forms an alliance with Detective James Gordon, and helps investigate the murders of Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne and the secrets of the corrupt Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb. In the comics he starts of in his first appearances as the youngest District Attorney to ever serve Gotham City at age of 26. Also in the comics he had childhood, as he grew up under the parentage of an abusive and mentally-ill father, and started to develop repressed mental illnesses of his own, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. His hard work ethic, however, earned him the nickname "Apollo" and allowed him rise through the ranks of Gotham City District Attorney's office where he became the D.A for Gotham City, 6 months before Bruce Wayne became Batman. He obsessively makes all important decisions by flipping a two-headed coin, one side defaced. Harvey received the coin from his father, who would then employ the coin in a perverse nightly "game" that always ended with a beating. This would instill in Dent his lifelong struggle with free will and his eventual inability to make choices on his own, relying on the coin to make all of his decisions. Examples of the coin deciding Harvey's decisions are In "Gotham" where he flips the coin to decide whether to prosecute a juvenile. In the comics book story "The Long Halloween" Dent forged an alliance with the pair to rid Gotham of crime boss Salvatore 'Sal' Vincent "The Boss" Maroni, and Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, with the former murdered by the latter's son. Gordon also speculated that Dent might have been Batman, but dismissed this theory on grounds that Dent lacked Batman's financial resources. Falcone hires the corrupt Assistant District Attorney Vernon Fields to provide Sal Maroni with Sulfuric acid to disfigure Dent. This causes Dent to have phycotic break and with half his face disfigured he took up the identity of Two-Face. Eventually Two-Face took revenge on Fields and Falcone, and was eventually incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, but like most of the villain's sent there he made lots of come backs.
Some modifications and nods have been made to characters in the comics.
Barbara Eileen Keen - She was adapted into a villain for the series. Edit
It's a long story so here goes....
After the success of the Superhero Superman, artist Bob Kane tried to come up with his own hero "The Bat-Man" he then asked for writer Bill Finger's assistance on the project. Finger rejected several of Kane's initial ideas about the character and suggested several changes in design and characterization.
Kane marketed the "Batman" character to National Comics, and Batman's first story was published in "Detective Comics" #27 (May 1939). The script was written by an uncredited Finger, making him the first of many ghost writers to work on comics officially credited to Bob Kane. When Kane negotiated a contract about selling the rights to the "Batman" character, he claimed he was the sole creator of the character and demanded a sole mandatory byline on all Batman comics and adaptations thereof, acknowledging him as the creator. Out of fairness, Kane agreed to pay Finger his share with money out of his earnings. Unfortunately, the agreement was never put into writing, and Finger never saw a cent.
Finger would go on to ghost write Batman stories up into the mid 1960's, either with Kane or for DC Comics directly. During his writing tenure, Finger was responsible for the unaccredited creation of many key players and pieces in the Batman universe. Some of Finger's important contributions include Batman's origin story, his civilian identity Bruce Wayne, which Finger named after Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland and general Anthony "Mad Anthony" Wayne. He came up with a civilian identity for the character as "Bruce Wayne", which Finger named after Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland and general Anthony "Mad Anthony" Wayne. He also came up with his nickname "The Dark Knight," his sidekick Robin, the Batmobile, the Batcave, his arch-nemesis The Joker, and his occasional love interest Catwoman, as well as Commissioner Gordon, The Riddler and The Scarecrow. Despite all of this, the only writing credit that Finger received for Batman in his lifetime were two episode of Batman (1966), The Clock King's Crazy Crimes (1966) and The Clock King Gets Crowned (1966) which he co-wrote with friend Charles Sinclair.
Eventually, the truth did come out. Finger attended the first official New York Comic Con in 1965 and sat on a panel with other comic book creators where he revealed the role he played in Batman's creation. Finger's story gained exposure in a two-page article titled "If the truth be known, or a Finger in every plot!," written and distributed by pop culturist Jerry Bails. Kane caught wind of Finger's appearance not long after and replied in the form of a printed letter to Batman fan magazine, "Batmania," where he labeled his old friend a fraud. Finger, who by this time was deeply in debt, continued to write for various projects in and outside of comic books until his death in 1974, when he was found alone in his apartment by friend Charles Sinclair. Finger died penniless and his contributions to the character was never acknowledged in his lifetime.
However, after the popularity of Tim Burton's Batman (1989), Kane acknowledged Finger as "a contributing force" in the character's creation, and wrote in his 1989 autobiography "Batman and Me" that "Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero ... I often tell my wife, if I could go back fifteen years, before he died, I would like to say. 'I'll put your name on it now. You deserve it.'"
Many failed attempts were made over the years by Finger's family to get him recognition for his work, including a request from his second wife Lyn Simmons to have his name listed in the credits of Tim Burton's Batman (1989).
Finger remained largely unknown, even to Batman fans, until writer Marc Tyler Nobleman began investigating the late author's life for a book being written about him called "Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman". Nobleman went in search of Finger's family to help fill in the gaps and give him credit. While Finger's autopsy report claimed no relatives were present, Nobleman discovered that Finger had a son, Fred.
Unfortunately, Fred, who was an outspoken proponent of his father, had died in 1992. Nobleman learned that Fred was also homosexual, leading him to believe that Fred had no children before his death. The trail was starting to go cold.
However, after receiving new information from Finger's nephew, Nobleman discovered Fred indeed had a daughter, Athena Finger, who was born two years after Finger's death. Nobleman met with Athena and convinced her to meet with DC about getting recognition for her grandfather. DC in turn welcomed Athena with open arms, cut her a check and invited her to the premiere of The Dark Knight (2008) with all expenses paid. It wasn't until around 2012 that DC offered her more money. This time, however, she had to sign away her rights to her grandfather's claim. With encouragement from Nobleman, Athena rejected the money and took DC to court. It took years of litigation before a settlement was reached. A major turning point in the case was the unearthing of recorded interviews with Bob Kane during the writing of his autobiography. During one of the interviews, Tom Andrae, Kane's co-writer, asked Kane to what extent Finger contributed to Batman's creation. "Bill was responsible for 50 to 75 percent," Kane bluntly responded.
Finally, in September 2015, DC issued a statement informing the public that Finger would be listed as co-creator on any piece of Batman media henceforth. Starting with the superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and the second season of Gotham (2014), an updated acknowledgement for the character appeared as "Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger".
Finger's story was later used as the subject of the Hulu original documentary, Batman & Bill (2017). Edit
Victor Zsasz - In the comics Zsasz was a rich man who was head of his own company. He became even richer when he's parents died in an accident but he turned to gambling and lost his money to Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (aka The Penguin), who was clearly cheating. He then tried to kill himself by jumping from a Gotham Bridge but is stopped by a mugger who tries to assault him, Victor grabs the knife and stabs the man. Feeling a high from doing it and a new purpose in his life he becomes a serial killer who puts tally marks in his arm for every person he kills. In "Gotham" heis a hitman working for Carmine Falcone and is always accompanied by two unnamed females. Just like his comic book counterpart he carves a tally mark into his skin for every person he killed. In Season 2, Zsasz loyalties change to the Penguin ever since Carmine Falcone retired, which is ironic as he's actions in the comics created Zsasz.
Thomas "Tommy" Elliot, who will later become the villain Hush. - Is seen as a young kid who bullies Bruce in the episode "The Mask" only for Alfred to train Bruce how to fight and beat up the bully. In the comics the two boys were actually best friends and played a strategy game that helped Bruce when he became Batman. Tommy's father was an abusive man and his mother only stayed with him because she came from poverty and did not want to leave that life. He then tried to kill his parents in a car accent by cutting the brake lines but his mother survived thanks to surgery done by Bruce's father Thomas Wayne, which caused friction between Bruce and himself. Soon she tried cutting him out of his inheritance, only for Tommy to murder her in a staged accident. Inhering the family fortune he trained to become a surgeon, but still harbored a grudge against the Wayne family who had since died. He became the villain Hush started to carve up peoples faces using his surgeon skills and turned his own face into that of Bruce Waynes
Jonathan Crane (who will become The Scarecrow) - The teenaged son of Gerald Crane a scientist who experiments on people with fears. In the comics Jonathan Crane was a professor of psychology and psychiatry, he used a variety of fear-enhancing drugs, toxins, and psychological warfare tactics to exploit the fears and phobias of his adversaries. The Scarecrow was one of Batman's most enduring enemies, and belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up his rogues gallery.
Gerald Crane (Scarecrow's father) - In the comics Gerald first appeared in Year One: Batman/Scarecrow #2 but wasn't a villain and was absent from Jonathan's life. Jonathan as Scarecrow, later attempted to murder his father, however, he was stopped by Batman. In Batman Vol 2 #1 which was part of the New 52 reboot continuity Jonathan's father Dr. Crane was portrayed as a villain who experimented on his son and locked him in a small dark room. Mr. Crane suffered a heart attack and died, which left his son trapped inside the dark test chamber and wasn't discovered until days later by the cops when Dr. Crane's disappearance was reported.
Electrocutioner - Called Jack Buchinsky in Gotham. In the comics, there have been many incarnations of the villain Electrocutioner. The first one's name is unrevealed, while the third one is the original's brother named Lester Buchinsky. Having only the same last name indicates that Jack is probably based on the former.
Red Hood - A gang member in the Red Hood Gang in the series. In the comics one of the most popular origins for the Joker was that he was the Red Hood and in the Red Hood Gang and was accidentally knocked into a vial of chemicals by Batman, turning him into the Joker. (Note: The Red Hood Gang's first robbery in there debut on Gotham is similar to both the films The Dark Knight (The masked men coming using a vehicle) and Batman 1989 (Jack Napier throwing money at the people and them going mad for it) both involving The Joker.
Eduardo Flamingo - A psychopathic cannibal and hitman in Gotham whilst In the Comics, Eduardo Flamingo is a supervillain known as "The Flamingo".
Dr. Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze)
Dr. Hugo Strange
Basil Karlo, the man who used Gordon's face to infiltrate the GCPD (Clayface)
Jervis Tetch (The Mad Hatter)
Bruce Wayne's Doppelganger (Batzarro)
Deever Tweed (Tweedle Dee) and Dumfree Tweed (Tweedle Dum), the wrestlers hired by Jervis Tetch
Carmine "The Roman" Falcone
Salvatore 'Sal' Vincent "The Boss" Maroni
GCPD Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb
Some modifications and nods have been made to characters in the comics.
Jerome Valeska is a nod towards Batman's arch-nemesis and most prominent villain The Joker and has a similar persona to the character. He is described as the "Proto-Joker". Other hints to the Joker appear, such as copycats who are inspired by Jerome's madness.
Richard Sionis is partially based off Roman Sionis, the Black Mask. It is unknown if Richard is related to a Roman in the series' continuity. Edit
Wayne Manor Residents: Bruce Thomas Wayne , who ends up becoming Batman at the end of the series. In the first episode we also see his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne - In this version of the Batman mythos Bruce's parents might have been killed for looking into illegal activities at Wayne Enterprises and not a random mugging like in some of the comics.
Loyal Butler Alfred Pennyworth - In the original comics he was originally called Alfred Beagle and was conceived as a comedic foil for Batman and Robin. In most early tales, he made bungling attempts to be a detective on a par with the young masters. He was given a four-page feature of his own, and the feature lasted thirteen issues, skipping Batman #35, with the last story in Batman #36. The stories followed a simple formula, with Alfred solving a crime and catching the culprits entirely by accident. In later years, the comedic aspects of the character were downplayed. Alfred was renamed Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth and was established as a retired actor and intelligence agent who followed the deathbed wish of his dying father Jarvis Pennyworth to carry on the tradition of serving the Wayne family. To that end, Alfred introduced himself to Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson at Wayne Manor and insisted on becoming their butler. Although the pair did not want one, especially since they did not want to jeopardize their secret identities with a servant in the house, they did not have the heart to reject Alfred. That night, Alfred awoke to moaning and followed the sound to the secret door to the staircase to the Batcave and met his would be employers in their superhero identities (Wayne had been injured while out in the field). As it turned out, the wounds were actually insignificant, but Alfred's care convinced the residents that their butler could be trusted. Since then, Alfred included the support staff duties of the Dynamic Duo on top of his regular tasks. Alfred's appearance has also changed from his first appearance in the comics where he was overweight and clean-shaven; this changed however, when the 1943 Batman serial was released, where William Austin, the actor who played Alfred, was trim and sported a thin moustache. DC editors wanted the comic Alfred to resemble his cinematic counterpart, so in Detective Comics #83 (January 1944), Alfred vacationed at a health resort, where he slimmed down and grew a mustache. This look has remained with the character ever since, even surviving his "death" and resurrection. Modern Adaptations of the character show that he was always the Wayne Family Butler and has been with Bruce the entirety of Bruce's life. In addition Alfred also looked after all the Robins in the Bat-family (including Richard John "Dick" Grayson, Jason Peter Todd and Timothy Jackson "Tim" Drake).
G.C.P.D Support: Future Police Commissioner James Worthington "Jim" Gordon, Sr. - In the original comics he was always Commissioner and shared Batman's deep commitment to ridding the city of crime. In Golden and Silver Age Comics and on the 1960s Batman television show, he fully trusts, and is even somewhat dependent on Batman. In most modern stories, he is somewhat skeptical of Batman's vigilante methods, but nevertheless believes that Gotham needs him. The two have a mutual respect and tacit friendship. In the comic book story"Batman Year One" Gordon came from Chicago and started of as a Lieutenant, who was partnered with corrupt Detective Arnold John Flass (who would later appear in the series). Just like in this series Gordon was portrayed as the only cop not on the mob take.
Detective Harvey Bullock - In the Comics Bullock did not appear until later in the timeline and in one version of the comics was a corrupt police detective under instructions from then Gotham City's Mayor Hamilton Hill to sabotage Commissioner Gordon's career as he was stepping on the wrong peoples toes. He eventually turned over a new leaf and became one of Gordon's biggest supporters.
Captain Sarah Essen - In the comics she was not corrupt (unlike "Gotham" where due to threats to her family she has to look the other way to the mob) and was having an affair with Lieutenant James Gordon who was married to Barbara Eileen Gordon at the time. After Gordon confessed to the affair she moved to New York and later came back to Gotham after Gordon was made Commissioner. The two start a relationship again, Gordon having long since divorced, and the pair soon marries, only for her to be later killed by the criminal The Joker.
Detective Renee Maria Montoya (who will later become The Question) - Originally conceived for the 1992 "Batman: The Animated Series". Montoya was later adapted to the comics where she was partnered with Detective Harvey Bullock and then, after Bullocks promotion to Lieutenant, Detective Cripus Allen. She was good friends with them both and was a long standing detective on the GCPD. Montoya was selected by The Question (Vic Sage) to pass on his guidance. Later Renee resigns from the police force, disgusted by its corruption and after the death of Vic Sage death, Montoya took up the "Question" identity to become his successor.
Detective Crispus Allen (who will become The Spectre) - In the comics Allen was killed by a corrupt CSI called Jim Corrigan who subsequently got off for the crime (this injustice is what forced his partner Reene Montoya to quit the force). While Allen's body is in the morgue, the Presence forces the Spectre to accept Allen as his new host.
Others: Dr. Leslie Maurin Thompkins - In "Gotham" she and Gordon are in a relationship and she worked at Arkham Asylum and for the GCPD as mortician. In the comics she was a close friend and medical colleague of Dr. Thomas Wayne and Leslie served as a surrogate mother figure to his son Bruce after the wayne's were murdered, and later becomes a confidant in his crusade as Batman. In addition to being one of Batman's allies, Leslie is also a renowned medical professional who has dedicated her considerable skills toward helping Gotham City's less fortunate. Also, she has been romantically linked to Butler Alfred Pennyworth on more than one occasion. In the comics, unlike "Gotham", she and Jim Gordon are hardly seen together.
Lucius Fox - In the comics Lucius was introduced to Bruce Wayne later on in the timeline. Bruce made him CEO and President of Wayne Enterprises and the Wayne Foundation, he is also one of Bruce Wayne's closest allies. He's a shrewd and experienced businessman, entrepreneur, and inventor who takes pride in developing weapons, gadgets, vehicles, and armor for Bruce Wayne's alter-ego Batman. He was first called in to the failing Wayne Enterprises and brings a balance to both Bruce Wayne's private and business finances. Edit
According to actor Robin Lord Taylor, producers are not establishing the series' time period. It is, however, visually influenced by the late '70s and early '80s in New York, although, the use of cellphones indicates a time period of late 90's or early 00's. Most of the vehicles on the show are models from the 70's and 80's. Though some of the vehicles, technology, and attire give Gotham a 50's vibe, the only anomaly are the use of cellphones and some of the music.
In the episode "The Blind Fortune Teller" it is mentioned a family feud has been going on for 3 generations, in which it began just before World War I. 60-75 years since circa 1914, thus placing the timeline around the 1970s to 1980s.
Similar time discrepancies are common in the DC Comics source material where it all exists in "Hypertime", an eternal present. This is done to keep universal appeal and prevent it from seeming dated. Comic books set in the "Universe" where Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman etc. live, have modern settings for both stories set in "Batman's 1st year" and stories set in "Batman's 11th year," for example. It is simply a convention that these characters are chronologically ambiguous. Edit