5 Real-Life Locations From Comic Books

See the destinations that inspired the fictional worlds of some of your favorite superheroes.

By: Ryan Reed

In recent years, comic books have jumped off the pages and onto the big screen with dozens of characters starring in their own feature films. For many though, the (comic) book will always be better than the movie.

Ever since the first modern comic book was released in 1933, readers both young and old have imagined detailed fantasy worlds where superheroes battle evil and save the day. While the writing and illustrations are captivating enough, what if you could actually visit these locations?

It's true that some real-life destinations have never been revealed by their creators, but through hints, interviews with illustrators and others involved in creating these fictional destinations, we can surmise where some of our favorite characters ply their trade.

Batman // Chicago

Aerial view of Chicago.


Aerial view of Chicago.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/marchello74


Throughout comic books, television and movies, Batman has patrolled the streets of Gotham City, perhaps the most famous fictional city ever created. Many assume Gotham is based off New York City, and it’s easy to see why. Both are large cities with some resemblance except for one aspect: Batman does most of his fighting at night in dark alleys, which New York lacks. This is probably why movie director Christopher Nolan chose to film most of the latest Batman trilogy in the Second City instead of the Big Apple.

Wonder Woman // Mediterranean Sea


Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/yoh4nn


First appearing in 1941, Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston, and fans of the character will know she is from Paradise Island, or Themyscira, as it’s also known. The actual location of her hometown is unknown, but given that Wonder Woman is the Princess of the Amazons (a fictional group of people based on Greek mythology), many assume Paradise Island is located somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.

Black Panther // East Africa

Lake Victoria

Photo by: DEA / G. COZZI


Black Panther is a groundbreaking comic book character. First appearing in 1966, Black Panther was the first black superhero from Marvel Comics and with a feature film set to be released in 2018, the popularity of the character is at an all-time high. The fictional city of Wakanda, where Black Panther, aka T’Challa, is from, is said to be the most technologically advanced city of the Marvel universe and according to author Ta-Nehisi Coats, who was offered the opportunity to pen a series of the comic, Wakanda is located in East Africa on the coast of Lake Victoria.

Superman // New York City

View of Manhattan.

New York City

View of Manhattan.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/Predrag Vuckovic

©iStockphoto.com/Predrag Vuckovic

Metropolis, Illinois, might be Superman’s official hometown, but anyone familiar with the comics will tell you that Metropolis is a large city on the east coast most like New York City. Co-creator Joe Shuster designed the skyline after Toronto where he grew up, but in several movies and other adaptations, Metropolis bears a close resemblance to NYC. 

Justice League // Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. skyline.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. skyline.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/SeanPavonePhoto


First appearing in 1960, the Justice League is a group of superheroes that originally consisted of Superman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Batman and Wonder Woman. There have been different members throughout the years and in the 1970s, we learned the crime-fighting crew’s headquarters is in Washington, D.C. If you’re from Ohio, the Justice League HQ may look familiar. Illustrator Al Gmuer modeled the fictional building after the art deco Union Terminal in Cincinnati.

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