Is Metropolis In New York? Examining The Fictional City’S Origins And Location

If you’re a superhero fan, you may have wondered – is Metropolis in New York? This iconic fictional city is most famously associated with Superman comics and films, but its exact location has remained ambiguous over the decades.

The short answer is no, Metropolis is not in New York. Metropolis is most often depicted as being located in the state of Delaware, near Gotham City. However, its location has shifted across various storylines, and it does share some similarities with New York City.

The Origins and Inspiration for Metropolis

Metropolis, the fictional city that often serves as the backdrop for the adventures of Superman, has a rich and fascinating history. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, Metropolis first appeared in Action Comics #16 in 1939.

Over the years, the city has become an iconic symbol of urban life and a reflection of the challenges and triumphs of modern society.

Based on Toronto and Cleveland

The origins of Metropolis can be traced back to the real-life cities of Toronto and Cleveland. Jerry Siegel, a native of Cleveland, drew inspiration from the industrial landscapes and bustling city life he observed in his hometown.

The towering skyscrapers and busy streets of Cleveland served as the foundation for the fictional metropolis.

However, it was Toronto that truly shaped the visual aesthetic of Metropolis. The city’s diverse architecture, with its blend of modern skyscrapers and historic buildings, provided the perfect backdrop for the city of Superman.

From the iconic CN Tower to the Art Deco-inspired Union Station, Toronto’s landmarks can be seen reflected in the fictional cityscape of Metropolis.

Art Deco Architectural Influences

One of the defining features of Metropolis is its distinct Art Deco architectural style. This design choice was heavily influenced by the popular Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s. The sleek lines, geometric shapes, and ornate details of Art Deco can be seen in the skyscrapers, bridges, and other structures that make up the city.

The use of Art Deco in Metropolis not only adds to its visual appeal but also serves as a reflection of the time period in which it was created. The Art Deco movement was associated with progress, modernity, and optimism, all of which are themes that resonate with the story of Superman and his mission to protect and inspire.

Naming the City

The name “Metropolis” itself carries great significance. Derived from the Greek word “metropolis,” which means “mother city,” it symbolizes the idea of a central hub, a place where people come together to build a better future.

This name perfectly encapsulates the role that Metropolis plays in the Superman mythos, as a city that attracts people from all walks of life and serves as a beacon of hope.

The creation of Metropolis and its evolution over the years is a testament to the power of imagination and storytelling. It is a city that exists only on the pages of comic books and in the minds of fans, but its impact and influence are very real.

Where is Metropolis Located?

Metropolis, the iconic city that serves as the backdrop for Superman’s adventures, has been a subject of curiosity for many fans. While it is a fictional city, its location has been a topic of debate and speculation over the years.

Let’s take a closer look at the different interpretations of Metropolis’ location.

Delaware in the Comics

In the original DC comics, Metropolis was located in Delaware. This decision was made by Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who both hailed from Cleveland, Ohio. They chose Delaware as the city’s fictional location to pay homage to their home state.

Metropolis in the comics is often depicted as a bustling metropolis with towering skyscrapers, similar to New York City. However, its actual location is firmly established as being in Delaware.

New York in Films and TV

When it comes to film and television adaptations, Metropolis has often been portrayed as being located in New York City. This change in location was likely made to appeal to a wider audience and take advantage of the iconic status of the Big Apple.

In movies like “Superman: The Movie” (1978) and TV shows like “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (1993-1997), Metropolis is unmistakably depicted as a city that closely resembles New York City.

The filmmakers and producers wanted to create a sense of familiarity for viewers and capitalize on the city’s well-known landmarks.

A Shifting Location

Interestingly, the location of Metropolis has shifted multiple times throughout the history of Superman’s adaptations. In some versions, it is even suggested that Metropolis is located on the East Coast of the United States, somewhere between New York and Boston.

This shifting location can be attributed to creative decisions made by different writers, directors, and producers over the years. While the precise location of Metropolis may vary, its essence as a bustling, vibrant city remains constant.

Metropolis and New York City Parallels

When it comes to the fictional city of Metropolis, many people wonder if it is based on or located in New York City. While Metropolis is often associated with the bustling metropolis of New York, it is important to understand the origins and distinctions between the two.

Let’s explore the parallels between Metropolis and New York City.

Urban Landscapes

One of the most striking similarities between Metropolis and New York City is their urban landscapes. Both cities are characterized by towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and a vibrant energy. The architecture and cityscape depicted in Metropolis are reminiscent of the iconic skyline of New York City, with its famous landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

However, it is worth noting that Metropolis is not a direct portrayal of New York City. It is a fictional city that exists within the DC Comics universe, created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in 1938.

While it may draw inspiration from real-life cities like New York, Metropolis stands on its own as a unique fictional location.

Daily Planet vs New York Times

Another interesting parallel between Metropolis and New York City lies in their respective newspapers. In the world of Metropolis, the Daily Planet is the city’s leading newspaper, where Clark Kent (aka Superman) and Lois Lane work as journalists.

This bears resemblance to the real-life New York Times, one of the most renowned newspapers in the world.

While the Daily Planet is a fictional publication, it mirrors the influence and significance of the New York Times in the realm of journalism. Both newspapers play a crucial role in their respective cities, reporting on important news and providing a platform for investigative reporting.

Heroes and Villains

Metropolis, much like New York City, is no stranger to heroes and villains. The city is home to the iconic superhero Superman, who fights against various villains, including Lex Luthor. This dynamic between hero and villain is a recurring theme in both Metropolis and the world of comic books in general.

Similarly, New York City has been a backdrop for countless superhero stories, with Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man swinging through its streets and battling foes like the Green Goblin. This connection between Metropolis and New York City in terms of their superhero narratives adds another layer of parallelism between the two cities.

While there are undeniable parallels between Metropolis and New York City, it is important to remember that Metropolis is ultimately a work of fiction. It may draw inspiration from real-life cities, but it exists as a unique and distinct entity in the realm of comic books and popular culture.

The Importance of Metropolis for Superman

Metropolis holds a significant role in the Superman universe, as it serves as the fictional city where the superhero operates and protects its citizens. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, Metropolis was first introduced in Action Comics #16 in 1939.

Over the years, it has become an essential part of Superman’s identity and has played a crucial role in his adventures.

An Idealized American City

Metropolis is often portrayed as an idealized American city, representing hope, progress, and the pursuit of the American Dream. It is a bustling metropolis with towering skyscrapers, busy streets, and a diverse population.

The city embodies the idea of a modern and thriving urban center, symbolizing the potential of human achievement and progress.

With its gleaming architecture and vibrant energy, Metropolis reflects the optimism and ambition of its residents. It is a city where innovation, technology, and culture flourish, making it a focal point for various industries, including media, finance, and research.

Its role as a global hub of commerce and innovation highlights its significance in the Superman mythos.

Contrasting Gotham City

Metropolis stands in stark contrast to Gotham City, the fictional city associated with Batman. While Gotham is often depicted as dark, gritty, and crime-ridden, Metropolis is portrayed as a beacon of light and progress.

This stark contrast emphasizes the different approaches and personalities of the two iconic superheroes.

Where Batman fights the darkness and corruption that plagues Gotham, Superman stands as a symbol of hope and inspiration in Metropolis. The city’s bright aesthetic and optimistic tone provide a perfect backdrop for Superman’s heroic deeds, highlighting his role as a beacon of hope and justice.

A City to Protect

Metropolis serves as the backdrop for countless battles between Superman and his adversaries, showcasing the city’s importance as a place that constantly needs protection. From supervillains like Lex Luthor and General Zod to various threats from outer space, the city is frequently under attack, and it is Superman’s duty to defend it.

Superman’s unwavering commitment to Metropolis and its inhabitants has made the city synonymous with his heroic exploits. The citizens of Metropolis look up to Superman as their protector, and he is always ready to defend them, even at great personal cost.


While Metropolis has drawn inspiration from New York City over the years, in most comic storylines it exists as its own fictional East Coast city, separate from NYC. Its location may vary, but Metropolis remains an integral part of the Superman mythos – a shining urban symbol of hope and progress he calls home.

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