Geek Beat #21: Commissioner Gordon & the Bat-Signal

Geek Beat #21: Commissioner Gordon & the Bat-Signal

First appearance: Detective Comics #27
Creator: Bill Finger, Bob Kane
Alliance: Batman, Batgirl

First appearing in Detective Comics #27, Commissioner Gordon is a mainstay of every Batman appearance and iteration and holds the honor as the first supporting character introduced. As one of Batman's closest allies alongside Alfred, Gordon consistently lent him moral support, logistical knowledge, and assistance. This includes shining the Bat Signal not only to summon Batman, but to instill fear in criminals. Honest with a strong moral compass, Gordon’s first iteration is presented as wary and a little suspicious of Batman’s methods, worried that Batman’s vigilantism will disrupt the inner workings of the Gotham City Police Department and cause the department to appear inefficient. Gordon’s character will later evolve, with Gordon accepting, assisting, and even deputizing Batman for the safety of Gotham.

While the many Batman timelines somewhat change Gordon's character, the police commissioner of Gotham does have some consistencies across all versions of Batman. Born James Worthington Gordon, Gordon served in the United States Marine Corps in early adulthood before becoming a Gotham police detective. Gordon's appreciation for Batman's methods is illustrated in his refusal to discover Batman's real identity out of fear that it will disrupt their partnership and make Batman less effective in his duties. Gordon is also father to two children: Barbara, the first Batgirl and supervillain James Gordon Jr.

Commissioner Gordon's tool of choice to summon Batman is the Bat-Signal. The Bat-Signal first made its appearance in Detective Comics #60 as a modified spotlight used to alert Batman that is assistance was required. On occasion, villains would steal or damage the Bat-Signal to prevent Batman from being called, resulting in several anti-theft modifications including bullet-proof casing and a larger carriage. While the location of the Bat-Signal varies slightly, it is almost always found on the roof of the Gotham City Police Department and manned by a civilian with a direct line to Gordon or Gordon himself to prevent cases involving criminals caught by Batman from being dismissed. Other versions of the Bat-Signal include a signal made with a flashlight in the 1943 serial and a small projector beamed outside of Commissioner Gordon's office window in the 1949 serial.

Check out Commissioner Gordon and the Bat-Signal here- available as a summer 2019 exclusive at San Diego Comic-Con Booth #3445