Anton Furst's Design for Gotham City

Olivia Lefere
The primary author is the individual who drafted the first version of this section; a section that could have been modified since it was originally published.

The initial attraction of Unflattening is related to the unique illustrations on each page. Dr. Nick Sousanis constructs a dark, colorless world, which gives the book a certain ambiance. While researching Anton Furst's design for Gotham city, there was a substantial similarity between the models of the two worlds.

The home of Batman, Gotham City, is seen as eerie with widespread darkness. Previously artists had created the Gotham to be lively and full of color. The old designs did not let the story of Batman stand out from the rest of the superheroes. However, this was changed when Anton Furst took the opportunity to re-design the city in the 1989 filming of Batman. He made the architecture of Gotham more fantastical and dramatic. Once Furst fashioned this new world, Gotham had an edge that enticed the audience. When watching the film, the new layout of the city formed a world that nobody had seen before. Gotham had become a city that Batman needed to save because it was so sinister.

The new representation of Gotham was supposed to be model after New York City, but with more evil. It became a city where there was nothing in it besides crime and the only life that resides there were crooked people. To display this, Furst created architecture that was dark and bleak. There was no nature; all that can be seen is the buildings that comprise the city. These larger than life buildings tower over the citizens that are on the streets below. The skyscrapers protrude from all angles and are unending. They lean over each other fashioning a city below where no sunlight can reach. With no sunshine reaching the streets, a citizen cannot tell night from day.

This design was a large part of how Furst created the eerie home of Batman. Additionally, a large portion of these building were factories that polluted the environment with dust and smoke. Once these building were added to the layout, it completed the frightful Gotham. Batman could now fight off criminals in grimy back alleyways and smoky rooftops. Furst successfully created a world that Batman can fight off evil and where there are improvements to be made.

The similarities between these two worlds of Gotham and Unflattening are unending when it comes to the design. The world in Unflattening can be interpreted as dreary; especially with the illustrations on page 7. There is a tower with no end and the same repeated architecture. A comparison can be shown here because Gotham is known to have towers that defy standard building structure.

Another illustration that resembles Gotham is on page 9 of Unflattening. On every inch of this page, there is machinery and smoke which all create an over-crowded environment. This scene shows a resemblance with pollution that is on every corner in the world of Gotham. In addition, the illustrations on this page have no focal point because there are numerous things happening at once. The claustrophobic environment created makes the world of Unflattening seem dark and dreary.

Anton Furst sketch for Gotham city