Blackgate Penitentiary

Blackgate Penitentiary
First appearance Detective Comics #629 (May 1991)
Publisher DC Comics

Blackgate Penitentiary is a fictional prison depicted in the DC Universe, traditionally located on a small island in the Gotham Bay. Gotham City. Batman: The Long Halloween suggests that it was preceded by Gotham State Penitentiary, which appeared often in comics prior to the continuity change brought about by 1985 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Fictional history

Blackgate Prison (later known as Blackgate Penitentiary) operated separately from Gotham Prison (later known as Gotham State Penitentiary). Both prisons are located in Gotham and while Blackgate is the main correctional facility used by writers today, Gotham State Penitentiary was the primary correctional facility used in the comics up until the early 1990s. According to modern continuity, in the early 1990s, Blackgate Prison was condemned by Amnesty International and forced to shut down.[1] When the prison eventually re-opened, it was officially known as "Blackgate Penitentiary". Because of its secure location on a secluded island, Blackgate began to take prominence over Gotham State, until the latter became virtually unused.

Unlike Arkham Asylum, Blackgate is where sane criminals such as the Penguin, Catman, David Cain, Monsoon, Ernie Chubb, KGBeast and various henchmen, mobsters, and mafia bosses are incarcerated when captured. The Joker, Two-Face, Clayface II (Matt Hagen), the Ventriloquist, Mr. Zsasz, Firefly, Calendar Man and Rupert Thorne are some criminals that have done time in both Arkham Asylum and in Blackgate Penitentiary.

There are instances where inmates from Arkham Asylum are temporarily moved to Blackgate, like when Bane destroys the original Arkham building in Batman #491. All of the Arkham inmates are incarcerated in Blackgate until the new Arkham structure is built and opened in Batman #521.

There is a one-shot about a breakout happening in the prison entitled Batman: Blackgate. The prisoners in the story are Cluemaster, Steeljacket, Ratcatcher, The Trigger Twins, Dragoncat, Gunhawk, Czonka (The Baffler), Actuary, and others. Several of these villains are also featured in the Cataclysm storyline when an earthquake and the resulting tidal waves damage the prison and open up a land bridge to Gotham. This allows the majority of the inmates of Blackgate to escape. During the subsequent No Man's Land storyline, the master jailer Lock-Up took control of Blackgate, enlisting KGBeast and the Trigger Twins to act as wardens for his prison, and rules with an iron fist; Batman only tolerates his presence because he requires Lock-Up to keep captured criminals in check to prevent Gotham being overrun, although Lock-Up is under strict orders to treat the prisoners well. Towards the end of the storyline, Batman enlists Dick Grayson's help in overthrowing Lock-Up[2][3] so Blackgate could be used for the lawful side once again.[4]

Known inmates

Other versions

In Batman: Crimson Mist- the third part of the trilogy that began with Batman & Dracula: Red Rain-, the now-vampiric Batman, having surrendered to his new dark instincts, kills Black Mask and the False Facers, leaving the gang's severed heads impaled on the spikes of the fence around Blackgate, the faces looking in to the prisoners in an action interpreted as a 'warning'. Batman later reflects, when contemplating his rapidly depleting supply of 'deserving' prey- attempting to kill only those who are themselves killers- that many of Blackgate's inmates are only in for theft or less, grimly musing that they do not deserve his kind of death.

In other media



Video games


See also


  1. Detective Comics (vol. 1) #629 (May 1991)
  2. Nightwing (vol. 2) #35 (September 1999)
  3. Nightwing (vol. 2) #36 (October 1999)
  4. Nightwing (vol. 2) #37 (November 1999)
  5. Robin (vol. 4) #1
  6. 1 2 Detective Comics (vol. 1) #766 (March 2002)
  7. 1 2 Detective Comics (vol. 2) #20 (July 2013)
  8. 1 2 Batman: Blackgate, Isle of Men (April 1998)
  9. Shadow of the Bat #80 (December 1998)
  10. 1 2 Superman/Batman Annual 3 (2009)
  11. Batman and Robin #3
  12. Batman and Robin #16
  13. Showcase '94 #3 (March 1994)

External links

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