||This comics-related article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
|First appearance||Detective Comics #629 (May 1991)|
|Created by||Peter Milligan
|In story information|
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 pre-Crisis comics.
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. 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.
- Black Spider
- Bonaventure Strake
- Bruce Wayne (when he is falsely convicted of murdering Vesper Fairchild)
- Calendar Man
- Charles "Rhino" Daley
- Clayface (Basil Karlo, relocated to Arkham Asylum)
- Clayface (Matt Hagen, relocated to Arkham Asylum)
- Cypher (Avery Twombey)
- Dalton Perry
- David Cain
- Dean "Hungry" Fahy
- Dr. Fang
- Doctor Phosphorus
- Electrocutioner (Lester Buchinsky)
- Ernie Chubb
- Eustace Marker
- Faceless (Joseph Zedno)
- Greg Rourke (Puzzleman) (relocated to Arkham Asylum)
- Henry Etchison
- Hsui Cheung
- Jan Brodie
- Jared Manx
- John McCone
- The Joker (in The Joker: Devil's Advocate the Joker is sentenced to death row in Blackgate before eventually returning to Arkham Asylum)
- Lady Spellbinder
- Mortimer Kadaver
- Mister Polka-Dot (Abner Krill)
- Mugsy (Rhino's partner, henchmen of Arnold Wesker)
- Mr. Zsasz
- The Penguin
- Professor Ivo (Anthony Ivo)
- Rupert Thorne
- Sasha Bordeaux (when she is falsely convicted of involvement in Vesper Fairchild's murder)
- Scarface (The Ventriloquist's dummy) - was carved from the gallows (used to hang prisoners on Death Row)
- Stanislaus Johns
- Ten-Eyed Man
- Titus Samuel Czonka (Czonk, aka The Headbanger, aka The Baffler)
- Tony Zucco
- The Trigger Twins
- Two-Face (relocated to Arkham Asylum)
- The Ventriloquist (relocated to Arkham Asylum)
- Vincent "The Shark" Starkey
- Weasel (Chet Grimes)
- William Guilloryta
In Batman: Crimson Mist- the third part of the trilogy that began with Batman & Dracula: Red Rain-, the now-vampiric Batman, having killed Black Mask and the False Facers, leaves 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
- In Batman: The Animated Series, this prison is called Stonegate Penitentiary. It was built as a plan by Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent to build a better, safer Gotham. Criminals like the Penguin, Catwoman (later deemed insane and relocated to Arkham Asylum), Bane, the Ventriloquist (he briefly spent most of his time behind bars in Arkham), Clock King, Rupert Thorne, Roland Daggett, Sidney "The Squid" Debris, and Baby Doll were sentenced to Stonegate, as well as Poison Ivy when she committed her first crime by attempting to kill Harvey Dent for building the prison on a site that consisted of a rare flower. In "I Am The Night", a gangster called Jimmy "Jazzman" Peake was imprisoned here to await trial since Gotham City Prison was full at the time. Also, Selina Kyle was once put on trial for Stonegate imprisonment.
- In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Night of the Huntress", Blackgate Penitentiary is featured as Blackgate Prison. Babyface breaks into Blackgate Prison to free Skeleton Keys, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Polecat Perkins, and Hammer Toes. Black Manta, Clock King, Cavalier, Doctor Polaris, Felix Faust, Fun Haus, Kite Man, Scarecrow, Shark, Sportsmaster, Top, and characters from the 60's Batman series (Archer, Bookworm, Egghead, False-Face, King Tut, and Mad Hatter) are shown as inmates trying to break out during Babyface's raid.
- Blackgate Penitentiary is mentioned in Beware the Batman. It is mentioned as a prison where patients were submitted to a radical psychiatric procedure to cure criminally insane villains. Inmates include Lunkhead and Margaret Sorrow. Later additions include Simon Stagg, Professor Pyg, Mister Toad, Tobias Whale, Phosphorus Rex, and Cypher. In "Reckoning", Ra's al Ghul arrives at Blackgate and frees Pyg, Toad, Magpie, Whale, Rex, and Cypher, willing to give a piece of Gotham City to whoever brought Batman to him, dead or alive.
- Blackgate Penitentiary is referenced in the "Field Test" portion of Batman: Gotham Knight. After stopping a gang war between Sal Maroni and the Russian at the docks, Batman restrains them and tells the Russian to keep the docks and for Sal to stay in the slum as he also quotes "That's the arrangement 'til I can get something on you. And then you can fight over who gets the top bunk in Blackgate. Got it?!"
- Blackgate Prison is featured in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. As part of the Dent Act, most of Arkham Asylum's inmates were transferred to Blackgate Prison. It appears as one of the many Gotham landmarks Bane targets in his siege of the city. When he arrives at Blackgate with his minions, he reads Commissioner Gordon's possible retirement speech as Bane also calls the prison a symbol of the oppression caused by the Dent Act which put most of Gotham's organized criminals behind bars. Bane destroys the entrance with one of Batman's Tumblers and has the prisoners released (including Selina Kyle who was previously arrested by John Blake while trying to leave Gotham City) by his minions. The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute building serves as Blackgate Prison in the film.
- The 2003 video game Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, set in the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series, features Stonegate Penitentiary as the title villain causes a jailbreak.
- The backstory of Batman: Arkham Asylum mentions that a fire at Blackgate has forced many of the inmates to be temporarily housed at Arkham Asylum until Blackgate was rebuilt. In truth, the event was engineered by the Joker in order to get his army of henchmen into Arkham for his master plan that involves the Titan Compound that he in one of his alias manipulated Dr. Penny Young into making. The Blackgate prisoners are the most common enemies in the game, acting as both foot soldiers and test subjects for the Titan compound.
- In Batman: Arkham City, it has been noted that because of the events in the last game, Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison are in no condition to hold prisoners. So the newly created Arkham City was constructed to hold all prisoners from both facilities. Several of Arkham City's prisoners mention that Blackgate was rumored to have been converted into a shopping mall yet these rumors are never confirmed. The prisoners act as soldiers to Joker, Two-Face and Penguin, though some are without a faction and act as both a source of information and entertainment if the player chooses to listen to their conversations. On a related note, some of the prisoners that are seen working for the three villains secretly work for Riddler as Batman would often interrogate them in order to access the Riddler's Challenge Maps.
- Blackgate Penitentiary appears as a playable area in Batman: Arkham Origins. Joker disguises himself as Black Mask in order to attack it. Blackgate Prison is run by Warden Martin Joseph. Batman visits Blackgate in the beginning and in the climax of the game. Unlike the rest of the game, however, players can not visit Blackgate in free-roam.
- Blackgate Penitentiary appears as the main setting in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (a companion game to Batman: Arkham Origins). Batman enters Blackgate Penitentiary when there was an uprising followed by different inmates siding with Joker, Penguin, and Black Mask. Bane, Deadshot, and Bronze Tiger were also shown as inmates. Following Batman stopping the villains, it was then shown that Amanda Waller and Rick Flag Jr. were able to obtain Bronze Tiger and Deadshot as their additions to the Suicide Squad.
- List of correctional facilities in comics
- Arkham Asylum
- Belle Reve
- Iron Heights Penitentiary
- Stryker's Island
- Detective Comics (vol. 1) #629 (May 1991)
- Detective Comics (vol. 1) #766 (March 2002)
- Batman: Blackgate, Isle of Men (April 1998)
- Shadow of the Bat #80 (December 1998)
- Superman/Batman Annual 3 (2009)
- Showcase '94 #3 (March 1994)
- Blackgate Penitentiary at DC Comics Wiki