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Blackgate Penitentiary

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Title: Blackgate Penitentiary  
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Blackgate Penitentiary

Blackgate Penitentiary
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #629 (May 1991)
Created by Peter Milligan
Jim Aparo
In story information
Type Prison

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.


  • Fictional history 1
  • Known inmates 2
  • Other versions 3
  • In other media 4
    • Television 4.1
    • Film 4.2
    • Video games 4.3
    • Novels 4.4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

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 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


  • Blackgate Penitentiary appears 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, Cypher, The Key, and Humpty Dumpty. 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. In "Animal", Batman has himself arrested in order to track down The Key before he could escape. However, both criminals are pursued by the prison's kingpin and most dangerous inmate, Killer Croc.
  • Blackgate Penitentiary appears in Gotham. It first seen in the episode "Harvey Dent" where insane bomb maker Ian Hargrove is abducted from a Blackgate Penitentiary transport to St. Mark Psychiatric Hospital by the Russian mob led by Gregor Kasyanov following Nikolai's death. After the Russian mob was defeated, Ian Hargrove is transferred to the recently opened Arkham Asylum.
  • Blackgate was mentioned by Eddie Slick/Sand Demon in The Flash episode "The Flash of Two Worlds".


  • 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?!"

Video games

  • 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.


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. ^ a b Detective Comics (vol. 1) #766 (March 2002)
  7. ^ a b Detective Comics (vol. 2) #20 (July 2013)
  8. ^ a b Batman: Blackgate, Isle of Men (April 1998)
  9. ^ Shadow of the Bat #80 (December 1998)
  10. ^ a b Superman/Batman Annual 3 (2009)
  11. ^ Batman and Robin #3
  12. ^ Batman and Robin #16
  13. ^ Showcase '94 #3 (March 1994)

External links

  • Blackgate Penitentiary at DC Comics Wiki
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