It Looked Familiar: Yet Another Courthouse

I’ve only done six of these, and this is the third courthouse. Matt Murdoch, AKA Daredevil, is in his civvies to try a case. That building with all the sculptures is pretty much instantly recognizable: it’s the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York State, facing Madison Square at 25th Street. (In other words, not a place where a criminal trial would be taking place, but I think Marvel Comics is okay in asking us to suspend disbelief that far.) Here it is in 1903, shortly after completion:

The background doesn’t look like the comic. The tower of the old Madison Square Garden grabs your attention, but more importantly the blocky five-story building just north (to the left) in the comic is the 1950s addition to the courthouse. The most interesting departure from reality can be seen in Google Street View: here. Somehow the big black-glass building north of the courthouse extension seems to have become two buildings in the comic.

Why so many courthouses? First, they play a role in many comics. Second, they tend to be iconic buildings, and rather than dreaming up a classical facade from scratch, it’s certainly easier for the artists to use real courthouses. And finally, they lend a certain air of reality to the patently unrealistic stories.

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