Created By: DannyVElAcme on January 11, 2013 Last Edited By: DannyVElAcme on March 13, 2013
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Man Of The City

A character dedicates his life to the well being and improvement of a particular city.

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Getting ready to launch tonight, please post any last-minute examples :)

A city is a living organism. It grows, it flourishes and, sometimes, it gets sick and dies.

The Man Of The City will not allow that to happen.

Though not Always Male, the Man Of The City is a character whose entire purpose in life is to ensure the well-being of a city. For some reason, perhaps altruistic, perhaps sinister, this character has a vested interest in the well-being of the citizens and the quality of the infrastructure. This type of person may sometimes use illegal means to ensure that the city is in order, and he might be ruthless enough to make sure that any unwanted elements in his city leave at best and are buried in a shallow grave at worst, but it's still with the city's best interests in mind. The city is the Man's home, and woe unto him who commits offense against it.

"City" can also refer to a small town or county. As long as it's an individual all-encompassing area, this trope applies.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The Knight Sabers are Women of the city of Mega-Tokyo. Sylia and Nene in particular are also benefactors of the city outside their role as vigilantes, as a businesswoman and police dispatcher respectively.
  • In Karas, characters are empowered by the spirit of the neighborhood in order to fight demons. Given that a neighborhood in Tokyo is more analogous to a borough of New York, this is a sizable territory to protect.
  • In a sense, Daisuke and J from Heat Guy J.

Comic Book
  • By their very nature, superheroes tend to be Men of the city they choose to make their home. However, there's particular ones that stand out amongst their peers:
    • Batman. You can't even LITTER in Gotham without Batman kicking your ass. In his public persona as Bruce Wayne, he's the city's biggest philanthropist and provider of jobs.
    • Superman is a milder example than Batman, but it's still a very bad idea to commit a crime in Metropolis. As Clark Kent, he's an incorruptible champion of truth as reporter for the Daily Planet.
    • Lex Luthor is a mild subversion: he does genuinely care for Metropolis, and has served as its benefactor in myriad ways. He gives its citizens jobs, organizes charities for the city's welfare and has constructed various important landmarks, including reconstructing Metropolis whenever a supervillain has a field day with the infrastructure. However, he'd be more than willing to personally slit every Metropolis citizen's throat if it furthered his vendetta against Superman.
    • Green Lantern Hal Jordan is so much a man of the city he brought it back from the dead. Coast City's slogan is "The City Without Fear" in his honor.
  • Go ahead, commit a crime in Mega-City One. See how long it takes for you get your head blown the fuck off by Judge Dredd.
  • Hellblazer
    • He may not admit it, and in fact he'd be the first to tell you that the city's a stinking shithole, but John Constantine has a fatalistic sense of duty towards the city of London.
    • Constantine's fellow wizard Map is possibly the living incarnation of this trope. The Spirit of the city of London itself has chosen him to be its champion, and he can harness the mystical energies of the city itself to power his magic.
  • Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan. His love/hate relationship with The City is very similar to John Constantine's relationship with London. He hates most of the people within The City, but still finds it his responsibility to uncover the Truth for them.
  • Subverted by Rorshach in the first issue of Watchmen, as we discover that this isn't quite a standard superhero story.
    Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."

Film
  • Sheriff Buford Pusser is this to McNairy County, Tennessee in the Walking Tall films, willing to go far beyond his responsibilities as sheriff to rid the county of crime.
  • George Bailey, sacrificing his own happiness to make Bedford Falls a better place in It's a Wonderful Life.
  • In The Spirit, the titular character himself starts off the movie by monologuing how he only lives to protect the city. She is all he needs to survive, and all he wants. He lives for the city. He will die for the city, and nothing else.

Literature
  • Discworld's city of Ankh-Morpork
    • Havelock Vetinari, the Patrician of the City of Ankh-Morpork. He may be a scheming, conniving Magnificent Bastard, but he's ANKH-MORPORK'S scheming, conniving magnificent bastard. The novels have actually shown that, when he somehow loses his position, the city starts to fall apart.
    • On the right side of the law, you have Commander Sam Vimes and the rest of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, who protect the city from crime.
    • Captain Carrot is the embodiment of this trope: he always does what is best for the city; knows(and is liked by) everyone; and he's even refused to acknowledge that he is(probably) the rightful King of Ankh-Morpork because that wouldn't be best for the city. (The fact that Mr. Vimes would go spare may also be an influencing factor).
      • There's a scene in one Discworld novel between Carrot and Lord Vetinari: Carrot has just remarked that "policeman" is a portmanteau word meaning "man of the City". Vetinari considers this, commends Carrot on being a man who thinks about language, and asks him, benevolently, to consider the derivation of the word "politician." And both are right...

Live-Action TV
  • The Reagan family in Blue Bloods is an entire dynasty of Men of the city on New York.
  • Leslie Knope is this to Pawnee in Parks and Recreation, even more so now that she's in the city council.
  • Angel becomes this to Los Angeles, often choosing to stay out of Sunnydale even when his presence would be useful because it's no longer his city. It's quite telling that the pilot is titled "City of Angels".

Tabletop Games
  • The City Gods of Exalted are celestial versions of this trope.
  • City Princes or Barons in Vampire: The Masquerade can be this at their most benign. Yes, vampires are parasites of humanity, but as any other parasite, the health of the host is of paramount importance to them. Also, many vampires can have actual affection for a city and its people (Carthage and the Brujah being the most famous example).

Video Games
  • Mayor Mike Haggar of Metro City in the Final Fight games. Not only is he the mayor, he's also willing to walk the streets and lay an unholy ass-beating on any gang members on his watch. Cody was one too, until his Blood Knight tendencies got the best of him.
  • Good Cole McGrath is this for both Empire City and New Marais in the inFamous games. Even when myriad enemies try to discredit him as a public menace, he still helps out whenever he can. In fact, the big Sadistic Choice in the first game that leads to Trish's death is one of the biggest examples of selflessness in the history of gaming.
  • Ezio Auditore first becomes one to his uncle's hometown of Monteriggioni in Assassin's Creed II, but then he takes it to a bigger extreme when he dedicates himself to the city of Rome in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: he wrests control of the city from the neglectful Borgia dynasty, purchases most of the city's small businesses in order to stimulate the economy, and provides the funds to preserve many of its historic landmarks.
  • Mjoll the Lioness, of Skyrim fame, is an ex-adventurer turned crimefighter \who devotes her life to cleansing the city of Riften from crime a truly herculean task. That is, until you persuade her to return to footloose adventuring.

Western Animation
  • In Justice League episode Flash and Substance: Flash is so loved in Central City, they build a museum to honor the costumed speedster. During the episode, he gushes about how much he loves the city, and he even shows he knows EVERYONE'S NAME within it. When Batman and Orion actually are impressed with your dedication, it means something.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • January 11, 2013
    captainpat
    Just saying a character is this trope or isthis trope to whatever city is a Zero Context Example. You need to explain how these characters protect or improve their city.
  • January 11, 2013
    AP
    • Averted in Sin City in which most of the characters comment on how terrible the city is and while they do make the place a little better when they kill loads and loads of bad guys, they don't usually feel they can't make it better and want to leave.
  • January 12, 2013
    DannyVElAcme
    • bump*
  • January 12, 2013
    Astaroth
    • Ezio Auditore becomes this to the city of Rome in Assassins Creed Brotherhood: he wrests control of the city from the neglectful Borgia dynasty, purchases most of the city's small businesses in order to stimulate the economy, and provides the funds to preserve many of its historic landmarks.
  • January 12, 2013
    Arivne
    Corrected three incorrect Example Indentations and an improperly Pot Holed work title in the OP examples.
  • January 12, 2013
    jastay3
    The Reagans in Blue Bloods.
  • January 12, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    Changed "magnificent bastard" (pothole of the same words, without the caps) to "Magnificent Bastard" (plain Wiki Word). Please don't do that.
  • January 12, 2013
    DannyVElAcme
    Changed the title back to Man Of The City. A Man Of The City doesn't necessarily have to be a magnificent bastard(Superman and Green Lantern sure as hell aren't), they just need to put the city's well-being as a priority. The trope DOES tend to attract characters of this stripe, though.
  • January 12, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    Title change was an error.
  • January 12, 2013
    Larkmarn
    The Big O example doesn't count, since to his knowledge, Paradigm City is the entire world.

    • Angel becomes this to Los Angeles, choosing to stay out of Sunnydale even when his presence would be useful because it's no longer his city.
  • January 13, 2013
    DannyVElAcme
    *bumping*
  • January 13, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Anime/Karas might be a bit too specific (since it is a neighborhood, technically) for this trope, but it it about a character empowered by the spirit of the neighborhood in order to fight demons. Given that neighborhood in Tokyo is more analogous to a borough of New York, I think it should still count.
  • January 18, 2013
    WaxingName
    Lex Luthor actually doesn't care for the city of Metropolis at all. He only makes sure everything is going well so that people look up to him and not anyone else.
  • January 18, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    "[T]he Man Of The City is a character whose entire purpose in life is the well-being of a city" ... seems like there is a verb missing there. His entire purpose is whating the well-being of a city? Ensuring?
  • January 18, 2013
    dubey
    Western Animation
  • January 18, 2013
    Larkmarn
    @Waxing Name: It depends on the writer. Sometimes they make it clear he cares for the city deeply and part of his guff with Superman is that he thinks he can help it more without him, other times he's just doing it to be a Villain With Good Publicity.
  • January 19, 2013
    AgProv
    The dialogue between Carrot and Vetinari in one of the Discworld books. Carrot has just remarked that "policeman" is a portmanteau word meaning "man of the City". Vetinari considers this, commends Carrot on being a man who thinks about language, and asks him, benevolently, to consider the derivation of the word "politician." And both are right...
  • January 21, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^"...purpose in life is the well-being..." makes perfect sense to me.
  • January 21, 2013
    TonyG
    Leslie Knope is this to Pawnee in Parks And Recreation, even more so now that she's in the city council.
  • January 21, 2013
    gallium
    • George Bailey, sacrificing his own happiness to make Bedford Falls a better place in Its A Wonderful Life.
  • January 30, 2013
    DannyVElAcme
    Bumping. I haven't gotten any votes for it, but should I launch this? It already has a good amount of examples. I'd just need indexing suggestions.
  • January 30, 2013
    DRCEQ
    • In The Spirit, the titular character himself starts off the movie by monologuing how he only lives to protect the city. She is all he needs to survive, and all he wants. He lives for the city. He will die for the city, and nothing else.
  • February 3, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    It is not a complete sentence. "Purpose" means doing something. "Well-being of a city" is a noun. Should be "purpose in life is verbing a noun", not "purpose in life is noun".
  • February 4, 2013
    aurora369
    Mjoll the Lioness of Skyrim fame is an ex-adventurer turned crimefighter from Skyrim, who devotes her life to cleansing the city of Riften from crime. That is, until you persuade her to return to footloose adventuring.
  • February 4, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Added Angel, took out Big O.
  • February 4, 2013
    Ekuran
    Tabletop Games
    • The City Gods of Exalted are celestial versions of this trope.
  • February 16, 2013
    electronshock
    In a sense, Daisuke and J from Heat Guy J.
  • February 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Subverted by Rorshach in the first issue of Watchmen, as we discover that this isn't quite a standard superhero story.
    Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."
  • February 20, 2013
    JoeG
    It's "vested interest", not "bested interest".
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