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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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 Its 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.
- 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...
- 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".
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.