When dealing with a property like Batman you'd better make sure you give it the respect it deserves, otherwise you might find yourself having to deal with a torch-wielding mob and/or slightly threatening comments online.
Ben McKenzie, who plays Jim Gordon on the Batman prequel-spin-off-type show, [Gotham](series:1127075), had to deal with a little bit of this when the first images of him as Jim Gordon hit the web. It seemed some people were slightly perturbed by the fact he didn't have an enormous fluffy mustache proudly sitting on his philtrum.
However, extinguish the torch, put away the pitchfork, because there's actually a pretty good reason why McKenzie doesn't possess an massive, wiry man-tache. He explains:
I had lengthy conversations with Bruno and Danny [Cannon] about everything else. Lengthy, lengthy conversations about all sorts of things. And then as soon as it hit the Internet that I was doing it, all anyone wanted to talk about was whether I’d have a mustache or not. I thought about ringing Bruno and being like ‘Uh, one last thing I forgot to…’ we just literally never talked about it. And then I brought it up to him, and he goes ‘No. That would look ridiculous on you.’ It’s twenty years before he can grow into the maturity and wisdom that it takes to sport a mustache, and that’s the line we’re sticking to.
I can certainly see what he means. It does take a certain gravitas to pull off a mustache - which is why it never looks quite right on hipsters. Mustaches are contemplative and distinguished, like a mahogany bookcase or a 18 year old bottle of scotch. Many great men have sported face warmers, whether its Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, or Tom Selleck (we'll discount Stalin and Hitler for the time being), and it's right to say that at the time Gotham is set, Gordon is yet to become a 'great man.'
With this in mind, let's take a look at the other great bushy crumb-collectors which have adorned the faces of previous Commissioner Gordons.
Pat Hingle - Batman (1989)
Pat Hingle played Commissioner Gordon in four Batman movies, Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin.
In each he sported a relatively subtle nose brush that screamed of authority and certainly didn't look like it was trying to overcompensate for something.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Commissioner Gordon in The Dark Knight Returns (voiced by David Selby) features the more mature mustache of a dignified silver fox.
Sure, he does kind of look like Colonel Sanders and/or Dick Van Dyke, but don't tell him that.
Batman: The Animated Series
Jim Gordon in Batman: The Animated Series shared many similarities with the The Dark Knight Returns commissioner, although I think it's fair to say he sports a more full-bodied and brushier 'tache that almost looks jolly in certain lights.
Batman: Year One
Year One's Commissioner Gordon (voiced by Bryan Cranston) saw a more serious and determined mustache. It's downward angles matched the darker tones of the animated feature, and kind of reminds one of the tail of an alert, but concerned, Labrador retriever.
Batman: Under The Red Hood
This animated Batman feature sees the mustache drop even further than Year One's. It once again alludes to the darker tone, as well as showing Gordon as wizened, veteran-like, but also perhaps, slightly tragic.
Gary Oldman - The Dark Knight Trilogy
This of course brings us to perhaps the most popular Gordon of all, Gary Oldman. In The Dark Knight Trilogy he sports a lip-bush which is authoritative and trustworthy, but also looks like it means business. Gordon isn't some desk-bound pen-pusher and Oldman shows this by frequently pairing the mustache with a G.C.P.D. polo neck. Very stylish.
However, remember, McKenzie isn't the only Commissioner to fight crime sans 'tache. The first and original onscreen Jim Gordon, played by Neil Hamilton, in the Batman television series also went for a clean shaven face.
What do you think? Should Gotham's Gordon have a mustache?