Cover of Gotham Central #1, Art by Michael Lark
|Publication date||Feb. 2003 – April 2006|
|Number of issues||40|
|Main character(s)||Gotham City Police Department|
|Creator(s)||Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark|
|In the Line of Duty||ISBN 1-4012-0199-7|
|Half a Life||ISBN 1401204384|
|Unresolved Targets||ISBN 1563899957|
|The Quick and the Dead||ISBN 1401209122|
|Dead Robin||ISBN 1401213294|
Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker collaborated on the "Officer Down" Batman crossover. They wanted to do a series about the police in Gotham City and finally obtained approval from DC executives. The writers wanted Michael Lark for pencils and waited nearly a year to get him onboard due to scheduling, but used the opportunity to plan out the storylines. They plotted out the new series' elements and decided to script the first story arc together, then split the lengthy cast into two shifts: Rucka would write the GCPD's day shift storylines, Brubaker would take the night shift, and Lark would pencil them both. Gotham Central's debut yielded Eisner Award nominations in 2003 for Best New Series, Best Writer (Rucka), Best Writer (Brubaker), and Best Penciller/Inker (Lark).
The comics were a commercial failure, although certainly an artistic success. The series eventually became notorious for its outstanding reviews, dedicated fanbase and poor sales. While reviewers consistently gave the series high marks and its fans made as much noise as possible, Gotham Central repeatedly failed to break the top 100 comics in sales. However, publisher DC Comics was encouraged by the improved sales of the trade paperback collected editions, so the creators were allowed to continue. Ultimately Lark and Brubaker moved on to other projects, and, after three years of publication, it was announced that the series was ending amid the Infinite Crisis aftermath. It continued to have sales troubles through to the conclusion: issue #37 ranked 102nd place, and issue #38 ranked 120th place  on the distributor's charts.
Potential television series
In 2003, there were rumors that The WB Television Network was interested in producing a television series based on Gotham Central, but then decided against it, not wanting to create another Batman-related TV show so soon after the ratings failure of Birds of Prey. In an August 2006 interview with the Around Comics podcast, Brubaker confirmed these rumors, saying that he was told that many people at Warner Brothers loved the comic, and that if they hadn't had a moratorium on Batman TV shows, they "could have set up Gotham Central at WB in a heartbeat."
End of the series
Despite fans' reactions, writer Greg Rucka assured that DC actually would have continued publishing Gotham Central as long as Rucka wanted to do so and that it was his decision to conclude it. Rucka explained that the end for the series was in sight when Lark left after issue #25 and Brubaker left after the "Dead Robin" storyline. Rucka felt that the three of them created the comic together and that he should not continue on without them. When DC was discussing the Infinite Crisis event and subsequent year-long story break, Rucka thought it would be a good time to end it. At one point, Rucka was in talks to replace Gotham Central with a new series called Streets of Gotham, which would focus on Renee Montoya as a private investigator. However, those plans were scrapped in favor of making Montoya a major character in the weekly series 52, with Rucka as a co-writer. In 2009, DC eventually released an unrelated series called Batman: Streets of Gotham that has been described as a mixture of Gotham Central and another canceled Batman series, Batman: Gotham Knights.
Cast of characters
The Gotham Central cast was divided between the day and night shifts, with arcs alternating between both sets of characters. Main characters among the ranks of the detectives were Marcus Driver, Romy Chandler, Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen and Josephine "Josie Mac" MacDonald. Their superiors, Commissioner Michael Akins, Captain Margaret "Maggie" Sawyer and Lieutenant Ron Probson also appeared prominently. Jim Corrigan, a corrupt CSI, features near the end of the series.
The supporting cast was mainly pulled from the large roster of the Gotham City Police Department and some characters were subjects of their own story arcs. Long-time supporting characters of Batman, James Gordon and Harvey Bullock, also made recurring appearances. Batman himself, although not often seen, played a prominent role in the series.
- In The Line of Duty
(Gotham Central #1-2)
Written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka. Art by Michael Lark.
Marcus Driver's partner Charlie is killed by Mr. Freeze while the pair are investigating a lead, making the MCU (Major Crimes Unit) aware of a bigger plot by Freeze.
(Gotham Central #3-5)
Written by Ed Brubaker. Art by Michael Lark.
The MCU investigate the late Charlie Fields' unsolved case, involving the murder of a teenage girl and the villain Firebug.
- Half a Life
(Gotham Central #6-10)
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Michael Lark.
Renee Montoya is outed at the station as a lesbian and finds her work environment and personal life turned upside down. The Batman villain Two-Face appears in this arc, having fallen in love with Montoya and kidnapped her.
- This is probably the most famous Gotham Central story, having won a number of awards.
- Daydreams and believers
(Gotham Central #11)
Written by Ed Brubaker. Art by Brian Hurtt.
A story told from the point of view of MCU temp Stacy as she writes to her friend Meg about her life in the MCU and her fantasies (including romantic fantasies about Batman).
- Soft Targets
(Gotham Central #12-15)
Written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka. Art by Michael Lark/Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano.
The cops of Gotham find themselves literally under fire from the Joker, as he begins sniping both police and civilians in his murderous campaign. Every second becomes valuable; as to further the damage, Joker has made a website featuring streaming webcam footage from his next positions.
- Life is Full of Disappointments
(Gotham Central #16-18)
Written by Ed Brubaker/Greg Rucka. Art by Greg Scott.
A murder investigation is passed between three different sets of detectives across the three issues, allowing a glimpse into the various lives of the detectives. This story also features The Huntress.
(Gotham Central #19-22)
Written by Ed Brubaker. Art by Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano.
(Gotham Central #23-24)
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano.
Crispus Allen's job is threatened after corrupt Jim Corrigan removes evidence from a scene. This story also features the death of Batman villain Black Spider and ties into the Batman War Games crossover.
- Lights Out
(Gotham Central #25)
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano.
- On The Freak Beat
(Gotham Central #26-27)
Written by Ed Brubaker. Art by Jason Alexander.
A murder investigation in which Catwoman is a suspect is further complicated when Catwoman learns about detective Josie Mac's psychic powers, a secret she has kept from the others at the MCU. This story also features Slam Bradley.
- Keystone Kops
(Gotham Central #28-31)
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Stefano Gaudiano/Stefano Gaudiano & Kano.
An officer is transformed into a monster after an accident involving an old laboratory belonging to Flash villain Doctor Alchemy. Dr. Alchemy later changes the composition of Renee Montoya's necklace, causing it to permanently scar her chest with the dual venus symbol.
(Gotham Central #32)
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Steve Lieber.
A story told from the perspective of one of the many corrupt police officers of Gotham City. This story features the character Poison Ivy.
- Dead Robin
(Gotham Central #33-36)
Written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka. Art by Kano & Stefano Gaudiano.
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
(Gotham Central #37)
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Steve Lieber.
Tying into the events of Infinite Crisis, this story features Crispus Allen trying to get home to his family in a disaster-stricken Gotham City. This issue also features Captain Marvel and the death of The Fisherman.
- Corrigan II
(Gotham Central #38-40)
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Kano & Stefano Gaudiano.
Allen goes after the corrupt Jim Corrigan, only to be killed. Corrigan uses his connections and well placed lies to get off clean, persuading a disgusted Montoya to leave the force.
Characters after the series' end
- Michael Akins left the force under unknown circumstances during the one-year gap with James Gordon taking back the role of Police Commissioner. It is implied that Akins had either become corrupt himself, or done nothing to curb corruption in the GCPD.
- The deceased Allen has become the Spectre during the events of Infinite Crisis. He is briefly turned into a Black Lantern before regaining his Spectre mantle.
- Renee Montoya became one of the major characters in 52, a series dealing with the aftermath of Infinite Crisis. During the series she takes up the guise of The Question.
- Josie Mac and Maggie Sawyer have also appeared in minor roles in 52 and both have made sporadic appearances in Batman related comic books.
- Marcus Driver and Josh Azeveda appeared in the mini-series Tales of the Unexpected, along with the Spectre (Crispus Allen). Romy Chandler and Stacy also made brief cameos.
- Harvey Bullock is hired back onto the force under disciplinary probation during the "one-year gap"—the exact reasons are never expressly stated—with the understanding that he is not allowed a single mistake. He and Batman have set a "clean slate" for their new working relationship. (See Batman: Face the Face)
- Eisner Award - Best Serialized Story 2004 - Half a Life (Gotham Central #6-10).
- Harvey Award - Best Single Issue or Story 2004 - Half a Life (Gotham Central #6-10). Tied with Love & Rockets #9.
- Gaylactic Spectrum Award - Best Other Work 2004 - Half a Life (Gotham Central #6-10). Tied with Angels in America.
|Gotham Central Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty TPB||Gotham Central #1-5||ISBN 1-4012-0199-7|
|Gotham Central Vol. 2: Half a Life TPB||Batman Chronicles #16,
Detective Comics #747,
Gotham Central #6-10
|Gotham Central Vol. 3: Unresolved Targets TPB||Gotham Central #12-15 and #19-22||ISBN 1-56389-995-7|
|Gotham Central Vol. 4: The Quick and the Dead TPB||Gotham Central #23-25 and #28-31||ISBN 1-4012-0912-2|
|Gotham Central Vol. 5: Dead Robin TPB||Gotham Central #33-40||ISBN 1-4012-1329-4|
|Gotham Central Book One: In the Line of Duty HC||Gotham Central #1-10||ISBN 1-4012-1923-3|
|Gotham Central Book Two: Jokers and Madmen HC||Gotham Central #11-22||ISBN 1-4012-2521-7|
|Gotham Central Book Three: On the Freak Beat HC||Gotham Central #23-31||ISBN 978-1-4012-2754-8|
|Gotham Central Book Four: Corrigan HC||Gotham Central #32-40||ISBN 978-1-4012-3003-6|
- Gotham City Police Department
- Batman: GCPD - Gotham City Police Department, a comic book series similar in theme to Gotham Central.
- The Beat (Part 1): Ed Brubaker talks Gotham Central, Comic Book Resources, June 30, 2003
- 2003 Eisner Comic Industry Awards announced, Comic Book Resources, April 10, 2003
- Top Sales Charts for Actual Sales in November, 2005, Comic Book Resources, December 16, 2005
- Top Sales Charts for Actual Sales in December, 2005, Comic Book Resources, January 13, 2006
- Interview with Ed Brubaker, Around Comics Podcast No. 42Template:Date=December 2010
- Greg Rucka on the end of Gotham Central, Newsarama, November 15, 2005
- Gotham Central at the Comic Book DB
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