GOTHAM CENTRAL: One of the Greatest Comics of All Time

I’ve written about DC’s police procedural, Gotham Central, several times for this site, and now I get to pick it as one of my favorite comics of all time.

The book ran for 40 issues, with contributions from three folks who are now legends: Michael Lark.  Greg Rucka.  Ed Brubaker.  And all of them got Eisner nominations for their efforts.

The books struggled with sales, but since then has been successful in two different trade releases.  It told the story of police in Gotham City ostensibly dealing with the presence of super-powered heroes and villains but, at its core, was about the struggle of folks who wear the badge.  I’d liken it to Homicide: Life on the Street, in that was certainly reverential towards its Detectives, but didn’t flinch at exposing their flaws: We see Detectives engaging in racism, sexism, self-pity, homophobia, and even homicide.  The book clearly informed Rucka’s later work on Batwoman as well.

Let’s get one thing clear: All of the issues were amazing.  But if you’ve only got a few bucks for a few trades, I’d recommend you buy “Half A Life,” which reprints issues #6-10 and tells the story of a complex relationship between Renee Montoya, Gotham’s lesbian detective, Batman, and Two Face.  Other “best arcs” would include “Soft Targets” (from issues #12-15, Joker becomes a sniper and begins randomly killing cops and civilians) and “Dead Robin” (#33-36, in which a dead boy in a Robin costume is found—and the cops don’t know whether it’s the “real” Robin).

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