|Publication date||December 2002 – April 2006|
|No. of issues||40|
|Main character(s)||Gotham City Police Department|
|Created by||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|
Gotham Central is a police procedural comic-book series that was published by DC Comics. It was written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, with pencils initially by Michael Lark. The story focused on the Gotham City Police Department and the difficulties of its officers living and working in Gotham City, home of Batman.
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).
Gotham Central repeatedly failed to break the top 100 comics in sales. Despite this, DC Comics were encouraged by the improved sales of the trade paperback collected editions. In an interview, Ed Brubaker stated that the book sold pretty well and was never in danger of cancellation, outselling almost all of Vertigo's books at the time. Ultimately Lark and Brubaker moved on to other projects, and, after three years of publication, the series ended 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.
Despite the sales, writer Greg Rucka assured that DC would have continued publishing Gotham Central as long as he wanted to write it and that it was his decision to conclude the series. Rucka felt that the book was a co-creation between himself, Lark and Brubaker and when they left, with issue #25 and #37 respectively, it was time to move on. The year long break provided by the Infinite Crisis event provided an opportune place to close out the main storylines. 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. 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 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.
See also: Gotham City Police Department
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"||#1–2||Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka||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.|
|"Motive"||#3–5||Brubaker||Lark||The MCU investigate the late Charlie Fields' unsolved case, involving the murder of a teenage girl and the villain Firebug.|
|"Half a Life"||#6–10||Rucka||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"||#11||Brubaker||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"||#12–15||Brubaker, Rucka||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, the Joker has made a website featuring streaming webcam footage from his next position.|
|"Life is Full of Disappointments"||#16–18||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.|
|"Unresolved"||#19–22||Brubaker||Lark, Gaudiano||An old murder case involving the Mad Hatter is reopened, but the now-disgraced Harvey Bullock suspects that the Penguin is involved.|
|"Corrigan"||#23–24||Rucka||Lark, 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 the Black Spider and ties into the Batman War Games crossover.|
|"Lights Out"||#25||At Akins' orders, the Bat-Signal is removed from Gotham Central after the events of War Games, which lead the MCU to (further) distrust Batman.|
|"On The Freak Beat"||#26–27||Brubaker||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"||#28–31||Rucka||Gaudiano, Kano||An officer is transformed into a monster after an accident involving an old laboratory belonging to the 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.|
|"Nature"||#32||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"||#33–36||Brubaker, Rucka||Kano, Gaudiano||A boy's body is found, wearing a Robin costume. The MCU must assume that the boy really is Robin, and Batman becomes a major suspect. This story also features the Teen Titans.|
|"Sunday Bloody Sunday"||#37||Rucka||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"||#38–40||Kano, 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.|
|Gotham Central Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty||Gotham Central #1–5||ISBN 1-4012-0199-7|
|Gotham Central Vol. 2: Half a Life||Gotham Central #6–10, Batman Chronicles #16, Detective Comics #747||ISBN 1-4012-0438-4|
|Gotham Central Vol. 3: Unresolved Targets||Gotham Central #12–15, 19–22||ISBN 1-56389-995-7|
|Gotham Central Vol. 4: The Quick and the Dead||Gotham Central #23–25, 28–31||ISBN 1-4012-0912-2|
|Gotham Central Vol. 5: Dead Robin||Gotham Central #33–40||ISBN 1-4012-1329-4|
|Gotham Central Book One: In the Line of Duty||Gotham Central #1–10||ISBN 1-4012-1923-3|
|Gotham Central Book Two: Jokers and Madmen||Gotham Central #11–22||ISBN 1-4012-2521-7|
|Gotham Central Book Three: On the Freak Beat||Gotham Central #23–31||ISBN 978-1-4012-2754-8|
|Gotham Central Book Four: Corrigan||Gotham Central #32–40||ISBN 978-1-4012-3003-6|
|Gotham Central Omnibus||Gotham Central #1–40||ISBN 978-1-4012-6192-4|
In August 2006, Brubaker said that he was told that many people at Warner Bros. loved the comic, and that if they had not had a moratorium on Batman television shows, they "could have set up Gotham Central at WB in a heartbeat".
A television series titled Gotham was in development by Fox in 2013, following the career of Jim Gordon prior to the appearance of Batman. The series premise bears similarities to Gotham Central. It premiered on September 22, 2014. To coincide with Gotham's premiere, DC Comics issued a reprint of Gotham Central #1, at a special price of $1.
An untitled police procedural TV series from Matt Reeves was in development, to be set in the same continuity as the film The Batman. Gotham Central was being considered as a title for the series. The development of the show was revealed to not being moving forward and put on hold in March 2022.