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Reasons Why You Should Love Comics – Gotham Central | Comic Book Fury

Reasons Why You Should Love Comics – Gotham Central

May 23, 2011 by
Filed under: Thoughts 

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While I may not do it enough, I’ve made it an effort on CBF to educate the masses on why comic books are as just as good storytelling medium as any other medium on the market. Whether it’s the dominant superhero genre, the all-ages stories, or the independent sleepers – comics probably has the most variety of means and methods for delivering visual storytelling.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get new readers to buy into the comic book buying habit with a smaller market, high prices, and superhero books knee deep in continuity. Thus, the following is the beginning of a new series of articles that will dive into various books that are not only fresh starts for new readers, but great chances for current readers to expand their horizons.

Batman is the self-chosen protector of Gotham City, but if you’ve read his adventures long enough, you almost get a sense that he’s also the entire police force. Sure, Commissioner Gordon or Harvey Bullock will come in and give their unit some competence, but otherwise, Batman’s catching the bad guys and leaving the clean-up to the cops.

Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker decided to change that perception in the early 2000’s with Gotham Central. It focuses on a team of Gotham’s detectives, taking on crimes they might be getting in over their heads on, but are still willing to do it for the sake of the city. Think Law & Order, only more freakish, which you’d come to expect with Gotham City.

This unfortunately is one of the series I came in late to after slowly coming back to comics in the mid 2000’s. I’ve only read the first trade and am quickly looking to get the next. But it’s already won me over. The industry spoke highly of its focus on the police and what it was able to do not having the resources that Batman has. It also brought about the controversial, yet ground-breaking story arc that outed Renee Montoya as a lesbian. This was the start of her self-destruction, as she would later leave the force and succumb to alcoholism. It would be several years before she would redeem herself as the new Question that she is today.

What’s great about this is you can market the book to new readers as a cop drama interwoven into the Batman mythology, only you don’t need to know years of Batman history to understand what it’s about. They’re cops, they’re struggling in a city eating itself alive, and they’re determined to get the job done even though they at times believe Batman would be better suited for it. The characterization is just amazing and what more you could expect in the hands of talented writers like Rucka and Brubaker (and let’s bear in mind too that these two were just getting their names out in the comics mainstream, which makes it all the more amazing). Brilliant methods for grounding real-world stories in a world of costumed vigilantes and villains.

It says much about the book when the internet wants this to be the next TV series to replace Smallville. I don’t know if it will get that far, but for now, this will whet your appetite. Give it a shot.


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