Gotham City...crime free

The Joker

The Clown Prince of Crime
Dec 15, 2003
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After seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I'm just wondering was there ever a period in the comics, even in an elseworlds story, where Gotham was free of crime so much that Batman wasn't needed any more?
I did a little digging, and I guess Grant Morrison interpretation could be relatively closer to that. I haven't reached to read those comics, so I can't say for sure. Here is a little snippet from an interview:

"I also wanted to show a healthier Gotham City too. That whole Son-of-Sam, Rorschach-narration - 'This city is an open sewer where the rats feed on the broken dreams and filth of umm...other rats...where sneering, gnawing urban predators...blah blah...' - has become clichéd, tired and unconvincing. If Gotham was so bloody awful, no-one normal would live there and there'd be no-one to protect from criminals. If Gotham really was an open sewer of crime and corruption, every story set there would serve to demonstrate the complete and utter failure of Batman's mission, which isn't really the message we want to send, is it? You've got Batman and all his allies as well as Commissioner Gordon and the city still exudes a vile miasma of darkness and death? I can't buy that. It's simply not realistic and flies in the face of in-story logic (and you know I like my comics realistic!) so my artists and I have taken a different tack and we want to show the cool, vibrant side of Gotham, the energy and excitement that would draw people to live and visit there." Grant Morrison

As far as crime free as it was shown in Rises, I really haven't seen it anywhere, perhaps that is one of the reasons I found the film so interesting.
I think Morrison's interpretation of the 'filthy city' cliche is exaggerated as hell, to put it mildly.

Rorschach and Batman see the dark underbelly of the city that the normal people don't see, and that's reflective of the real world -- excusing the fact that there are the occasional supervillains. When they say 'this city is filthy', there is no implication that there isn't a decently functioning, 'normal' society hovering ontop of that filth. And in fact, we see plenty of examples of regular people living regular lives all the time.

Another question posed is whether or not 'normal society' is really as healthy as it pretends to be. Crime isn't the only problem society faces. Sometimes the books are about poking at the holes in society's facade of stability or goodness. This is where some of the major villains step in to give them a little push.

The 'cesspool' in a literal sense is very rarely portrayed in Batman, from what I've read and watched throughout my life.
After seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I'm just wondering was there ever a period in the comics, even in an elseworlds story, where Gotham was free of crime so much that Batman wasn't needed any more?

That'd be a pretty boring story, eh?

For a comic book, I could definitely see how it would be boring, unless something major abrupts the 'cleanliness' such as Bane did in TDKR.
Basically no.

The idea of a crime-free city is pretty ridiculous. But when has Gotham City ever portrayed as something worse than a regular big American city? Well, for most of its time. There was a time when Batman wasn't "patrolling" the city every night but rather just came out Gordon called him or something happened that might have interested him. I don't know where the idea of Batman fighting crime every night originated.
In the beginning of Morrison's run (Batman & Son) Tim Drake points out that Batman and his allies have finally put an end to super crime in Gotham City. To the point where the only people they have left over to chase after are amateur z-list criminals in funny bird costumes. Basically Batman had pacified the GC streets to the point that they didn't really need him for some time. Of course this later changes with the emergence of The Black Glove.

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