Harvey Bullock first appeared in Detective Comics #441 (June 1974) and was created by Archie Goodwin and Howard Chaykin as "Lieutenant Bullock". In his three-panel first appearance, Bullock was not much developed and became a forgotten character for nearly a decade, until he was brought back and further developed by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Newton, starting with Batman #361 (1983).
After inadvertently giving Gordon a heart attack, however, Bullock turned over a new leaf. His character later developed into a well-meaning cop who (probably) was exceedingly clumsy, similar to the later animated version. He also formed a close bond with Robin, based initially on their mutual love of old movies. Subsequent to this, he was a Bishop in the spy organization Checkmate.
Following the continuity changes brought about in most of DC's comics by Crisis, Bullock was perhaps the most controversial police officer in the Gotham City Police Department. His colleagues in the Major Crimes Unit will swear up and down that he is a good cop, despite his reputation for taking bribes, police brutality, and ties to organized crime being on the top.However, he also has elements of the earlier character including a fondness for doughnuts and a hidden sentimental streak. This new post-Crisis Bullock was retconned as having been loyal to Gordon from the start. Even before he made detective, he stayed by Gordon during one of the Joker's earlier rampages. He saves Gordon's life with careful driving and helps him work through the clues. Ultimately, without Batman's assistance, Bullock and Gordon stop the Joker from causing an explosion that would have leveled Gotham City. During the entire case Bullock plays the part of (or was) the "bad cop," intimidating and threatening whoever needed it. Bullock is badly injured during a confrontation with the KGBeast, who has gained control of a small nuclear device. Robin and several members of the Gotham City Police department, Hitch, Gordon and Montoya, brave the surroundings, a burning chemical plant, partly to save his life. Bullock actually dies during this incident but is saved by CPR administered by Robin. Mackenzie "Hardback" Bock, a newcomer to the force, becomes involved, helping Robin carry Harvey out of harm's way. The nuclear bomb is then neutralized by Batman.
In the Batman: Cataclysm storyline, Bullock confronts a villain named Anarky in a shopping mall when an earthquake hits Gotham City. He is badly wounded when a bar of metal goes through his own arm, but makes his way back to police headquarters. When he learns Gordon is missing, he ejects the metal by hitting a wall and instantly starts a search. Gordon is soon recovered, shaken but essentially unhurt, from the rubble of his own office. Later, Gotham is shut down and closed off by the government in the incident known as No Man's Land. Bullock, Montoya, Bock and several other officers willingly stay behind to assist Gordon. Bullock sticks by Gordon through the loss of many fellow officers and the schism of the group that remains. In the end, efforts led by Lex Luthor re-open Gotham and the remaining officers are given their jobs back.
Bullock has also been one of Batman's biggest foes on the Gotham City Police Department, but has not gone to the extremes that others have to apprehend the vigilante. His last partner on the GCPD was Renee Montoya. In the "Officer Down" storyline, an assassin attempts to kill Jim Gordon. Afterwards, a vengeful Bullock reveals the assassin's location to the Mafia, there by indirectly killing the shooter. When evidence of this comes out, he resigned from the force. He then appears occasionally as a private detective in Gotham Central.
Back on the Force
As part of DC's "One Year Later" storyline, Bullock has returned to the GCPD, with the understanding that he is not allowed a single mistake. The circumstances behind this are unknown, the only clue so far being the line, "Six months since Harvey Bullock made his discoveries." Batman and Bullock have made their peace, agreeing to give each other a second chance.
He has made a cameo appearance in Detective Comics when Poison Ivy approaches him and Gordon for protection.
In the Elseworlds series JLA: Another Nail, Bullock is shown to be Gotham's Commissioner of police.
In other media
DC Animated Universe
His animated counterpart in Batman: The Animated Series is only vaguely similar to this persona, and is voiced by Robert Costanzo. While he is still a staunch opponent of the Batman, and has something of a gruff, tough guy exterior, he is much more benign. Bullock tends to alternate slightly in his role and nature. At times, he is nothing more than an oafish, incompetent comic relief character, while other episodes show him in a more serious context as a capable detective. Many episodes blend both of these aspects, thus giving more dimensions to the character. Despite his somewhat corpulent appearance, he is shown in a few episodes to be a capable fighter.
BBC Radio 1 adaption of Knightfall
In Dirk Maggs' adaptation of Batman: Knightfall for BBC Radio 1, Bullock was voiced by Eric Meyers.
DC Universe Online:
Harvey Bullock is portrayed by Edwin Neal in DC Universe Online.
If the player tuned into the GCPD Dispatch using the Cryptographic Sequencer, one of the messages you could unlock made reference to Bullock. Bullock later led a team of GCPD officers to the chaotic ruins of Arkham City following the death of the Joker, but was forced to retreat and call in SWAT forces after an ambush took place that was led by Harley Quinn.
Detective Bullock made an appearance in Batman: Arkham Origins, and Robert Costanzo reprised the role he last played in The New Batman Adventures.