Some quick silver

This will be a brief post, since I am still just getting traction in my newly increased class load.

Some comics books are prized for their art and some for their stories; some are valued for the appearance of the work of a particular individual or because they represent watershed moments in the medium or in the industry.

And some comics are cherished because it is impossible not to like them:

DC Special Vol 5, No. 16, Spring 1975
Stories by Gardner Fox, Bob Kanigher, John Broome, Otto Binder
Art by Carmine Infantino, Joe Giella, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Wayne Boring

A concept so high it is positively stratospheric.

Credits that read like a Who's Who of comics.

All for four bits. What else could you ask for?

A text page, of course!

A Hostess Twinkies ad with great art!

A vocational training ad with really crappy art! (It also makes me wonder what you'd be learning to work on at CIE in 1975: consumer VCRs, CD players, and computers were still a ways off. Maybe fixing hi-fis?)

Lots of wonderful memories in this; that's why I have it, I guess. It's less a single issue of a mediocre rotation title and more a symbol of something bigger.

If you're really interested in the stories inside this comic, there's lots of coverage on the web, including this really funny piece by Calamity John Irons.


This is what I am going to call my next blog. Here's the banner:

In the meanwhile, I wanted to let you know that updates of TLS will be less frequent than planned. I had originally decided to start this blog now because I had a fairly light teaching load this quarter. Well, a colleague went out on a planned leave earlier than expected, and I have picked up those classes, so I went from a .6 load to a 1.6 load overnight. I'll be playing catch-up ball for a while and didn't want you to think that I was just slacking. I have enjoyed the chance to be reflective as well as the responses from the community, so I'll keep at it, just on a reduced schedule.

Extra special

Last episode, we were looking at the Special Invasion Edition of the Daily Planet, and marveling at how well DC had captured the "look-and-feel" of a great metropolitan newspaper in this novelty item.

This time around, I'd like to look a little more closely at some of the contents. In addition to articles that worked to develop in-story continuity for the Invasion saga, the DC staff was obviously having a great time playing with detail.

Let's look at the bylines first. Here are all the names listed as writers of the various articles along with what I think I know about them:

Alfonso McGeahyua (I have no idea who this might be, but it sounds a bit like a Denny O'Neil pseudonym))
Dan Raspler (editor)
R.E. Greenberger (writer)
Kevin Dooley (editor)
Robert Loren Fleming (writer)
Renee' Witterstaetter (editor/colorist/letterer, and the only byline to also be listed in the 'real" credits - as Assistant Editor)
Michael Delepine (letterer?)
Barbara Kesel (writer)
John Mahoney (no idea - Byrne apparently had a character with the same name in Superman at about the same time, but he was an astronaut)
Don Lambert (big-time comic collector)
Perry White
Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter columnist
Albert DeGuzman (letterer)
Paul Levitz (sometime DC president)
Catherine Grant
Nola Krowdish (the advice columnist, and I guess this was a made-up name)

(Hey, there's no Lois Lane - what's up with that? I can't remember if anything happened to her in the Invasion story.)

Oddly, the three sports reporters are also blanks or near-blanks:

Bud Sheldon
Murphy Breen
Maura Healy (unless this is Alex Ross's lawyer)

Now, I have no idea whether the real folks listed actually wrote the pieces with their names next to them; in some cases it would make sense, but in others it wouldn't necessarily do. And if some of them did write the articles, then where did they pick the names that didn't? There's a story there, and we don't know it...

Here's the masthead for the Daily Planet:

Who the heck are all these folks? My guess is that at least some of them are office types from DC, but I really don't know, except for the nod to E. Nelson Bridwell (which is totally cool).

There's a similar mystery with regard to photographs. Take a look at the sports page:

Besides figuring out who "Bud Sheldon" is - whose photo is that on Bud's column? Anyone recognize him? There are photos like this throughout the paper. Try these:

I think that first photo is of Jeannete Kahn, the longtime DC publisher. Anyone recognize any of the others?

The photo feature also highlights another charming characteristic of the work: the integration of minor and supporting DC characters throughout the stories and features. It's a geekish name-dropping heaven. Here's Cat Grant's gossip column:

Johnny Nevada! Roy Raymond! Morgan Edge! Jack Ryder! Steve Lombard! It's DC's version of a Love Boat cast.

Like the news articles, some of the continuity-referential stuff was also pretty straight. Here's Perry White's editorial:

Pretty much an excellent bringing-to-life of what we had long been shown as the Planet's stance on superheroing.

Here's Clark's byline graphic and a bit of his column. Looks and reads smack in character:

A lot of the other non-news stuff was just plain funny. Here's the TV listings:

I think it's cool that in the DCU, Nipsy Russel got a show instead of Bill Cosby. And I think that the RTV lineup is hilarious. (Does anyone else remember when MTV actually played music videos?) I love the combination of DCU characters' shows and parodies of then-current series. Anyone who watched TV in the eighties should get all the references.

Of course, even in the midst of an alien invasion, newspapers will print comic strips. The ones in the Planet were a great mix. Two were shout-outs to old school DC fillers:

(I loved this feature.)

(Hey, how about a mini-series teaming up Casey with Liza Warner?)

I add these last two because I think the first one is funny regardless of its context, and because the second one is self-referential on so many levels.

There you have it - as far as I know, the only copy of the Metropolis Daily Planet published on Earth-Prime. If you ever have a chance to pick one of these up, do it. It's great fun.

Extra! Extra!

Back in 1988, DC had a title-spanning Big Event called Invasion. The main story concerned a bunch of alien races joining together to, uh, invade Earth, partially just to figure out what's up with all these pesky superheroes. (This story either introduced or elaborated on the whole metagene nonsense, but I won't get started on this whole trend of needing find consistent threads in superhero origins - metagenes, mutants, The Green, The Speed Force, whatever.) There were three stand-alone tales (80-pg. Giants!) and, of course, the story crossed over to just about every title for a month or so.

I was more confused than impressed by it all: I wasn't buying a whole lot of titles when it came out and I never did quite get my head around post-Crisis continuity anyway (but then, neither did DC editorial, apparently), so I am sure I didn't understand it as well as I could have. I remember the art being terribly uneven and the story being not much. When the collection went out the door, Invasion went along.

But there was one Invasion-related item that I keep and treasure, and re-read occasionally (although it's not physically in the shortbox):

That's right, a copy of The Daily Planet for November 4, 1988 - the day after the alien races invaded Earth.

This is an actual sixteen-page newspaper: four sheets of 23 x 16 inch paper (a little heavier and slicker than regular newsprint, but not quite magazine stock) folded to make a slightly-bigger-than-tabloid-size (16 x 11.5) paper, with no staples or binding. It was sold folded in half, the way full-size newspapers traditionally are, but it came in a plastic bag. It is a great artifact, and I don't know if any company has ever had another product like it.

I have to hand it to DC - they did a great job sustaining the conceit, and they filled the paper with lots of references and jokes - starting with the front page, which echoes a New York Daily News headline from the seventies.

Page 2 contains the contents - "Today in the Daily Planet" - and articles on the invasion, both datelined Washington, DC. This might be one of the few instances of a comics-related mention of Michael Dukakis (President Reagan is quoted as hoping the American people will join together behind his successor, whoever it is.) The stories fill in the Invasion story with some credible political and military background.

Page 3 has another news story from New York, a jump from page two, and a Know Your Aliens! feature, with photos.

On page 4 readers could see a map of the world with color icons representing various events of the previous 24 hours, and another story, datelined Moscow (the USSR was still around then).

Page 5 held two more stories, one from Sydney (that includes news of the death of the Tasmanian Devil) and one from Washington (that reports the death of Arani Caulder of [one of the versions of] the Doom Patrol. It also contains a sidebar on previous alien invasions that highlights a number of JLA stories (and contains a reference to V as well).

Page 6 had two more stories, from the Pacific and Cape Canaveral, and another sidebar on bombings.

The Metro section started on page 7, and included subway and bus conditions as well as local stories on local disruption caused by the invasion. It includes a picture of Metropolis Mayor Berkowitz and accounts of philanthropic response from Lex Luthor to the situation.

Two Metropolis stories filled page 8, along with one story from Washington on pending paranormal legislation.

The Planet's masthead is on page 9, along with an editorial from Perry White (yay, Perry - one of my all-time favorite characters) and "Metro Report," a column by Clark Kent (didn't Byrne make Clark a columnist rather than a reporter?). This page also contains the inquiring photographer feature.

Page 10 is the Business section, and has stories on the stock market and Lexcorp, as well as charts of the NYSE and gold prices.

"City Life" is on page 11, with a film review from Cat Grant, an advice column, and Teen Beam by Sidney Mellon (does anyone else remember that enfant terible persona?).

Page 12 has the TV listings and movie ads, while page 13 has the crossword puzzle and comic strips.

Cat Grant returns on page 14 with a gossip column, featured alongside the horoscope and the soap opera round-up.

Sports coverage fills page 15 and the last page.

Throughout all this content, the piece manages to maintain the illusion of being a real newspaper while at the same time giving a nod and a wink to a lot of DC history and personalities.

All the minutiae of a newspaper is here: consistent headline fonts and by-line borders; appropriate formatting and positioning of stories; ad placement. The text of the news articles is a little more contemplative and less breathless than would be expected in a newspaper extra, but the voice in the features rigs true. The newspaper photos are either real photos or drawings by the likes of Kyle Baker, Eric Peterson, and Dennis Janke, done in greyscale and in a non-comixy style. Willing suspension of disbelief is pretty easy.

Of course, DC staff had a field day with jokes. While the invasion-related stories are serious enough, much of the issue is filled with sly references to the DCU. More on those in the next installment.

In the meantime, here's the liner/cover of this special edition: the cardstock insert that was in the plastic bag with the paper. This is what you would have seen on the racks. What's the name of this member of the Newsboy Legion again?

A crossover of sorts

I guess I would have to put myself firmly in the DC camp, at least if we were going to buy into the whole "there's two kinds of people in the world - DC fans and Marvel fans" thing.

Of course, at my comic-buying peak (1971 to 1980 or so), I bought everything that came out from the Big Two (which were, for all practical purposes, the only two most of the time). Well, maybe not everything: I got all the superheroes (solos, groups, and team-ups); all the war books (the great DC ones and the crappy Marvel ones); all the westerns (even the reprint titles), and all the one-offs like Kirby's In the Days of the Mob. I didn't buy Archies or funny animals or romance, and stayed away from the more expensive stuff, like the Warren magazines that were starting to come out, but I would walk to the Bay Ridge Stationery every Tuesday and come home with ten or more funnybooks. At the same time, I was backfilling some series, and getting close to having complete runs of titles such as JLA and Daredevil. I was sketching as many (or more) shots of Spider-man in my school notebooks as I was the Atom.

But in sensibility, I was always a DC man. A lot of my friends talked about how Marvel was "more realistic" or "more mature" or "more sophisticated" or more-something-or-other; I guess I never saw it, at least enough to let it make a difference to me.

That's all a prelude to the next item in The Shortbox, a two-issue story that is technically a Marvel adventure, but which is DC in more ways than one.

The Avengers 85 & 86, 1970-71
Roy Thomas, Writer
John Buscema & Sal Buscema, Artists (respectively)

Before we even get inside the books, look at those covers -- plastered with word balloons and/or blurbs, portraying (or approximating) a scene from the story, showing characters who are describing the action that is taking place to no one in particular -- and tell me how they are more anything than any standard Silver Age cover. Looking at issue 86, I can squint and turn the ghostly heroes into Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash without half-trying, and it looks fine.

The blurb on that issue is the key to the significance of this story, although technically it is not the Squadron Sinister that returns, but the Squadron Supreme that debuts. But that distinction hardly matters, since the Squadron is the Justice League anyway.

See, about a year or so earlier, Roy Thomas had written some JLA-analogues into an Avengers story as villains: The Squadron Sinister. It was apparently intended as a one-time homage.

These issues were both a reprise of that idea and the development of a mutual homage, since some Avengers-analogues appeared in JLA the same month as this story began. In-story, the new faux-JLAers in The Avengers were not the same folks as the earlier ones, were heroes (The Squadron Supreme) instead of villains, and included more members than the original four.

In fact, all three groups went on to have more-or-less extensive careers and the usual tangled continuities; you can read all about that elsewhere on the net, maybe starting here, and it's worth the time. I just thought it would be fun to take a look at an early, less complicated version.

First of all, this is the Avengers line-up were dealing with:

The Avengers line-up is like the cast of Saturday Night Live: there are good times and bad times. I think this bunch is pretty solid, although I am no Avengers historian. I remember liking this version of the Black Knight, thinking that Clint Barton was an even bigger jerk as Goliath than he was as Hawkeye, getting frequently bored with Wanda and Pietro, and, of course, loving the John Buscema art no matter what. (I also think that John drew some of the best Superman art going, and wish he had done more.)

These Avengers, a few seconds from a tussle in another dimension, are teleporting home, except that four of them (Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Goliath) wind up on an Earth-One analogue. After some unexplained glimpse of a future global disaster, they run into the Squadron Supreme at their headquarters (unclear antecedent intentional) and, of course, fight them. Here's the roll call of the JLA, er, the SS:

Nighthawk is a pretty good Batman stand-in. He's not much like the hardcase, master strategist we know today, but more like the adventurous detective of the time.

Tom Thumb is not a whole lot like the Atom, except that he's little (I'd guess about two feet tall). He doesn't change size, but has lots of gadgets.

Lady Lark might be a little too close to that era's version of Black Canary, even for homage.

American Eagle is Hawkman, with a layer of Captain America on top and streusel swirl of stupidity. (Later versions changed the name and concept to be more like Hawkman, or at least less annoying; I believe the new character is revealed to be the Eagle's son.) Hawkeye (couldn't they think of a different archery-related name?) filled the Green Arrow slot. I have found that all archery-gimmick characters are about the same, and this Hawkeye is not distinctive (except for dropping some, but not all, of his aitches in what I think is an English accent.)

After clearing up the misunderstandings (well, with Nighthawk, anyway - they leave the others unconscious; I guess it just seemed easier), Nighthawk and the Avengers head off to Cosmopolis (how cool -- a mock-DCU place name!) to find the other SS members in order to stop them from launching a rocket that will (unbeknownst to them) trigger the end of the world. Of course, the Avengers have to fight them first.

Hyperion is the SS Superman, although he seems more just "the big muscle" rather than "the Big Red H," if you know what I mean.

Doctor Spectrum is the Green Lantern counterpart. He appears to be the leader and seems a lot smarter than Hal Jordan; maybe that's because he doesn't get hit in the head once in the entire story. Whizzer (another recycled name) is the Flash, with a pretty goofy costume, except for the goggles, which I always thought were a nice touch.

These three and Nighthawk form the "classic" Squadron Supreme (i.e., the same characters as the Squadron Sinister) and it is with these four that our four Avengers team up to face the villain of the piece (who was behind that deadly-rocket business), a ten-year old boy:

Just your standard-issue super-genius, social-misfit, tool-of-the-government, exposed-to-radiation-at-birth, prepubescent evil mastermind.

In a clear nod to typical JSA and JLA plot arcs (not to mention the original "crisis" crossovers), the heroes confront Brain-Child (yeah, that's his name) on his island fortress (to stop his back-up plan for destroying the Earth) by breaking up into four pairs (matching up heroes from each group) and advancing against separate threats. In one episode from this struggle, we get a veritable catalogue of Silver-Age goodness, as well as proof that DC heroes are better than the Marvel heroes, even when they are DC-like:

Ongoing exposition: Don't just show the action - explain it as well!

Green Lantern butt-shot: Well, it's actually Doc Spectrum's butt, and it's not very good shot, but I'm counting it.

A giant amoeba: How silver can you get?

Bonus giant amoeba goofiness: Doesn't the nucleus seem like an eye, watching the heroes at all times?

Poorly-used or self-conscious slang: Watch the Power Prism do its thing!

Irony: Don't blast an amoeba in two, you dopes! Especially super-adaptable ones.

Proof DC heroes (even Hal Jordan) are smarter than Marvel heroes: Look at that last panel. In the same circumstances, Green Lantern would have zapped J'onn J'onzz's amoeba into a big wastebasket or something, and J'onn would have blown GL's amoeba away with Martian breath, and they would have shared a homely moment about teamwork. These guys just stay smooshed for the rest of the fight.

So, the combined groups eventually reach victory only when a battered Goliath uses an unconscious Hyperion as an arrow in a makeshift giant bow to shoot Brain-Child's control pod. I'm kidding. No, I'm not kidding.

After de-geniusifying the kid, the Avengers are somehow dragged back home by a combination of Mjolnir's power and Stark technology. The story ends with the Vision wondering if they are back on their own Earth or perhaps on yet a third Earth. Shades of a Crisis that was still over two decades away! Or Sliders, even. (That musing must have been the more-sophisticated part.)

Looking back on the story now, I don't think it has aged particularly well. While the art is splendid and the action is fun, I have skimmed over much of Thomas's purple prose and heavy-handed literary allusions as well as several big plot holes with thin patches over them. But when this comic came out, the Superman/Spider-man crossover special was still about five years off; seeing a JLA/Avengers crossover, or any DC/Marvel crossover, even in a disguised form, was really quite a treat, especially for a sometime switch-hitter like myself.

Additional notes:

In 38 pages, this story has one splash page, 31 six- or nine-panel grids (or close), and six other page layouts.

Remember way back there at the beginning of this post, when I talked about backfilling my collection? That was when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and there weren't many comic shops. My buddies and I would take the bus from the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan (I lived in Brooklyn) out to this store, whose ad was in these issues:

I got their catalog in the mail, a ditto-copy of a manually-typed list; the 'e' was blurry, so it always looked like Groon Lantorn. We'd bus out, pick up an armload of back issues, grab a grilled cheese at the Woolworth's, and read most of 'em on the bus and subway rides home.

Geez, I sound like Wilford Brimley.

Team-up Time

DC Comics Presents was a great book with a crappy title. Published from 1978 to 1986, this was Superman's version of Batman's Brave & Bold: each month, Superman would team up with a different hero. The series began with a classic trope, a Flash-Superman race. As the series progressed, sometimes the guest would be an established star, sometimes a supporting character being revived, sometimes a new character being promoted. There was great story arc in the late 20s - early 30s numbers (with Green Lantern, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, and my second-favorite Starman) that introduced Mongul (and not incidentally included an insert for the premiere of the New Teen Titans).

I had all that stuff, almost a complete run, and when I sold them, this is the sole issue of DCCP that I kept:

DCCP 59, July 1983. "Ambush Bug II" Story and breakdowns: Keith Giffen; Additional Dialogue: Paul Levitz; Finishes: Kurt Schaffenberger.

The plot of this issue is simple: Ambush Bug hitchhikes a ride with a time-traveling Superman and causes chaos in the 30th century (the era of the Legion of Super-Heroes) until he can be corralled again. It's all just a simple framework on which to hang a great deal of fun.

First of all, Giffen's layouts are dynamic and energetic throughout; even the pauses in action (not that there are many) seem relatively frenetic.

Schaffenberger is a wonderful match for art duty here. This Golden- and Silver-Age great, perhaps best known for Lois Lane, is not just a token link to the grand tradition of comic illustration; his command of the subtleties of facial expression and body language make the story click.

Plus, he makes Superman look like he just stepped out of a Fleischer cartoon!

The earnest and helpful young man with Superman is Polar Boy, the leader of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, comprised of rejected LSH applicants. These losers were a wonderful secondary story in the world of the LSH for as long as I can remember, and they fit wonderfully with the mood of an Ambush Bug story. I have always had a soft spot for these guys, and apparently so has Giffen: the story is means to parade them all across the page, from Porcupine Pete and Infectious Lass to Color Kid and Antennae Lad, as well as the aforementioned Polar Boy (who actually spends most of the story unconscious). Ambush Bug is such a menace that the Subs even call in their Auxiliary! In the words of Science Police Chief Zendak, "Lord give me strength."
(BTW, I never understood why Polar Boy never made it into the LSH. Most of the other rejects had unworkable flaws in their powers; for example, Stone Boy could turn to stone, but he couldn't move while rocky. PB has typical "cold guy" powers and I can't recall a problem with them. It must have been politics.)

Ambush Bug himself is clearly in early days here; this is only his second appearance ever in the DCU, and it shows. While there is a Bugs Bunny-ish timbre to his mischief, he functions more-or-less as a traditional foe, in the troublemaker club rather than the evil nemesis club. He still needs little flying robotic bugs to facilitate his teleportation, there's no breaking of the fourth wall, and he often acts a lot like a typical supervillian,

only funnier:

(That's a piece of Superman's wedding cake, I think; Ambush Bug was ransacking the 30th century Superman Museum, so I can't imagine what else it might be. Oh, and he's wearing Superman's cape -- he stole it earlier. You get the picture.)

I like this Ambush Bug. The later version was great for self-conscious meta-commentary on comics and for obvious satire, but early on, he could fit quite well with the internal consistency of the DCU and still be the springboard for superhero comedy:

When I get tired of all the hubbub about darkness and meanness in comics (and it's not all peaches and cream in the short box), this comic is a great big glass of organic ginger ale: crisp, bubbly, and well-made.

It's still Friday...

.. and I'm here, after a fashion. The regular Friday update will be a little delayed. I just wanted to say thanks to Ragnell and Scipio and Amy & Franny for the links (you can find them in the sidebar as Written World, Absorbascon, and So So Silver Age, respectively). More to come soon!

The Saga of Liza Warner

In September of 1974, Police Woman debuted on television. This spin-off of Joe Wambaugh's fact-based Police Story series starred Angie Dickinson as Sgt. Pepper Anderson, an undercover officer for the LAPD. Shortly thereafter, in the July, 1975 issue of 1st Issue Special (a Showcase-like tryout title), DC Comics introduced their own female law enforcement agent: Liza Warner, Lady Cop!

Story by Robert Kanigher, Art by John Rosenberger and Vince Colletta

Liza has a fairly typical "origin" story. She witnesses the murder of her two roommates by a serial killer who leaves playing cards (the ace of spades) at the murder scene; although she could only see his death's head cowboy boots, she vows to find him.

Unlike what most other comics characters in a similar situation would do, Liza does not hone her body to physical perfection, don a colorful costume, and become a vigilante. No, she just joins the police academy, as a relatively sane but somewhat committed (or even driven) person might actually do.

In the academy, she is taught firearms skills and hand-to-hand techniques comprising "three karate kicks -- three judo throws -- the wrestling tactic of "bridging" -- boxing -- [and] defensive blocking." (I don't know why the martial arts curriculum is so limited; maybe this was a low-budget academy.) Liza proves her mettle at the graduation ceremony when she stops a disgruntled flunkee from distrupting the ceremony with a grenade.

With congratulations from the chief, Liza's five-page origin story is over - now Officer Warner can shine in her own 15-page saga!

Warner walks a beat in a tough inner-city neighborhood (where else?). In short order, she rescues a young girl (who quickly disappears) from manhandling by a local thug and his main goon (taking the latter out with a serious head-butt); buys an ice cream cone for a poor child; stops a knife-wielding robber with her hat; and gives mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the robber's victim, a grocery store clerk. All on her first shift.

Y'know, I was a cop for almost six years and I never did any of those things. But then, I didn't walk a beat in a tough inner-city neighborhood.

After a break for a beach-date with her honey, Hal ("Here's where the cop becomes a lady!"), Warner is back on the beat, and finally finds her vanished victim. The young girl is has been in hiding because... well, let Lady Cop fill you in:

Yes kids, we used to call it VD, not STD, and while it was still a threat, it could be cured with antibiotics - and its spread could be prevented with sylvan metaphors! Well, while things weren't really all that simple, pre-AIDS sexuality was indeed a different thing than it is today.

Anyway, Warner's PSA sets the girl and her father straight, although Warner does have to take a left hook to the jaw (without flinching) in order to get dad's full attention. And all's well that ends well.

Oh yeah - except that the head-butted goon from the first fight comes back to mess up Warner with a chain. He obviously doesn't know who he's dealing with: she promptly and casually throws him into the harbor, where he would have drowned without her intervention and the timely arrival of a police boat. (If this had become an ongoing series, I would like to have seen that guy return every issue to get his clock cleaned in a different fashion each time. It would have made a great running gag. And then he and Warner could have had a cup of coffee together for the Christmas issue.)

So, the story actually ends with Officer Warner wondering - of course - if she will ever find the killer in the cowboy boots. As far as I know, she never got the chance to look - Lady Cop made no more appearances.

I like this book. While it suffers from all the faults of silver-age writing and has not aged very well, it was obviously an attempt to portray what would have been called at the time "a liberated woman," and is thus redeemed to a degree. Liza Warner gets respect and camaraderie from her fellow officers, without condescension. On their date, Liza is given grief by Hal for being a career woman; in response, she is unapologetic and doesn't give an inch. Liza Warner is tough, smart, and compassionate - as unrealistic and as admirable as any comic book hero ought to be. I wish she had had a longer career - I'll bet she could teach those folks at Gotham P.D. or the Metropolis Special Crime Unit a thing or two.

A few other notes:

Although Liza is seen at the firing range during the academy sequence, she is never shown handling or even carrying a gun after she graduates. I don't know if this was in Bob Kanigher's script or if the artists just left it out.

The city in which Liza lives is never named, but the police uniforms say "NYPD."

Liza is referred to as "chick" seven times in the story.