1st Issue Special #4 (July, 1975)
Writer – Robert Kanigher
Penciller – John Rosenberger
Inker – Vince Colletta
Cover Price: $0.25
Well, here we are… it took EIGHT HUNDRED (consecutive) Days to do it, but today we’re finally covering… Lady Cop. Welcome to it!
Kind of a low-key “milestone” piece, sure… but one that just felt right. When we first started this silly journey two years back, I was hoping to share some of my favorites… not so favorites… and just plain oddities from the DC Comics library. Even from the first few days blogging, Lady Cop was one I was dying to share.
The crazy thing is that it’s (in theory) not a terribly difficult book to find… at least online. The book regularly appears at various online retailers… and only goes for a couple bucks. Even though it was at the tippity-top of my wish list… I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger.
I’m very much about “the hunt”. I’ve never ordered a back issue from my “wish list” off the internet… there’s just something about flipping through a bin… and getting the goosebumps when I’d start to notice issues of 1st Issue Special… knowing that one of these days, Lady Cop would be among them.
It was my “white whale” and gave me a reason to be excited to dig through the bins. As insanely frustrating as it is, it’s also kinda nice to have one of those books that just escapes your grasp. It keeps things interesting.
Right now I sit, with the book about six inches to my left… feeling sorta like Kraven at the end of his “Last Hunt”. I’ve bagged the biggest “game”, and I feel like there’s not much left for me to do. Well… I guess we still gotta track down the Dingbats of Danger Street.
We open with a young lady hiding under a bed while a man in Jolly Roger cowboy boots… murders her roommates. Before making his exit, he leaves an Ace of Spades playing card behind. The police arrive on the scene and our survivor, Liza Warner gives them the low-down on what just went down. She tells them about what she was able to see, including the Jolly Roger boots… which leads another officer to inform her that she has the “camera eye of a born police officer”.
… and so, she enrolls in the Police Academy!
She appears to be a natural… not only for her “camera eye”, but she’s also a crack-shot and has a heckuva judo throw. Time passes, and we rejoin Liza at commencement. Before she and the rest of the cadets can be properly graduated, a classmate who flunked out crashes the party… with a live grenade! Our lady is able to intercept the explosive… and tosses it into a nearby garbage can before it can go boom. Not sure how much protection a garbage can might give when we’re talking about a grenade… but we’ll allow it.
With our backstory behind us, we can now move into the “present”. Lady Cop is on the roof of an inner-city building trying to get a creeper to back off from a young lady he’s been hassling. She manages to get him to desist by informing him that “that girl’s underage”. So… I guess roughing up a “legal” woman is a-okay. Or maybe just “not as bad”. Anyhoo, the young lady leaves… just as another hoodlum arrives. They figure, if they can’t have the underage girl… Lady Cop’ll have to do.
She beats them both up pretty quickly… and without even messing up her hair all that much. She arrests them… and leads them into a nearby police cruiser. The entire time they’re threatening to come back and even the score, which tells me that they were never read their Miranda Rights… I figure those are some of those things that “could be used against” them in a Court of Law.
With a job well done, Lady Cop continues along her beat. She comes to an ice cream vendor… and sees that one of the neighborhood kids cannot afford even a single scoop. She goes ahead and buys the tot an ice cream “with all the trimmings”. When I hear that, I picture relish and onions… let’s hope that’s not the case.
With that injustice righted, Lady Cop once more continues on her beat. She is warned by a neighborhood woman that the men she just had put away are quite dangerous. Speaking of dangerous, Lady Cop is being watched by a chain wielding buffoon hanging out on another roof. Lotta people hanging out on roofs in this ‘hood. She continues, and comes across that underage girl from before, who is using a pay phone. She overhears that the girl just found out that her boyfriend… has V.D. Huh… gotta say, I wasn’t expecting that. Upon seeing Lady Cop, Underage Whatsherface rushes off.
Before Lady Cop can give chase, she witnesses a bodega getting robbed by a knife-wielding loon. The robber attempts to flee, and even stabs the grocer in order to break his grip. Liza manages to deflect a stab attempt and throws the nogoodnik into a lamppost… kayoing him.
Turning her attention to the grocer, she deduces that he’s stopped breathing… and so, we get some mouth-to-mouth action. Gotta say, they’re checking off a whole lotta boxes here, aren’t they?
She manages to save his life, and he’s hauled off into an ambulance for observation. She finishes out her day, with visions of V.D. Girl dancing in her head. After her shift, we meet Liza’s boyfriend Hal. According to her fellow officers, this is “Where the Cop becomes a Lady”.
He takes her to the beach… all the while complaining that she’s a police officer. He even goes so far as to refer to her as “a working man”. What an a-hole. Thing is, she might just leave the force… if only she could track down ol’ Jolly Roger Boots and avenge her roommates.
Three days later, we’re back on the beat… and Lady Cop has finally tracked down V.D. Girl, who is standing at the docks all melancholy like. We get the “After School Special” take on venereal disease… and Lady Cop really presses the girl to go get checked out. The gal is too scared, and doesn’t want her father to find out.
Lady Cop insists they tell her father… who, it just so happens works on those very same docks. Now, here’s where it gets weird… er. Nina (V.D. Girl) tells her pop what went down… and he’s rather ticked off. He reels back… then punches… Lady Cop?! Who, in the very next panel looks no worse for wear… I mean, not even a hair out of place… when the wallop nearly knocked her hat off. I’m not sure what’s going on here. Dude also doesn’t get arrested for, ya know, assaulting an officer… He says “Mea Culpa” a bunch of times, which I suppose is “Latin enough”.
As Nina and her Pops walk off, Lady Cop is taken unawares by that chain-wielding dope from before. He somehow wraps her wrist with the chain (without breaking it… the wrist, that is)… and they both wind up in the drink.
Now… if you’re ever going to accost a police officer down by the docks, you might want to make sure you know how to swim, right? Well, Chainy never got that memo… and so, Lady Cop is tasked with saving his worthless life.
And then… we end with Lady Cop asking herself if she’ll ever find “The Killer in Boots”. Spoiler Alert… no.
Well, I gotta say… that wasn’t what I expected!
All I knew about this going in was that Liza’s roommates were murdered… so I just assumed this was going to be twenty-odd pages of revenge-fueled melodrama. I was also expecting to be greatly disappointed by that fact.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case at all! The “Killer in Boots” was just the motivational measure for Liza joining the force… and was clearly being used for a long-term payoff… if only “Lady Cop” ever became an ongoing series. Weird thing about this issue, usually when we discuss a 1st Issue Special, there’s a text page inside giving the “story behind the story” in lieu of a letters page or some such… we don’t get that here. Also… I was expecting a little note saying “If you want more Lady Cop, please write to such and such address”… but, we get none’a that either! Wonder if they didn’t have high hopes for Lady Cop… or maybe they just assumed people would be writing in by the thousands, and figured they didn’t need to promote? Yeah, I’m sure that’s probably it.
What I really wasn’t expecting was the… relevancy? Is that the word we’re looking for? I mean, when I’m looking at a comic from the 1970’s, venereal disease really isn’t a topic I expect to read about. I guess when you put out a book with “Lady Cop” on the cover you don’t really expect kids to be all that jazzed about picking it up… right?
We should also talk about Liza’s beat a little bit. She had to have been assigned the most dangerous block on the planet, right? I mean, forget cops… this neighborhood needs its own sector designation and own devoted troop of Green Lanterns! You can’t walk five feet without somebody swinging a weapon in your direction! I mean, Liza doesn’t even look distressed by any of this… which tells me, she’s dodging chains, knives, and would be-rapists on a daily basis.
The art here, I thought was really good. Not terribly familiar with Rosenberger/Diehl… but know that he came from romance comics. That’s probably what made him a good fit for a “street level” book like this. My only quibble is that weird page where Papa V.D. punches Lady Cop in the face… that was some weird flow!
I’m really rather surprised that Lady Cop hasn’t made any sort of resurgence in comics… especially in the times we’re currently living in. Seems like a natural fit… I’ll bet she probably could’ve had a good 4-6 issues (before being cancelled) during the DCYOU days!
Overall… for novelty’s sake, and to follow one of the very few demandments of this humble blog, I’d definitely tell ya to grab this if you come across it in the wild. Hell, add it to an online order if you’ve already got an order in the works… won’t set you back much.
Was it worth the wait? Ya know… it’s not often I feel this way, but I think it was. The story isn’t going to rock any socks or blow any minds… but it has just the right amount of weirdness to it, that I can’t not love it.
With all that said… we’ve come to the part of our milestone celebration where I become a sappy mess. Eight Hundred days is a very long time… besides my wife, I think this blog is the longest steady “relationship” I’ve had in quite a long time… and to think, when I started it, I thought it would be “really cool” (and almost an impossibility) to blog daily for an entire… week.
In our time together, we’ve celebrated holidays… birthdays… graduations… anniversaries… all sorts of things. We’ve covered some old favorites… discovered some new favorites… taken part in blog-hops and team-ups… and we’ve also discussed both Millennium and Superman: Grounded.
I’ve also been afforded the opportunity to meet and share with some really great people… like my Pod-ner, Reggie… the Weird Science Get Fresh Crew, the mighty Super-Blog Team-Up, the ParliPodders, DC in the 80’s, the #BestEventEver gang, the Top-Secret Podcast Partners… and anybody and everybody who has reached out! And yeah, I realize how silly it is to write an Oscar speech for a blog post that (at best) a couple of hundred people might see… but, that train has already left the station. I’m normally a (shocker) pretty introverted dude… so, opportunities to meet and befriend folks (especially online) is (or was) a pretty rare thing for me.
I’m happy that I’ve stuck with this as long as I have. As with every milestone we hit, I begin questioning just how much longer we’re going to keep at this. I always see a “hundredth” post as a good way to make an escape…
… but, we’ve still gotta wrap up that #Action100 thing, don’t we? Guess we’re not about to shutter the windows and dim the lights just yet.
By this point… I’m babbling. If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU. If you’re a regular reader… THANK YOU. If you’ve somehow stumbled across this post, and read it through… THANK YOU. I guess what I’m trying to say is… ya know, Thanks.