Sunday 30 May 2021

1st Issue Special #4 - Lady Cop!

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

1st Issue Specia #4 - Lady Cop
There comes a time in every blogger's life when he must confront the inevitable.

And that inevitable is Lady Cop.

Lady Cop is, of course, a legend in comic circles and probably owes nothing at all to the TV show Police Woman.

But how does it go?

One day, Liza Warner's minding her own business, lying under her bed, when a man wearing skull and crossbones boots decides to murder her flatmates before leaving behind a playing card with the Ace of Spades on it.

Needless to say, this makes her feel bad and, so, because an officer of the law's told her she has great powers of observation, she decides to become a cop, so she can track down and bring the mysterious killer to justice.

After what seems like five minutes of training, she graduates but the ceremony's interrupted by an ex-trainee who flunked the academy and reacts as anyone would, by opting to explode everyone present. Fortunately, Liza bursts into action, smacks him one, grabs his grenade off him and disposes of it in a trash can.

1st Issue Special #4, Lady Cop, grenade disposal
From that moment on, no longer is she just Liza Warner. She is now, indisputably and for always, Lady Cop.

Instantly upon starting work, Lady Cop's plunged into a world of violence and VD.

Fortunately, it's not her own VD but that of a young girl who she discovers being threatened, on a rooftop, by her appalling boyfriend.

1st Issue Special #4, Lady Cop, headbutt
When he tries to foist his attentions upon our heroine, she arrests him and his bezzie mate but, as he's taken away in the car, he swears he will have his revenge upon Lady Cop.

Not that she cares. She's still on the lookout for the man in the boots.

And for the girl with the clap, who's run away.

Still, a woman doesn't live on arrests alone and, so, she takes a break from crime-fighting, to buy an ice cream for a black girl with no money.

1st Issue Special #4, Lady Cop is an endangered species
That done, she, instantly, has to deal with a man robbing a grocery store. He knifes her in the arm but that's not going to stop Lady Cop and she swiftly beats him up.

But the grocer's stopped breathing!

Presumably, this is due to a heart attack, rather than ennui and thus it is that she has to give him mouth to mouth. This is the third occasion, so far in the tale, where her lips have met those of another.

Speaking of which, Lady Cop might be a one-woman justice machine but she's still a human, which means that, the day's work done, she then has to get some canoodling-time in with her never-before-mentioned boyfriend who demands she quits her job, so his friends'll stop laughing at him.

You might think she'd dump him at this point but she's too busy worrying about catching the man who killed her flatmates.

It's at this moment you realise we're about to get the shock revelation that her boyfriend is the killer.

Except we don't. We get more of VD Girl who Lady Cop now convinces to tell her father about her disease.

At first, her father takes it well by trying to punch her in the face but, with a quick speech, Lady Cop gets him to calm down and that's that sorted.

1st Issue Special #4, Lady Cop, VD
Except, no sooner has she done that than a friend of VD Girl's boyfriend appears and attacks Lady Cop with a chain. She and he plunge into the river but he can't swim, so she has to rescue him.

And, as the day ends and Lady Cop stands there, looking sideways at some buildings, she wonders if she'll ever catch her flatmates' killer.

And did she ever catch him?

I don't know. Apparently, after this, she made the odd appearance in other comics, including the Atom's and has even shown up on TV, in a more sinister form but what became of her mission, I've no idea.

What's good about this comic is it doesn't bore you. Robert Kanigher's script just rattles along at an insane pace, with incident piled upon incident, until you start to wonder how the poor woman doesn't have an untreatable level of PTSD before she even reaches her first lunch break.

It's also pleasingly drawn by John Rosenberger and Vince Colletta in that DC Romance comic house-style we're all familiar with.

1st Issue Special #4, Lady Cop deserves combat pay
What's bad about it is pretty much all the stuff that's good about it. It's so dramatic and incident-packed that it quickly becomes ludicrous, especially as Liza has no space at all to develop as an actual human being and just becomes a walking paragon.

Also, to be honest, the violence is a bit too sexy for my liking. I can't help feeling it's not sending out a good message to readers, and the dialogue's often ridiculous, to boot. I know VD's no laughing matter but Lady Cop's repeated pronouncements about it quickly turn it into one.

And there is, of course, the fact that everyone she encounters, from her own colleagues to criminals to victims, instantly takes to calling her, "Lady Cop," on sight.

You know what it all reminds me of?

Atlas Comics. With its rampant drama and lack of believable characterisation, it feels just like an Atlas comic but without the cannibalism.

So, this means I can't recommend it?

Too right I can.

It's Lady Cop. It's unique. It's magnificent and nobody should go to their grave without having read it.

1st Issue Special #4, Lady Cop, Ace of Spades


Dave S said...

One of the strangest- but nicely drawn- comics I've ever read. I recently sold my copy as part of a clear out, and read it before sending it as a way of revisiting it one last time. It's actually a good read, but i wouldn't want an ongoing series in the same vein.

I have some old Lois Lane comics drawn by John Rosenberger and they are really nice too.

Steve W. said...

That reminds me. I definitely need to review more Lois Lane comics, at some point.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 70s were all American city cops sent off to walk a beat on their own, unarmed? Or just the hot lady ones?

Great review Steve, as spot on as ever. Seeing as this comes a year after your post on 1st Issue Special #3 does that mean we can expect you to do the Dingbats Of Danger Street at the end of May 2023?


Anonymous said...

Ist Issue Special was a bit of a misnomer, as it didn't lead to any new series (apart from Warlord). If mid-70s DC editors had any brains, they'd have reduced the risk of a new title by combining ideas they'd tried out.
Imagine a Lady Cop Of Danger Street comic by Jack Kirby...


Anonymous said...

BRAVO. You’ve nailed this one perfectly. The insane pacing, the preposterousness, the venereal disease (in a Code-approved DC comic from 1975), the toxic masculinity, the blandly-generic-but-somehow-appealing art. And yes, YES, by gum, it DOES give off those weird-ass Atlas Comics vibes (maybe it’s that moodily colored, blurb-free Giordano cover that seals the deal?)

I first read this gem just a few years ago. I was going through my collection and realized I was only missing a few of the 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL run (Lady Cop and the two Simon/Grandenetti issues, Green Team and Outsiders) and it triggered my OCD something awful. The next day I visited my LCS and they happened to have all three. Dirt cheap too! I was expecting to just file them away with the rest of the run, but the Giordano cover intrigued me, so I unbagged it, gave it a read and was HUGELY entertained.

And I too felt the need to track down more Rosenberger/Colletta comics after reading it. Ended up with a stack of LOIS LANE and SUPERMAN FAMILY comics. They did a few issues of SUPERGIRL too, if I remember correctly. None of them rise to the level of Lady Cop, sad to say, but they’re charming enough.

Anyhow — a mini-treatise on the cockeyed glory of Lady Cop was just about the last thing I ever expected to find on your blog on a Sunday afternoon. But it kinda made my day....


Anonymous said...

Well, if you're GONNA have a run-in with a cop and get cuffed and stuffed, you can do a lot worse. Some a' the cops around here look like Frankenstein. They got a guy who looks like a bald, white Hulk. 6'7" at least.
Heck, it might be worth going downtown on a minor beef just to get handcuffed and searched by this chick.
I bet the local slobs are purposely committing misdemeanors in broad daylight.
"Hey! Officer! I'm jaywalkin' over here..."
"Wait! Ma'am! Don't bother with that clown. I'm over here urinating in public! I deserve more than a verbal warning!"


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - this is simply a crackin review buddy! You've outdone yourself! You deserve a Lordship!

I do recall seeing this on the spinners wondering if I could use it or not, but satisfied myself with a read thru whilst in the News Agency.

It might have sold more copies if she sported nylons a la Black Canary or Zatana?

Alas, I don't know if any of the unique creations for 1st Issue Special got much traction? I do recall reading several issues of a character called Static. Perhaps he started there? He was black teen with a skateboard and some other kind of electrical power?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP -

My father who just turned 86 on Friday is asking me to take a trip with him to the Dakotas in a few months. They are the only two states of the USA he has not visited. After your description of the coppers, I don't know...

Maybe the lady cops in Dakota work the fracking wells on their off hours to earn a little extra geech? And then the fracking chemicals have infiltrated them a la Luke Cage?

I can tell you that here in my village south west of Chicago there are some female cops who look fairly much like Lady Cop. We are very civilized here. I like it that way.

Anonymous said...

Actually, we have a pretty good police force here in Sioux Falls, Charlie. Generally speaking, they don't shoot people or beat 'em up. They exorcise a great deal of restraint.
They will taze a guy, I've seen that happen, but he was really asking for it. He was violent and outta his head, probably on meth. They did not beat him up.
In Missouri he might have been shot dead.
My last experience with the local gendarmes was some years ago. I was walking home from a bar in the early hours in January. Perhaps "staggering" would be a better term.
It was below zero outside. We have a similar climate to lower Siberia.
Anyway, the local cops have marching orders to scoop up every drunken slob when the temperature gets below zero and then toss that clown into the drunk tank for 48 hours. This is so they don't gotta pick up a bunch of human popsicles the next morning. Lotta Natives around here, and they don't hold their booze too good.
So I got scooped up. It wasn't that bad, really. They had a T.V. in there.
The food they served was an abomination. I wouldn't feed it to the dog belonging to my worst enemy. I lost five pounds in two days.
Anyway, my second night, they hauled in this bozo who was speaking in tongues. They hadda toss his crazy ass in a private cell. He hollered all night.
But one of these cops that brought him in, Jesus. He was enormous. Close to seven feet tall and he coulda palmed a bowling ball.
But, Charlie, he was probably a very nice fellow.
Possibly my withdrawal symptoms made him more terrifying than he actually was.
Anyway, say hello to your Pop for me, Charlie! The Dakotas welcome you both.
Surely a stop off in Sioux Falls could be on your itinerary.
I'm not currently in jail, so perhaps we could do lunch!


Steve W. said...

Sean, Bt and Charlie, thank you for the praise. :)

Sean, it is interesting that we see the academy go to great lengths to teach her how to use a gun properly but then they don't actually let her have one.

MP, I don't have a clue what any of the cops round my way look like. I usually hide the moment I see them. Not that I have a guilty conscience, or anything...

Anonymous said...

Round your way you probably want to be a bit careful when you see the police helicopters too Steve...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - you got me beat on jail time.

When me and my frat boys had to spend the night in Tippecanoe County lockup (prosecutor wanted criminal confinement, assault, battery - totally BS Felony charges the judge reduced to disorderly conduct and a class C misdemeanor) I just remember being awoken at 5 AM to breakfast.

Stale glazed donuts and acid hot black coffee.

I asked the dudes who'd been there for a while if this was it and they said, "Yep. 365 days a year." Lunch IIRC was a piece of baloney on stale white bread and kool aid... 365 days a year.

Jail sucks. Being arrested sucks. I don't recommend it at all.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Oddly, the condo I now rent is literally across from the police station. Ole Charlie enjoys watching the lady cops stroll out to their SUVS, lol. I swear the equipment they have on weighs more than they do!

It's not bad living where I do... not noisy... seldom a siren... though I'm right in the center of town. I mean we are talking about a town where they boarded up main street and then had 5000 people show up for the BLM march. 4,950 of them were white folks like my kids sympathetic to the cause and it was an categorically peaceful, probably even spiritual, event.

The cops even took a knee with the populace during prayers for racial justice.

Anonymous said...

Hard to know who this story was aimed at. Despite the vaguely kitsch appeal, and admittedly quite nice art, I can't see early teen boys or girls being interested in the subject matter and the VD reference would likely put off any parent/teacher.

That said, I just read it online and am now slightly miffed to not find out who the cowboy boot killer was. Was there any continuation?


Anonymous said...

I think it's commendable that D.C. was experimenting. They were putting out some fairly unusual stuff at the same time they were cranking out the standard fare; y'know, Superman, Batman, etc. I'm not sure they ever had the pulse of the average reader, if such a thing existed. Probably nobody did.
I have a hard time imagining titles like Prez or Brother Power the Geek selling many copies, but darn it, I'll give 'em points for having the moral courage to be weird.
Who understood the market back then anyway? Wonder Warthog was making some money, apparently.


Anonymous said...

DW, I think that was it for Lady Cop til she returned in the All-New Atom in the '00s, proving that all comic characters get revived sooner or later (theres probably a mathematical formula for how long it takes - Marvel bought back Night Nurse around the same time).

No idea if it followed up on old plot threads at all, but fwiw the 21st century Lady Cop wears trousers.