Don’t you just love the police? Well, at least back in the day. Most they’d do then was rough you up a bit for some evidence, not shoot you in the back or put you in an illegal chokehold. But when it comes to the comics, we have officers who act within the parameters of the laws set out for them, and will only bend it a little to protect the righteous and the innocent.
Ah, those were the non-lethal days. Nowadays, cops abandon intuition for brute force. But hey, at least we can look to the panels and spreads of graphic novels to see how real police is supposed to be. So check out #TAP10’s list of the ultimate Comic Book Lawmen who are really about their job:
10. Christian Walker
So there were two Cro-Magnon men who were fighting over a broad, as you do. During this bout that lasted for days, they destroyed everything they cast a shadow on, and discovered they had powers. Both neanderthals walked away from each other in a stalemate. One of these guys was Christian Walker.
Quite the intuitive cop, he is the strong silent type. May have something to with the fact he is an omnipotent immortal that came from the age of prehistoric cavemen. Some would see becoming a cop as some form of a major de-evolution, but Walker carries the responsibility stably on his canopy-broad shoulders. I mean they are really broad.
9. Savage Dragon
Apparently, they don’t have health checks to see if police officers in Chicago are fit for duty, because this here amnesiac, green scaly-skinned dragon-humanoid with a fin on the top of his head had no problem making the force. So here we have the most stand out member of the Chicago PD who takes on much of the mutant “superfreaks” that terrorise the city. Savage Dragon has bullet-resistant skin, regenerative powers, immunity to fire and immense strength. Everything a law man need deliver justice. And with the comic book creator Larsen having recently celebrated 200 Issues of Savage Dragon, we know the jolly green law machine will be churning out “superfreak” punishment and justice.
8. Jessica Jones
Of course by now you know Marvel is putting Krysten Ritter on as the ex-superhero-turned-PI in the Netflix series, alongside Luke Cage, Jessica Jones.
She’s had a bit of a rough stint as a superhero, flat out failed really. She operated under several superhero monikers: Jewel, Knightress, and Power Woman, but eventually settled getting a job serving the public as a Private Investigator. And while the super-heroine gig didn’t quite work out, her capacity as the owner and sole proprietor of Alias Private Investigations has proven to be quite successful one, helping ordinary citizens dealing with certain mutant-orientated crime, even helping out members of S.H.I.E.L.D. and superheroes from time to time. Doesn’t stop her from feeling embittered or to live a life of fame and luxury, but it does get the bills paid… for the most part.
7. Dan Turpin
Turpin is real police (been binge-watching the Wire all weekend). We are sure he probably invented or witnessed the invention of street smarts. He surely was one to hold his own on the streets of Metropolis. Sure, it’s no Gotham City, but Turpin did have his work cut out for him, facing off with Superman’s leftover foes.
Turpin’s awesome. For one, he was designed by Jack Kirby. Turpin dedication and resilience on the job, dealing with crime of the metahuman variety, has led Turpin to become Lieutenant Inspector of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, and a valuable asset to the overall safety and security of Metropolis when Supes busy off-world or saving Lois.
6. Liza Warner (Lady Cop)
She’s “natural police”. When she was young she witnessed her roommates murdered by a guy in cowboy boots convolute with skull and crossbones embroidery and leaves an “Ace of Spades” calling card. Most people would be comatose in fear for the remainder of her life, she decides to join the police, never resting until she finds the murderer of her friends.
It doesn’t hurt that Lady Cop has eidetic memory, so she recollect and remember events and details with high precision. The kind of thing that cops need, maybe then they wouldn’t be forced to where all these body cameras.
Had bad ass is Liza though? Well, the first perp she came across and took down was flawlessly disarmed; the weapon the criminal had was an armed grenade. Determined, street savvy with deductive reasoning she’s perfect at policing. Liza’s the type of cop that’ll take on chain-brandishing Warrior-type street gangs and rapists; Lady Cop has mucho brains and can pack a mean punch too. Makes the whole blonde stereotype amount to zilch.
5. Judge Dredd
Dredd is a street judge, a special type of police, granted with the power of dispensing justice pretty much right their on the spot. No need for “due process” and all that malarkey. Definitely a poster boy for the police state and the sexy allure of the authoritarianism, Judge Dredd is not one to be messed with. Dredd and fellow psionic agent Judge Anderson have taken on everyone from corrupt Judges, petty criminals, organised crime syndicates and supernatural entities like the Devil and Death Judges, so there’s pretty much nothing you can throw at them that would be considered outside their jurisdiction.
4. Barry Allen
When Barry Allen isn’t moonlighting as the Scarlet Speeder The Flash, he has a legit job working for the police. Not patrolling the streets or going after purse snatchers, Barry takes care of the thinking man’s side of police work- forensics. As a forensics expert, Barry Allen processes evidence from crime scenes, his lab has helped put many criminals away. Hey, maybe as much as The Flash has done in costume. Processing times for evidence must be a doozy too. Well, someone’s got to clean up Central City.
3. Sam Burke and Maximilian “Twitch” Williams
Now this is the buddy cop tropes that made you wish you had a colourful friend willing to ride with you ’til the end. Sam & Twitch are certainly the heavy-hitting cop partners whom quantify the “negatives attract” idiom.
New York’s gutters and dank ally ways set the backdrop for two NYPD cops whose characteristic dichotomy seems to work and mesh well when it comes to tackling crime in the godless city. The made their appearance in Spawn as side characters, but their popularity amongst fans one the dude their own title back back in 1999.
Sam, the hot-headed gutter mouthed blob who quick to to taking on anyone perceived as a criminal or a threat. His behaviour has put several grievances of police brutality on his docket, but nothing seems to stick. Despite this their is a softy compassionate centre to Sam’s rough exterior. Twitch is antithetical to Sam; he is highly intellectual with a inquisitive and methodical mind. The mutual respect between the two often leads to Sam defending Twitch when his intellect of diminutive demeanour are made subject of reproach.
In the end, with their precinct steeped with corruption and cops on the take, Sam and Twitch are truly the last breed of good police left in NYC.
2. Rick Grimes
Here you have a sheriff on duty gets comatose after being near-fatally shot and wounded whilst on the job. Boo hoo. So Rick wakes up from his coma weeks after. Yay! Oh, did we mention that he is now in a world where the dead come back to life and are hungry to eat your flesh, and the surviving human race are comprised of power-hungry totalitarians, cannibals and plain ol’ selfish a-holes whose stupidity will get you killed? Well welcome to the era of the Walking Dead. Even in this post-apocalyptic world, Rick still manages to keep and air of fairness and balance to the decision he makes particularly on how it affects his group and the people under his care. You could key this up to being a good human being. But you have to take into consideration of it being remnants of a trained cop’s mind; Grimes’ and the group’s survival may demand gruesome acts, but breaking his moral code is not an option. Maybe just whittle away at the unnecessary bits.
1. James Gordon
Gordon’s commitment to ridding Gotham City of the criminal element is only rivalled by that of the Dark Knight. He first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), and though he may not agree with Batman’s vigilante methods of dealing with crime, he can’t argue too much with the results. in Frank Miller‘s Batman: Year One, a young Gordon has to deal with high levels of police corruption, something that leaves him greatly conflicted given his ever-pointing northward moral compass and wanting to make a better life for his wife and expected child.
His efforts to make Gotham a safe city for his family is a strong driving force for Gordon. James Gordon, whether depicted as young up and coming scrapper in the live-action series Gotham or graphic novels like Batman: Year One, or the wise Commissioner of Police in the Dark Knight film trilogy and the main comic arcs, he has always signified the conscience of Gotham’s official law. His great sense of duty and obligation is something that has to be deeply admired. Need more convincing? Ok. Batman respects and trusts him.
Enforcing the law is not a walk in the park or a stroll down a beat. It takes resilience, courage and a strong willingness to preserve and protect the innocent and the vulnerable. And while Anarchist‘s aren’t fans of oppressive rule and corruption, the police, the good kind, are a necessary part of protecting society. But be assured that this is an awesome responsibility, one that should not be taken lightly. The officers shield is in defence of the proletariat, not themselves.
The comic cops understand this onus all too well, and wear their responsibilities with great pride. They don’t need body cams. Their moral barometer measures what is acceptable conduct as an officer, and for the most part as a human being. Something real cops should think about when they decide to start shooting unarmed ‘suspects’ or frame some random shop owner by sprinkling crack like rat droppings in their stores. Just remember, WWJD- What Would James Gordon Do?