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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – Gotham Police Department Debuts!

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we look at the debuts of various notable members of the Gotham Police Department!

First off, the obvious one that really doesn’t count for a feature like this (as he is too famous), but eh, it just seems wrong to mention the GCPD without mentioning Commissioner James Gordon….

I love that Bruce Wayne is just hanging out at Gordon’s house.

Next we see the debut of Harvey Bullock, who was a Lieutenant when he debuted in Detective Comics #441 by Archie Goodwin and Howard Chaykin…

Renee Montoya was invented for the Batman Animated Series but actually debuted many months before she showed up in the cartoon. She first showed up in Batman #475 by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle…

And no, you are not imagining things, they did, indeed, have her say “Madre De Dios!” Oh boy.

Next we have Lieutenant Sarah Essen, who debuted in Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli…

One of the more recent cool additions to the Gotham Police Department was Cripus Allen, who debuted in Detective Comics #742 (Gordon had JUST returned to work after his wife was killed, so his reaction to another Gotham cop being killed made him more than a little edgy and sent him actually on to the street to investigate things)…

Like Montoya, Chief Clancy O’Hara was invented for television. Unlike Montoya, he never really made it much into the comics (except for, of all places, the Huntress back-up in Wonder Woman during the early 1980s). He was first mentioned soon after the show debuted in World’s Finest #159…

and was first sort of seen in Detective Comics #461 ten years later…

Finally, for the two other people who are fans of Mackenzie “Hardback” Bock, here is his debut in Detective Comics #681 by Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and Klaus Janson…

If there’s any debuts YOU folks want to see, just drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com


Actually, I think Sarah Essen was introduced by Miller in The Dark Knight Returns and then retconned (sort of) in Year One. She is briefly seen hugging Gordon, although in shadow, and just referred to throughout the novel as “Sarah”.

(BTW, I was really surprised *that* was the first time O’Hara was actually *showed* on a comic!)

Count me as one of the other MacKenzie Bock fans.

I love Hardback. A great character. I always found Crispus Allen to be a rather bland copy of the far more interesting Bock.

What, no love for Maggie Sawyer, the only GCP officer who started in a Superman book?

It’s not too weird that socialite Bruce Wayne is hanging out at Gordon’s house. What’s completely awesome is that Gordon kept inviting him to visit crime scenes with him!

Whatever happened to MacKenzie Bock?

Graeme – I didn’t read a lot of comics post-1991, so school me here: Did Sawyer transfer from Metropolis to Gotham at some point and I missed it?

Sawyer’s first appearance on the Bat-side was in Detective Comics #764, when she transferred from Metropolis to Gotham; she appeared in Batman: Murder/Fugitive and was then a main character in Gotham Central and now in Batwoman.

… Though a whole column related to Maggie Sawyer’s creation and appearances would be really interesting.

Thanks, Collected Editions!

Yeah, Maggie Sawyer deserves her own spotlight!

A Maggie Sawyer spotlight would freaking rock.

Did John Byrne create Maggie Sawyer in Man Of Steel? I wonder if he intended her to be gay, not having read very many of the Byrne Supercomics. Did she ever have a boyfriend? I think she worked really well in the Superman Animated series, fighting alongside Terrible Turpin himself!

Huh, it is funny, Maggie Sawyer has always been such a big favorite of mine (I think one of the very first I’d’s of March I did was to ask for her to be used more) that it never really occurred to me that she really isn’t THAT well known. Perhaps a Hell of a Past feature would be even better for her than When We First Met? I’ll get on it in the near future (so, if you wouldn’t mind, folks, please hold off on the Maggie Sawyer details until the future piece goes up).

Didn’t you feature Maggie Sawyer already, Brian? I thought you did, but I can’t find her in the archives.

Nevermind. Missed your last post. I’m sure you’ve got binders full of women you haven’t featured yet.

I like the Character of Bock, but his name and nickname are atrocious. A nickname with multiple syllables and both a hard ‘d’ and and hard ‘ck’ would never stick. People would just call him Mac or Bock(which sounds like a chicken). That name was Chuck Dixon trying to hard to give a supporting character some “cred” or whatever.

You left out Lt. Kitch! :P
Bock was a favorite of mine, too. I don’t think he has appeared since the “No Man’s Land” era; when Crispus Allen was introduced during the post-NML era, it almost seemed like they were consciously replacing him for some reason. I came to like Allen quite a bit, too.
Montoya’s first appearance is one of the first comics I remember buying with my own money. She and Bullock were characters I would always enjoy seeing; at least Bullock is still around! There was a great cast of GCPD characters in the ’90s, largely in the Dixon books, and it’s a shame most of them have vanished over the years.

Bock being replaced achieved a couple things for Rucka. Obviously, it allowed him to introduce his own characters that he naturally felt more comfortable using, but also he wanted to do a more realistic approach to police work when a guy like Bock would have been promoted off the active force a long time ago so that is what he had happen.

I was always amused that the DCAU even managed to “secretly” have Maggie be a lesbian in the Superman animated series by having her female friend hanging around her hospital bed.

What I’m curious about is when the “new look” Jim Gordon first appeared. The modern trim one with the bushy mustache

I’ve been reading “Batman” and “Detective Comics” chronologically beginning with the debut of the “new look” Batman since early this year, and the “modern” Gordon first started popping up in the late ’60s. I don’t remember what specific issue in which he first showed up. I still saw the older, heavier Gordon here and there after the slim version started appearing for a while, though.

Whatever happened to Hardback Bock? I liked him.

Rucka promoted Bock to Captain. I dunno if he exists in the New 52, but in the old continuity he was just behind the scenes.

Great stuff.

The GCPD really does have an amazing cast.

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