One of the greatest characters in comics has to be the cop, and cops have been portrayed in many guises from gumshoes to sheriffs and everything in between. Normally out-shadowed by machiavellian villains and superheroes the cop does rather take a back seat, but even so there has been some legendary law enforcers that have made their mark on comic books for decades, and here are some of the very best.
Forget everybody else, the first and foremost cop in comics has to be Dick Tracy. He was the creation of Chester Gould as a response to the moral decay that was happening in America during the Depression years. Dick Tracy did not catch common criminals; he was the champion against corruption and was always fighting for justice. Portrayed as a rugged man, with square jaw and a broken nose, Dick Tracy was far from a pin-up boy. But America felt safer having him protect them for all the evil in the world.
Superhero Batman could not have been so effective without the aid of Jim Gordon, in the TV adaptation of Batman, Commissioner Gordon was a figure of ridicule. But in the comic book strips, Jim Gordon was just as determined to stamp out crime then his superhero chum. The truth is Batman really needs Jim Gordon; he has his finger on the pulse of Gotham City’s crime unlike billionaire Bruce Wayne. Gordon stands for what every good cop should, he stamped out corruption within his own department and then turned his attention to the criminals.
Judge Dread brought his own brand of justice to the people, it was rough, tough and took no prisoners. Lines such as Gaze into the Fist of Dredd were standard by this rugged cop. Dread was not just a policeman, he was the complete shebang of judge, jury and of course executioner. Which made Dread’s character slightly unnerving as he too was prepared to operate outside the law, in fact Dread is the law.
Pow Wow Smith
The first law deputy to hit comic books was in 1949 and was a character called Ohiyesa Smith, aka Pow Wow Smith. Elected by the townspeople of Elkhorn he was their protector but also very much a part of the community. Outlaws and other notorious baddies had a hard time terrorizing this small western town, as Pow Wow Smith brought justice to any law breakers. Perhaps not the most politically correct lawman that there has ever been but after all it was the Wild West.
Dan Turpin guards the streets of Metropolis and fights along with Superman to bring law and order to unruly protagonists. His military background means that Turpin is not afraid of anybody and will face up to any criminal, be it Doomsday himself or just a pimp with a gun. Turpin did not have any special powers unlike his superhero chum, but he made up for it with sheer guts and determination.