alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
[personal profile] alicemacher posting in [community profile] scans_daily
I discovered this Golden Age action hero (created by Bob Powell for Hit Comics in 1940) via the Tumblr blog F**k Yeah Warrior Women and immediately fell in love with her. Attorney (later District Attorney) Betty Bates enjoyed a ten-year run (unusual for a non-superpowered, supporting character), and it's no wonder: in addition to her legal know-how, she was a skilled detective, knew jiu-jitsu, and was handy with her fists too. In the following story (public domain, scans courtesy of, we see her stand up to sexual harassment, speak truth to power, and foil a kidnapping. As if that weren't awesome enough, the story conveniently comes with a "context is for the weak" panel!

From Hit Comics #47 (July 1947). Art by Al Bryant.

Please let me know if you'd like to see more Betty Bates.

Date: 2016-12-06 12:24 am (UTC)
kamino_neko: Tedd from El Goonish Shive. Drawn by Dan Shive, coloured by Kamino Neko. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
She's probably lucky not to have survived into the Silver Age...having her take the same trajectory as Lois Lane would have been unfortunate.

Date: 2016-12-06 12:43 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Weirdly enough I posted this self same story almost three years ago to the day!

But it's certainly welcome again! :)

Date: 2016-12-06 02:30 am (UTC)
freezer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freezer
And to think the whole thing probably gets avoided if Kees Sr. simply bailed his son out, rather than go full Trump on Miss Bates.

And how does a rich white guy one end up in jail on what was surely a misdemeanor? The law wasn't THAT different in 1940, was it?

Date: 2016-12-06 04:33 am (UTC)
richardak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] richardak
It's not even a misdemeanor.

Date: 2016-12-06 03:54 am (UTC)
richardak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] richardak
As he has already pointed out, icon_uk posted this story once before, and my reaction now is the same as my reaction then: this was a horrifying abuse of power by an elected official. Arresting and prosecuting a man for whistling at her on a public street? Behavior which, loutish as it may be, is not a crime. She claims he was committing a public nuisance, but his behavior does not even come close to the definition of public nuisance: What kind of district attorney makes a mistake like that? But then, bizarrely, when his father does commit a crime, attempting to bribe a public official, she does nothing except ask a reporter to note it. Why doesn't she arrest Kees Sr., an actual criminal? That set-up out of the way, she then spends the rest of the story doing police work. Three years ago, icon_uk defended that as a genre convention, and that is fair enough, but why not just write her as a police detective instead of a prosecutor and be done with it?
Edited Date: 2016-12-06 03:55 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-12-06 04:47 am (UTC)
richardak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] richardak
Except that superheroes--and superheroines too, lest we forget--really are just a wish-fulfillment fantasy. Prosecutorial abuse is all too real.
Edited Date: 2016-12-06 04:47 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-12-06 09:32 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tcampbell1000
I seem to recall that the Vigilante stories played around a lot with the ambiguity: "Is this guy a hero or a villain or just a nut, and where's the line?" But that was the Eighties, where you couldn't throw a rock without hitting a superhero having some kind of existential crisis. This was the Golden Age, where the power fantasies were nice, simple and straightforward (and usually more than a little under-informed about how government and the law actually worked).
Edited Date: 2016-12-06 09:35 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-12-06 11:55 am (UTC)
richardak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] richardak
Actually, I would say that the same standard would be judging Vigilante the same way as Manhunter (the Kate Spencer version), since they shared that same premise of a prosecutor moonlighting as a masked vigilante. I wasn't a Vigilante fan, but that was less a conscious decision and more that I just never happened to pick up the series back in the eighties. Maybe I would have liked it if I had. I actually did like the first volume of Manhunter (the premise changed pretty wildly after that anyway, which was one of the things I didn't like).

The reason I liked Manhunter but I object to this is precisely the reason I gave before: a prosecutor moonlighting as a masked vigilante (to say nothing of a vigilante in alien power-armor) is a fantasy, and is no more troubling as such than a rich playboy or a journalist moonlighting as a vigilante. A prosecutor abusing the powers of her office is something that really exists. People have had their lives ruined by abusive prosecutors. I am not aware of anyone whose life has been ruined, or even affected, by a prosecutor moonlighting as a vigilante.

Date: 2016-12-06 01:51 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
I mean, she isn't actually abusing the powers of her office. This is a fictional world and the laws are different and 'public nuisance' means something different. Like how 'diplomatic immunity' means something completely different in comic books. Or, like how the Flash got his powers from inhaling hard water vapor. It's a different reality.

Date: 2016-12-06 11:40 pm (UTC)
richardak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] richardak
That seems like a stretch to me. This isn't portraying a fantastical world where men in capes fly around shooting lasers out of their eyes. Even if you were right, though, that would just mean that it is the law in this fictional world that is abusive, rather than the one enforcing it.

Date: 2016-12-07 12:56 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
I mean, is there anything in the story itself that indicates she is lying about her reason to arrest Kees, or otherwise being abusive? Or is this just a story written according to a child's understanding of what the law is: public nuisance = being annoying in public. This is portraying a fantastical world, in which district attorneys run around and beat the shit out of criminals. She is functionally a superhero, she just doesn't bother with the costume.

Laws in comic book worlds are all alternately abusive and impotent. Either they're rounding up mutants in camps and having police commissioners being buddy-buddy with vigilantes, or they have a revolving door jail system where criminals keep going free. Frequently both at the same time!

Date: 2016-12-07 05:26 am (UTC)
richardak: (Default)
From: [personal profile] richardak
That's not unreasonable, I guess. I still don't like it.

Date: 2016-12-06 09:46 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tcampbell1000
I love how OUTRAGED J.O. Sr. is at the perfectly reasonable theory that he might have been the one to get his son out of jail, after he blustered and threatened to get his son out of jail ("PLEASE! I *THOUGHT* of it-- but didn't DO it!").

Yes, I would enjoy seeing more of this.

Date: 2016-12-06 04:42 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (lois--tess (maid service))
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
Dithers the butler? Maybe he got out of jail and went to Riverdale to work for the Lodges with a slight name change. :)

Yes, moar Betty, please!

Date: 2016-12-07 08:59 am (UTC)
supermanda: (Ivy ✥ as in irresistible!)
From: [personal profile] supermanda
Ahhh amazing, this is exactly why I started following s_d in the first place

Thanks for the intro to such a fun, cool character, OP!


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