May 30, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #239: Jill Trent, Science Sleuth

A woman rejected by the cops for sexist reasons decides to fight crime anyway.

I like to run YouTube videos or list serve articles sometimes to get ideas for this series.  Many times I know most if not all of the characters mentioned.  But then, every so often, along comes one that makes me perk up.  Such is the case for the Golden Age adventurer Jill Trent, Science Sleuth.

I’d say this one is for Jenny, but she stopped reading this about 200 case files ago…

Actually, this may be a short entry.  There isn’t much out there on Jill Trent.

Jill originally appeared in various comics from Nedor Comics between the years 1943 and 1948, notably titles like Fighting Yank and Wonder Comics.  Jill was a natural genius, holding multiple degrees in a wide variety of scientific fields.  That said, her biggest passion was justice.  As such, she applied to multiple police departments, the FBI, and large detective agencies.  They all turned her down for the crime of “being female”.

So, Jill and her best friend Daisy Smythe just went out and fought crime anyway.

Yes, she had a sidekick.

Jill used a wide variety of inventions in her quest for justice, such as various infrared lenses and unbreakable cloths.  Neither she nor Daisy wore a costume or had a codename, but they didn’t need one.  Heck, they were both good in a fistfight if it came to that anyway.  Apparently, it often did.

Most interesting is the fact Jill actually didn’t have a love interest.  True, that has led to speculation about her sexual orientation, especially since she and Daisy shared a house.  And a bedroom.

Down, Watson.

Then again, that sort of thing happened a bit more frequently back then.

Meanwhile, In Gotham City…

Now, today, I think Jill might be public domain, meaning anyone can use her.  Heck, someone did use her old adventures for a webcomic, changing the dialogue balloons to say Jill was originally a kinda dumb male janitor named Jim Trent until exposure to some kind of weird radiation changed him into a brilliant woman.  But other sources I found think Jill might not be so public domain.  Fawcet Comics bought up the rights to many Nedor Comics characters, and when they went under, DC/Warner Brothers bought them up.

So, Jill might be the intellectual property of Warner Brothers, but if she is, they never press the issue when people make new adventures featuring Jill and Daisy.

Still, a female hero from the 40s without any distinctive love interest?  That’s actually rather impressive on many levels.

Jenny might like something like this, but she’ll never read this column as it is…

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