Jill Trent: Science, Sleuthing, Sex, And Violence

Jill Trent – accompanied by her best friend Daisy Smythe – was a comic book heroine from the 1940s, appearing in issues of Fighting Yank and Wonder Comics. We should, of course, welcome anything that pushes forward female equality or superiority during that period, as well as the promotion of science.

And yet…

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Here we see Jill and Daisy using top quality sleuthing skills to detect some criminals in front of them, then utilising science in the form of kinetic energy delivered via fists and feet.

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Two different types of science on display here: the science of ballistics and the science of slapping dogs. Dogslappingology was discredited in the 1960s as it was found to have no more than a placebo effect in quelling vicious canines.

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The Jill Trent storylines featured her inventions heavily; x-ray glasses, gas detectors, and the precursor to the laser were all covered. In this particular strip we see one of the more unusual gadgets she came up with: a camera that fires boxes of tools at people. I’ve lost track of the number of times a toolbox-firing adapter would have come in useful on my Canon 5D Mark II but while modern scientists spend any amount of time trying to recreate the creations of Star Trek, Jill Trent’s mind is left untapped.

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The science of ballistics once again. We can only assume that prior to a later case Daisy and Jill looked over what went right and what went wrong in order to learn from it and decided that some target shooting practice wouldn’t go amiss, since their bullets apparently did.

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Violence sells comics (both when represented in pictorial form and when used by threatening comic store owners against nerds). Do you know what else sells comic strips? Sex. You’re shocked, aren’t you? Still, it’s true, and the writers and artists of the Jill Trent strips couldn’t leave Jill alone doing manly things such as science and shooting and punching the living shit out of villains without an occasional damsel-in-distress moment, especially if it featured a little bondage action and giant erections (metal ones; not the ones you’re thinking of, pervert).

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Still, worse than resorting to stereotypes of the sexes is probably the science itself. In case you’re wondering about the above strip let me clear things up: poison rays aren’t a thing, ultraviolet poisons aren’t a thing, and combatting ultraviolet using infrared isn’t a thing either. Unlike the Jill Trent authors I used real science to prove this, publishing my results for peer-review earlier this year.

I’m currently awaiting trial on eight counts of killing professional scientist and amateur sleuth women and may not be able to post for a while.

Author: Mark

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