Created by Gary Friedrich, Charles Wojtkowski and Vince Alascia
"This spy business grows on one after awhile."
You can roll your eyes right now, but one of the more interesting female private eyes of the sixties was TIFFANY SINN who made her debut -- wait for it -- in the pages Career Girl Romances, a love comic that usually boasted three or four stories an issue.
Then again, Career Girl Romances was a cut above most of its rivals -- sure, most of its heroines was looking for love, but these were definitely and unapologetically working women. Okay, so most of the occupations were secretaries, nurses, stewardesses, models, teachers, actresses and other jobs that in the sixties were considered "women's work."
But Tiffany was a real outlier. She was a private eye, and her background was particularly unusual for a romance comic. As she rather breathlessly explains in the intro to her first story, "To Save an Agent," which appeared in the February 1967 issue:
Those two thugs turn out to CIA agents, and they force Tiffany, still obsessed with avenging her parent's murder, to go on a very special mission: find agent agent Rex Swift, the man who rescued Tiffany from East Berlin back when she was twelve. Now he's gone missing, and the CIA wants him back.
Being "one of the best private eyes in the business," it doesn't take Tiffany long to find and rescue Rex from an East Berlin dungeon where the Commies were holding him, and ignite a romance she's dreamed of since she was a kid. Fortunately, the feeling is mutual -- Rex admits he's had the hots for Tiffany ever since they first met.
Which was when she was a kid, not even in her teens yet.
As Hope Nicholson in The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen puts it, "(There) might be only a fifteen-or-so-year difference but still. Maybe don't make out with a clearly damaged girl, okay, Rex?"
The story ends with Rex promising marriage in the last panel, but by "St. Louis Stake Out", the next story (in the very next issue), Tiffany's still single, and she's once again forced to work for the CIA. This time her mission is to find Rex's brother, a notorious neo-Nazi -- or the CIA will charge Rex, whom they're holding prisoner in New York, with treason. Tiffany has a fling with a hunky fellow agent, but he dies at the end of the case, theoretically clearing the way for Tiff and Rex to finally tie the knot.
That story concludes with a promise that "Three Shots of a Laser" in the next issue of Career Girl Romances would deliver all the "stunning answers and the latest romantic developments" we could want.
But it never happened. Instead, the third and final Tiffany Sinn story, "Espionage: Muscle Beach Style," would only appear several months later as a back-up feature in Secret Agent, the re-titled Sarge Steel comic. Once again, the CIA calls her in, and she seems to have accepted her fate -- she's actually starting to like this new gig as a high-flying secret agent, what with the gorgeous apartments and cool clothes, plus the cool spy stuff like a lipstick communicator they've given her. As for Rex, he's barely mentioned -- Tiff's off to San Francisco to track down a double agent, and frolic on the beach with another hunky agent. Not that it ends well -- turns out they're the same dude.
And that was that. Tiffany never appeared again, as either an eye or a spy, but in the world of romance comics, she was a breath of fresh air. She may have wanted love, but not -- it seemed -- at the expense of her career. As that final installment ends, Tiffany's not moping at yet another blown shot at love -- she's too busy eagerly rushing off on another mission.
Tiffany's final appearance, and the private eye angle seems like a distant memory. Here she's billed as "The C.I.A. Sweetheart." Secret Agent was the short-lived, re-titled continuation of Charlton's Sarge Steel -- Private Detective comic.
Lady Eyes from the Comics
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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