Speed Saunders

Created by E.C. Stoner

"Oh, well, only three miles to shore and I needed a bath anyway."

-- Speed gets tossed off a boat by smugglers

One of Detective Comics' first gumshoes (he made his debut alongside fellow eyes Slam Bradley in the very first issue way back in 1935), SPEED SAUNDERS was an two-fisted "ace investigator" who seems to have some weird, unspecified occupation that allowed him to operate independently of the police, as a private eye would, and yet also order them around. Since he was sometimes seen in a white fedora and a yellow trenchcoat, maybe they mistook him for Dick Tracy.

His first adventure had him called in to investigate the appearance of several bodies found floating in the bay, and credit for the story is given to E.C. Stoner (text) and Creig Flessel (art). More disconcerting, though, is that Speed's first name actually appears to be Cyril.

Saunders made his final appearance in Detective Comics in issue #58 (1941). In 1999, 58 years later, he was sprung from comic book limbo, popping up a DC Comics one-shot called Sensation Comics, where he was revealed to be Hawkgirl's (Shiera Saunders) cousin. Kendra Saunders, the current Hawkgirl, is his granddaughter.

But who was E.C. Stoner? A pseudonym? Noted comic writer Gardner Fox, a lawyer at the time, has also been credited with creating the character. Certainly, he wrote some of the stories. And he's also been credited with creating and writing the adventures of Steve Malone, District Attorney, who made his debut in the August 1938 issue.

One of Saunders' first artists, Fred Guardineer, later went on to draw for the infamous Crime Does Not Pay. An avid hunter and fisherman, he supposedly knew his guns, and was considered one of the top "gun" men in the comics, according to Mike Benton's The Illustrated History of Crime Comics.

COMICS

  • DETECTIVE COMICS
    (1937- present, DC Comics)
    Written by E.C. Stoner, Gardner Fox, Fred Gaurdineer
    Artists: Creig Flessel, Fred Gaurdineer
  • "Speed Saunders and the River Patrol" (March 1937, #1)
  • "Killers of Kurdistan" (May 1939, #27)
  • "The Kidnaped Singer" (April 1940, #38)
  • Last appearance (#58).

  • SENSATION COMICS
    (1999, DC Comics)

RELATED LINKS

A listing of all the private eyes who have shown up in DC Comics.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.



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