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Maggie Sawyer from Adventures of Superman #498
|First appearance||Superman vol. 2, #4 (April 1987)|
|Created by||John Byrne|
|Full name||Margaret Ellen Sawyer|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||Gotham City Police Department
Metropolis Special Crimes Unit
Starling City Police Department
Maggie Sawyer first appeared in Superman Vol. 2 #4 and was created by John Byrne.
Fictional character biography
Maggie was introduced in Superman (2nd series) in April 1987, as Captain Sawyer of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, a special branch of the Metropolis police force that handles superpowered menaces when Superman is unavailable. Maggie mostly replaced Inspector Henderson from the previous comics as Superman's main police contact.
She was added to the Superman canon following the 12-issue maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths and the 6-issue miniseries that rebooted the comics, The Man of Steel. She tries to prove the police force is more efficient than a vigilante in fighting crime, and so becomes a constant thorn in Superman's side during the early days of his career, even trying to apprehend him occasionally. Eventually, after being injured and saved by Superman during a terrorist plot, her attitude towards him warms up.
Later stories revealed that she originally came from Star City. She married fellow police officer James Sawyer, although she was uncertain about her own sexual identity, and they had a daughter named Jamie. Maggie later came out as a lesbian. A conservative, intolerant James divorced her and won sole custody of Jamie, and he refused to let Maggie have any contact with their daughter. Maggie ultimately moved to Metropolis when the SCU position became available, and she resumed relations with her family in later stories. Maggie has been in a long-term relationship with Toby Raines, a reporter for the Metropolis Star.
In Action Comics vol. 1 #600, Lex Luthor, then a corporate executive, met with Maggie to get her to stop investigating his activities. He tries to blackmail her with documentation regarding her sexuality; at that time, Maggie was not publicly known to be a lesbian, although some of her colleagues knew, and any public disclosure could possibly have discredited her and tainted her career. When Luthor injures himself and flees the room (due to kryptonite poisoning from his ring), Maggie is tempted with taking the damaging evidence left behind on his desk. She opts to leave the file in Luthor's hands, explaining to Inspector Dan Turpin that she is no longer ashamed of who she is and will not allow anyone use it against her.
Maggie has a close working relationship with Inspector Turpin, her second-in-command at the SCU. However, she originally had a strained professional relationship with Inspector Henderson. It was later revealed that Henderson simply disapproved that higher-ranking officers, such as Turpin, reported to her, a Captain. He resolves the situation by promoting her to Inspector when he becomes Commissioner during the Death of Superman storyline. In the aftermath, Sawyer becomes involved in a covert 'war' between Superman's allies and Project Cadmus, led by Paul Westfield, which had stolen Superman's body for their own ends.
Inspector Sawyer is the main character in the four-issue limited series comic title Metropolis SCU written by Cindy Goff, penciled by Peter Krause and inked by Jose Marzan Jr., which was published from November 1994 to February 1995. For this minisseries appearance the character of Maggie Sawyer received the 7th OUTSTANDING COMIC STRIP GLAAD Media Awards in March 1996. The description featured in actual award delivered to DC editorial explained the actual honor:
MAGGIE SAWYER, SPECIAL CRIMES UNIT: A four-part series, Maggie Sawyer is the first by a major comic book publisher (DC Comics) to feature a heroine who is an out lesbian. The series follows Sawyer's exploits as Captain of the Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit as well as her personal life with her lover and her son.
Batman: No Man's Land
In mid-2000s comics, Maggie has been transferred to Gotham City's police force as the head of the Major Crimes Unit, and is a significant character in the comic Gotham Central. The move has placed some strain on her relationship, since Toby did not follow her to Gotham.
Following the events of Infinite Crisis, Harvey Bullock discovers corruption in the GCPD apparently all the way up to Commissioner Michael Akins. In the end, James Gordon returns to his former position as commissioner. Maggie Sawyer, however, does not appear to be involved and is still a Captain.
Maggie appeared in the series 52.
In Week Three, she arrives to a scene to find the body of Alex Luthor. She calls in Steel to ID the body, when Lex Luthor comes in with the press and announces that Alex was the one responsible for all of Luthor's wrongdoings.
In conversation, former detective Renee Montoya makes a reference to Toby Raines.
Maggie appeared in Detective Comics #856 at a charity ball attended by Katherine "Kate" Kane. While the two are dancing, Maggie mentions that she and Toby are no longer together and asks Kate for her phone number.
Sawyer appears as a supporting character in the new Batwoman series launched in 2011. In that series she has begun dating Kate Kane, whose secret activities as Batwoman complicate their relationship. They had first met when Maggie, as a Metropolis police officer, arrived in Gotham as backup support for an arriving hurricane. They share a brief glance in precinct headquarters. Kane reveals her identity as Batwoman by proposing to her in costume in Batwoman #17.
In the alternate universe of Bombshells, Maggie is again Batwoman's lover, and helps hide her activities.
During the DC Rebirth event, it is revealed that Maggie has transferred back to Metropolis PD.
In other media
- In the 1990s animated TV show Superman: The Animated Series, Captain Maggie Sawyer (voiced by Joanna Cassidy) is featured in eight episodes: "Tools of the Trade", "Two's a Crowd", "Monkey Fun", "Bizarro's World", "Prototype", "The Hand of Fate", and two-part "Apokolips... Now!" As in the comics. the character is paired by Metropolis Special Crimes Unit Dan Turpin. Her romantic partner Toby Raines (voiced by Laraine Newman) is seen by Sawyer's bedside in several hospital scenes and later Turpin's funeral service in the two-part episode. Bruce Timm states in the commentary for "Tools of the Trade" that those scenes were the creators' way of acknowledging Sawyer's sexual orientation.
- Maggie Sawyer can be seen in background in the Justice League episode "Hereafter" attending Superman's funeral.
- The 2000s television series Smallville episodes "Insurgence", "Exile", "Exposed", and "Descent" feature actress Jill Teed playing the role of Lieutenant and later Detective Sawyer.
- Maggie Sawyer is introduced as a new series regular character in episode 3 of season 2 of Supergirl, portrayed by Floriana Lima, as a member of the Science Police. She later becomes romantically involved with Kara/Supergirl's adoptive sister, Alex Danvers, who is portrayed by Chyler Leigh.
- Maggie Sawyer appears in Superman: Shadow of Apokolips (2002), voiced by Joanna Cassidy.
- Maggie Sawyer appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Lorrie Singer.
- In Batman: Arkham Knight, Maggie Sawyer is mentioned by Kate Kane on Bruce Wayne's voice mail during which Kate mentions her marriage to Maggie, revealing that the two are married in the Batman: Arkham series.
- Maggie Sawyer appears in Lego Dimensions voiced by Laura Bailey, but identified as a police officer.
- Byrne, John (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Wings" Superman v2, 15 (March 1988), DC Comics
- "Superman The Man Of Steel" (March 1993)
- Superman In Action Comics #5 (1993)
- Beirne, Rebecca (2008). Lesbians in Television and Text after the Millennium. p. 57. ISBN 978-0230606746.
- "52" Week Three
- "52" Week Twelve
- "Batwoman" #25 (November 2013)
- "Batman Eternal" #52 (April 2015)
- "Batman, Vol 2" #52
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #957
- Stanhope, Kate (July 13, 2016). "'Supergirl' Adds 'The Family' Grad as Gay DC Character Maggie Sawyer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.