Base of Operations: State University
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #181 (October 1952)
In her college days, Joanie Swift worked as a secretary for State University. One day, while reading aloud a sheet of equations, she accidentally spoke Johnny Quick’s speed formula, 3X2(9YZ)4A. After melting the typewriter, she eagerly began exploring her powers. She put together together a costume based on the more famous speedster and introduced herself to him as his new partner. She accidentally released a number of rare animals while testing her abilities, so her first “case” was working with the more experienced hero to collect them. Johnny, disliking the competition, tried to discourage her, but nothing dimmed her enthusiasm until she came face-to-face with her phobia: mice!
Before she had a chance to determine which formula had given her speed for a day, Johnny Quick retyped the list.Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Adventure Comics #181* (October 1952) - Paul Norris
- Adventure Comics #181* (October 1952): “Joanie Swift, Queen of Speed!” The Editors’ Round Table
* Reprinted in World’s Finest #198 (November 1970)
In each case, the male protagonist comes into conflict with a woman who has gained the same powers and wants to help out, but causes trouble instead. The sexist trope gets buried over time, but doesn't disappear until the 1990s: In the 50s, Johnny Quick flat-out doesn't want the competition from a woman, and solves his “problem” with another sexist trope. The Flash’s motive in the 60s and 70s is allegedly caution, but it’s a condescending caution that he never applies to male speedsters, and presenting every female speedster over the course of several decades as dangerous or incompetent is conspicuous.
It should be worth noting that Joanie Swift is the only person aside from Johnny Quick and his daughter to speak the formula and gain both speed and flight. Wally West used the formula once, and while it sped him up to the point where time moved imperceptibly, he was not able to fly.