Chief Clancy O'Hara is the longtime police chief of Gotham City. He is distinguished by his big Levitz-era bushy mustache, a feature that has not changed in all his comic book appearances since 1977.
Clancy O'Hara was the chief of the GCPD, one of the few uncorruptable. He was originally introduced as a career police officer, rising to the rank of police chief after serving so many years in the force. While still a sergeant years ago, he and then-officer Stan Merkel were noted for capturing then-teenage Mario Falcone of the "Roman" Falcone crime family, who was prosecuted by then-Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent.
Created for the 1966 "Batman" TV series, longtime Gotham City police chief O'Hara was also soon adopted in the comic books. O'Hara was first mentioned in World's Finest #159 (1966) and a behind the scenes presence in Swamp Thing #7 (1973), even O'Hara's first on-panel appearances in Detective Comics #461 (1976) and as part of 1977's Detective Comics #470 found his features partially concealed by devices like hand gestures and window panes. When he did appear fully, it was mainly so far into the background his features were obscured.
In Detective Comics #476, Clancy O'Hara also played a minor role during the Joker's "Laughing Fish" caper. After the "Number Two bureaucrat" in Gotham, Thomas Jackson, was marked for death by the Joker in an insane effort to force the city to grant him rights over all the fish in the area, O'Hara organized a stake-out of Jackson's home. As an added precaution, Batman and Jackson switched places. By three in the morning, no attempt on Jackson's life had been made but Chief O'Hara stationed himself in the room to make certain. As a driving rainstorm broke out in the night, O'Hara observed that the "Joker Weather" was tailor-made for the villain himself. Commissioner Gordon was also present for the stake-out, but complained that perhaps he was getting too old for his job, since no matter how hard the police tried, the Joker always seemed to get the best of them. O'Hara consoled the commissioner, reminding him that he and Batman have always placed the Joker behind bars in the end. The police chief also reflected on the Joker's constant escapes from Arkham and the fact he is never really punished for his crimes, concluding with a bitter "It ain't our fault the death penalty don't apply to crazies!" He then ended the conversation, since O'Hara did not care to scare Thomas Jackson with their talk of the Joker. Suddenly, Jackson's cat entered the room, rapid by a poison fish placed in its mouth by the Clown Prince of Crime himself. As Chief O'Hara stared in astonishment from the background, the cat leaped forward and scratched its master, killing him due to the Joker Venom present on the cat's claws. Turning over the corpse, Chief O'Hara gasped to Commissioner Gordon, "Saints preserve us! The sign of the Joker--that hideous grin!" Indeed, the Joker Venom had twisted Thomas Jackon's face muscles into a terrible smile of death. Leaving O'Hara behind, Batman leaped out the window in pursuit of the Joker, promising the chief, "I'll be in touch!"
Some time later, the police surrounded the apartment of the "Number Three" bureaucrat in Gotham, against whom the Joker had also marked for death. As Commissioner Gordon rested from the long night, O'Hara stood to the side with a clipboard, counting off the row of policemen walking through the building should the Joker try to slip in disguised as an officer. However, while the chief missed the real Joker, Batman's keen eyes did not and he was able to pin the imposter against the wall, leading to the villain's eventual defeat.
Also in 1977, Chief O'Hara made numerous cameo appearances in the chronicles of DC's Golden Age heroes in All-Star Comics #67 and 70. O'Hara later briefly became Gotham City's new police commissioner in the 'Huntress' series in Wonder Woman (beginning with issue #281 in 1981) and he remained a recurring presence for the next few years.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Chief O'Hara has appeared in The Silver Age #1: "Pawns Of The Invincible Immortal!" Later, In Batman: Dark Victory, O'Hara was killed as the first victim in the series' sequence of murders by the Hangman, who wrapped a noose around the chief's neck and left him hanging from the Westward Bridge in Gotham City. O'Hara's corpse was found with a newspaper clipping and a note pinned to the unfortunate chief: "None/Nine of you are safe". Commissioner Gordon contacted Batman to investigate the murder of his longtime ally, and the Dark Knight interrogated the Riddler for information on Chief O'Hara's demise. Shortly afterward, he reviewed all of the evidence in the Batcave. At first, some accused Two-Face of committing the deed, but Batman suspected otherwise. Further implicating the villain was the body of Officer Stan Merkel, another career policeman, found hanged in the back yard of what once was the home of Harvey and Gilda Dent. Batman soon discovered a file from an old case in which Merkel and Chief O'Hara had arrested Mario Falcone of the "Roman" Falcone crime family, headed up by Boss Falcone; Harvey Dent, the assistant DA, was prosecuting attorney. This prompted Batman to discover a new motive for the Hangman killings of O'Hara and Merkel. The many victims of the Hangman Killer were all law-enforcement agency related, some straight, others corrupt, and they were important in leading to Harvey Dent earning his position of District Attorney, in some way or another.
Comic Book Appearances
What follows is a list of all appearances Chief Clancy O'Hara has made in the comic books:
- Batman #301
- Detective Comics #461, #470, #476
- Swamp Thing #7 (Behind the Scenes)
- World's Finest Comics #159 , 309
- Adventure Comics #461, 465
- All-Star Comics #67, 70
- Wonder Woman #281, 296-297, 308, 314
- Superman #363 (Behind the Scenes)
- Batman: Dark Victory #1
- Silver Age #1
- Solo #7
- Batman: Masque
In Other Media
Batman 1960's Tv Series
Chief O'Hara has appeared in the 1968 cartoon the Batman/Superman Hour, in a role similar to the one he plays in the 1960's television series. This version of Clancy O'Hara is based on Stafford Repp's portrayal.
Behind the scenes
- In the Justice League episode "Legends", a character named Chief O'Shaughnessy is an obvious homage to Chief O'Hara, as they are both cops with thick Irish accents. However, the "Irishness" of his accent disappears after the episode's villain Ray Thompson was defeated.