The Adventures of Superman
Action Comics #442
Elliot S. Maggin
|Full name||William Henderson|
|Team affiliations||Metropolis Police Department|
|Supporting character of||Superman|
Inspector William Henderson is a supporting character in Superman comics published by DC Comics.
Along with comic books, Henderson has made appearances in various television shows like Adventures of Superman where he was portrayed by Robert Shayne. The character was portrayed by Damon Gupton in the first three seasons of the live action Arrowverse series Black Lightning.
Inspector Henderson is a police inspector who first appeared in the 1940s radio series The Adventures of Superman, in which he was Superman's police contact. Mainly used as a sounding board in that capacity, the only detail about Henderson's personal life that was revealed was that he had a son named Ray. Inspector Henderson was voiced by Matt Crowley and later by Earl George.
A fully developed character was created by Dennis Cooper and Lee Backman for the 1950s Adventures of Superman debuting in the third episode of first season "The Case of the Talkative Dummy", and after the solid performance of Robert Shayne, he was adapted to comics. Inspector Henderson for the TV series had a much more important role in Superman crime fighting career, the character was portrayed by Robert Shayne. He is a member of the Metropolis Police Department and is a friend of the Daily Planet staff where he often works in conjunction with them on crime investigations. In the episode "The Talking Clue", Inspector Henderson has a teenage son named Ray (portrayed by Richard Shackleton). The character was only introduced in comics after more than 20 years in Action Comics #440 by Elliot S! Maggin and Curt Swan and Bob Oksner.
It took a while longer for Inspector Henderson to be introduced in the comics. When he did, he was once again as Superman's main police contact.
He also appeared in issues of the first Black Lightning series where it is revealed that he has a son named Andrew who is a member of the 100.
In New Adventures of Superboy #6 (June 1980), a younger version of the character was introduced. Detective-Sergeant Henderson visited Smallville in an attempt to convince Superboy to relocate to Metropolis, where the rate and volume of crime was much higher. Henderson was unsuccessful, although the Boy of Steel would relocate to Metropolis upon reaching adulthood and becoming Superman.
Since John Byrne's 1986 Man of Steel miniseries, Inspector Henderson's role has been reduced somewhat, in favor of newer characters Dan Turpin and Maggie Sawyer. Currently, Henderson is Metropolis' police commissioner.
Supergirl (vol. 5) #37 (March 2009) introduces Inspector Mike Henderson, an African-American detective who heads the Metropolis Metacrimes Division, one of two units replacing Sawyer and Turpin's Special Crimes Unit (the other being the Science Police).
In Superman Smashes The Klan, set in 1946, Inspector Henderson is an African-American police detective for the Metropolis Police Force. As such, he must endure the typical racism of the era such as when the Lee family thought he was an intruder on their property after it was subject to a Ku Klux Klan attack. He himself is directly targeted by the Klan, including being taken prisoner by them along with Perry White and Lois Lane. Eventually, Henderson is the one who defeats and arrests a corrupt police officer who is assisting the Klan in a mass terrorist attack on a children's baseball game.