Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Golden Age Idol--Dame Kackle?!?

I have to confess, I've been a bit remiss.

Through the many, many Golden Age Idol entries, I've focused entirely on the heroes.

But there are some Golden Age villains who need to be brought back, too.

For example:

No, not The Defender. He was just your typical low-rent "guy who puts on a costume and slugs Nazis and crooks". Nothing at all remarkable about him, and he only lasted 5 issues (I will say, though, that that is a pretty bitchin' logo. And it's hard to believe that Marvel controls a character named The Defender and never brought him back to, say, lead the Defenders.)

No, we're here to look at the Defender's very first foe, from USA Comics #1 (1941). Who might that be?



OK, I know what you're thinking...WTF?

Fair enough. Dame Kackle may seem just like a gnarly old female pirate with a poorly-drawn cat o' nine-tails.

But the story quite clearly tells us that she is "the deadliest agent of the dreaded Nazi Gestapo!" And she's using her great pirate abilities to smuggle Japanese spies into the U.S.!!

And she's pretty menacing to intrepid girl reporter Sally Kean!


Ah, but the Defender and Rusty (his boy sidekick) manage to defeat her. Yet...


Hmmm...escaped, or drowned? C'mon...she's a pirate! Of course she can swim!! Of course she survived. And she's probably one of those Pirates Of The Caribbean-type immortal pirates, so of course she's still around, right?!?

So what's not to love? An immortal female Nazi pirate with a mean whip who cackles every time she speaks? That's gold, man. Especially if Disney decides to give us a Captain Jack Sparrow series, but set in modern day, and he's got to go around collecting immortal pirate treasures to save the world, but Dame Kackle wants them for herself, and...

Look, a boy can dream, can't he?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Deadman Has ALWAYS Been Skeevy!

Remember those halcyon day early in the nu52, when Deadman was romancing Dove, and discussed possessing a body so he could...ahem...physically demonstrate his love for her? And everyone thought that was terrible skeevy?

Well, yeah, it was...but that misses the point that Deadman has ALWAYS been skeevy. 

For example:

There's this criminal outfit on a Caribbean island that's posing as a health spa but is really a front to create new faces and new identities from criminals.

Yes, Bob Haney created the basic plot of Die Another Day 30 years ahead of time.

Anyhoo, Batman and Deadman are trying to infiltrate the place and bring them down, because crime bad.

So Deadman possess the body of the head of the outfit, Richie Wandruss.

That leaves the problem of Wandruss' girlfriend and fellow criminal, Lilly Lang...

But that's no problem if you're Boston Brand!



Ah, but the next few days are filled with good lovin', Deadman style!

And Lilly is liking the "new" Richie...

But Batman has no time for love! He insists that when the gang gets busted, Lilly get's busted right along with them!

Well, Deadman can't have that, so he decides the vest action...is to confess to Lilly?



Well, that's an...odd reaction.

You'd think that the revelation that the guy you thought was your boyfriend was really an acrobatic ghost possessing his body would at the very least result in a slap or an "EEEEEWWWWWW" or a long hot shower scrubbing yourself off. Not Lilly...apparently she's into full-body cosplay.

Of course, Boston hasn't been entirely square with her...

Sadly, Deadman doesn't persuade her to quit, and in fact, he has to shoot her dead to prevent her killing Batman. Ain't love grand?

So, Deadman has ALWAYS been skeevy.

But, it's still not as skeevy as the skeeviest comic book story ever...

From Brave And The Bold #104 (1972)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Wenches Of The West

Belle Starr may have been a wench, but...

And she could out-swear most cowboys:

And when you put a gun in her hand:

Yow!!

But she was still a woman:



But don't be fooled by her lusty femininity--she's still a gun-toting, hard-swearing, train-robbing wench!

From Women Outlaws #2 (1948)

Manic Monday Bonus--The Women Of The WildWest Were Wilder Than You Thought!

In 1948 Fox Comics debuted an exciting new title:

Let me tell you, there weren't an awful lot of women outlaws in Women Outlaws. Only the cover story was a Western, or starred a "gun gal." The rest of the issue featured standard male urban gangsters. It felt very much like a ploy by Fox to use an enticing cover as an excuse to burn off a bunch of inventory of "regular" crime comics.

Ah, but Fox wasn't done. Over 7 more issues, we got lots and lots of evil female cowgirls, all willing to kill while looking lovely:





And it wasn't just the covers--the interiors were (almost) all gun gals, all the time:


"The Man Killing Bandit Of Raton Pass"?







And those were just from the first three issues!

Ah, but in those heady post-war days, many comics trends could turn on a dime. So after 8 issues, Women Outlaws magically transmogrified into:

Same numbering, different title, different genre.

But the love trend didn't last very long, as after only 4 issues, My Love Memoirs became:

The first issue of Hunted was #13...the second was #2. Bother me no more with your petulant whining about comic companies constantly renumbering & relaunching. You kids got it easy today!

Fun fact...Wertham's Seduction Of The Innocent cited My Love Memoirs/Hunted as an example of a romance comic that switched over to a crime comic; yet he failed to mention that it had been a (Western) crime book to begin with! Oh, Wertham...

Manic Monday--Worst Attempt At A Screwball Comedy/Crime Comic Mash-Up!

Hey, Moe...?

From Women Outlaws #1 (1948)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Smile And The World Smiles With You

Not to beat the dead horse, but...

We could really use these guys back.

As we approach one year since the last Legion Of Super-Heroes book was published (which, by the way, disbanded the Legion and revealed that they were from the future of Earth-2, because Earth-1 can't have nice things)...(and don't forget that DC has left the members of Legion Lost stranded in the present for over a year and half now without even a mention, which means they rank below Voodoo and Grifter in DC's priorities list)...

...let's not forget that, in almost every group shot, the Legion is smiling, something quite rare for the nu52.

Hell, even Gary Frank, who still hasn't learned how to draw a human smile that doesn't look more like a grimace of pain, drew them "smiling."

And yes, I know the Legion is supposedly making a comeback in Justice League United, but the solicit says "the 31st century has been destroyed!" So yay?!?

Given JLU's track record, they'll find a way to chop of Lightning Lad's other arm, and other gritty stuff, and we'll get nary a smile.

But goddammit, the Legion is a bunch of teenagers with super powers!! They should be freakin' smiling!

Even when they did grim future in the 5 Years Later storyline...

...they still found time to smile (mostly).

Now maybe, just maybe, DC is ready to lighten up a little bit, as the "new" direction for Batgirl might indicate (although I will withhold judgement, because if you think about it for 2 seconds, turning Batgirl into a waify teenager who takes selfies in club bathroom mirrors doesn't seem all that empowering to me, and might be more a dumbing down than a lightening up)...

...but good gosh, look at Futures End, Worlds End, Earth-2. DC still prefers dystopian futures to bright ones, angst to joy, villains to heroes, and dismemberment to character development.

So come on, nu52...
...can we at least crack a smile once in awhile?