Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Golden Age Idol--Lady Fairplay!!

You know what we haven't done for awhile?? Golden Age Idol, that's what we haven't done for awhile!

Well, let's resume our periodic hunt for public domain super-heroes who would be worthy (and profitable) to revive in the modern day.

And today's contestant?

Let's note first of all, according to cover dates (admittedly unreliable), Lady Fairplay debuted in Bang-Up Comics #1 (1941),one whole month before Mister Terrific, probably somewhat more famous for his use of the motto "Fair Play." But our gal came first.

Next, she has no origin story. This first splash panel? That's it. Let's zoom in on the bursting caption:

We never meet the "brilliant scientist," never really get any definition of her "unlimited energetic powers," never learn anything about the "experiment." Literally, this is all we get.

And Goddess Of Chastisement?? I must have skipped that chapter in my Edith Hamilton...

Anyway, as I said, in the very first real panel of story, she's already got her powers. No boring origin stuff here!!

Well, since we never knew the woman she was before, we really have no idea how she's "a different woman" now. Seriously, it's like we skipped an issue of something...

Anyway, Mary Lee has plans!

But, thanks to her "super-sensitive ears," Mary overhears a police radio broadcast about some robbers who've taken a hostage:

So...the dowdy school teacher who is really the Goddess Of Chastisement keeps her "regalia" in the old store room? This is starting to sound like a a bad porn movie...

"And now for some excitement!!" You guys are making this too easy!!

Apparently, one of her powers is too move faster than the eye can see (or, faster than the principal's eye, at least).

Professor Amazo not only gave her powers, he gave her a tricked out car!

Sadly, we never see the car do anything special.

Also, her super senses apparently don't include super-sight, because she needs binoculars to follow the bad guys to the airport.

And it doesn't seem as if she can fly, as she has to leap from her speeding car to catch onto the plane:

And yet, she does have super-strength enough to shake up the plane:

She breaks into the plane, and...

But the very next panel:

Hey, no fair cutting away like that!! Is she bulletproof? Did she dodge the bullets? Did the gunsel miss? Was anybody Goldfingered out a shattered window? What happened?!?!

We'll never know. But she does slap around the crooks...

...she makes a quick introduction to the police, and a quick exit...

Why is she in such a hurry?

You know, I'd really like to think that whenever my teachers stepped out of the class for a few minutes, they weren't visiting the bathroom or sneaking a quick smoke, but they were out fighting crime as super-heroes.

Probably not, though.

Lady Fairplay appeared in the only three issues of Bang-Up Comics, and then vanished into obscurity, until revived in FemForce in recent years.

Still, she's public domain, so we'd get to use her, too, if we wished. Hmm, but do we??

Let's see...the school teacher/super-hero bit has been done. Still the wonky (and essentially never fully revealed) origin leaves us lots of room for fun, as does the ridiculously vague power set. We do need more female heroes. And, really, who can resist the chance to constantly tweak DC by throwing "Fairplay" at them on a monthly basis?

I'm sold. How about you, Simon?

All right, Lady Fairplay moves on!!


Martin Gray said...

Oh, great find! I've not heard of this lass at all. I was going to suggest that panels such as the secret ID close-ups were traced from HG Peter, but it seems this came out before Wonder Woman in 1941. Plus, the styles are all over the place. I wonder if the artist was using a crazy quilt approach because their own draughtsmanship was dodgy.

And why is she announcing her super-poweredness to her pupils? Daft bint.

snell said...

It's possible that "Jack Ryan" is a pseudonym, given the era. Aside from the Lady Fairplay stories in Bang-Up #1-3, his only credits on GCD are Streamer Kelly stories in A-1 #1 & #3 (1944 & 1046). Of course, given the era, he may also have had his (?) career interrupted by the War, or may have had work published without credit.

And I thin that was meant to be an aside for the audience, not an announcement to her class.