Thursday, April 28, 2016

Golden-Age Idol--USA, The Spirit Of Old Glory!

You know, I can't believe I've never featured this hero before:

Please forgive the quality of the scans...they're the best I've got.

Anyway, USA The Spirit Of Old Glory--yes, that's her name--has one of the more insane origins out there.

As an unnamed child, she watched Betsy Ross sew that famous flag...

...Betsy gave her some threads from the flag to keep in her locket...

...in her rush to show the threads to Uncle Sam (wait...this is a Quality book...was it that Uncle Sam?!?!), she doesn't put on a coat and gets terribly sick...

...and, well, she dies.

GREAT ORIGIN!!

No, wait, some mysterious robed figure (a monk? Never explained!) gives a prophecy:

Decades later, grave-robbing pays off big time:

And so is born...


That's our gal!

Her powers were vague, even by Golden Age standards. She could fly, she was strong, anything she covered with that flag was invulnerable...

Oh, and the flag "drooped" whenever there was danger to America:





All 7 of her appearances were from 1941, well before Pearl Harbor. So she focused on beating the crap out of "fifth columnists" and disloyal Americans:



Yes, she would beat the crap out of your teacher. Granted, teaching the kids to salute the Fuhrer and the Fatherland probably wasn't pre-approved by the local school board....

And heaven help you if you had a political rally that USA didn't approve of:






Yeah!!

I'm not quite sure how she did that bit there...perhaps her flag operates in some way like Cloak's cloak? Does she use flags as doorways to alternate dimensions that allow her to travel swiftly to wherever there is a flag? Yes, I'm putting way too much thought into a silly Golden Age power.

Oh, and she has her "Torch Of Liberty," which can do pretty much anything she needed that story, including completely destroying a Nazi army that's been hiding in a cave on American soil:



And of course, every issue ended up with dead villains and a warning to anyone she considered subversive:

Or...


This woman makes Captain America look like a hippie!

USA The Spirit Of Old Glory never had a "real" identity, never even had a name besides USA. Once she posed as a woman working in a munitions factory, but that was just undercover work, not the traditional secret identity.

Insane quasi-mystical origin, baffling but colorful power-set, jingoistic to the point of nastiness...why DC never revived her is beyond me. Put her on Earth-X (or whatever they call that these days) as the mysterious anti-hero who occasionally teams up with the Freedom Fighters but often goes too far for their tastes...

Anyway, USA The Spirit Of Old Glory--the human/flag hybrid who beats up teachers and crushes armies single-handedly. She's out there in the public domain, just waiting...

From Feature Comics #42-#48 (1941)

3 comments:

SallyP said...

That... that's terrifying!

Paul Smith said...

I'm guessing her name would correctly be Usa, kind of like the bomb in Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. And it's amazing the Torch of Freedom has never been used like this again.

Arynne said...

Theories for the robed guy:

God

A Guardian Angel

A Time Lord

The Spirit of America (before he became Uncle Sam)

The Spectre, moonlighting in the Qualityverse