Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Patsy Walker Story

Patsy Walker was perhaps the least likely character to become a superhero. Making her debut in 1944, she starred in humor and romance comics for 20 years before crossing into the world of costumed crimefighters.

It began with a guest appearance in Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), attending the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl. A decade later, Patsy's backstory turned on its ear.

Her longtime boyfriend and eventual husband, Robert "Buzz" Baxter, became a crook (later the villain Mad-Dog) in an intricate storyline that prompted Patsy to become the heroic Hellcat.

To explain the genre-defying discontinuity, Marvel Comics explained that although Patsy and "Buzz" existed in the same world as the Fantastic Four, the numerous comics showing the couple's idyllic courtship actually hadn't taken place. In fact, all of the issues of Patsy Walker's own series became metatext, apocryphal accounts penned by Patsy's mother, Dorothy Walker (herself a character in the series).

After Hellcat joined the Defenders, flashbacks showed how Patsy never lived up to the pristine expectations of her demanding mother. If that wasn't bad enough, when Dorothy Walker suffered from a terminal illness, she tried to safeguard her own life by selling Patsy's soul to a demon, in one of the scariest story arcs the non-team ever faced.

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