Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Leader of the Pack

Candy Sothern absolutely shined during her debut in X-Men #31, when a chance encounter reunited her with "childhood sweetheart" Warren Worthington III. The two knew one another before Warren entered Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters as Angel, and then would become romantically involved as young adults.

Though originally introduced in dialogue with the last name Sothern (without the letter u), further appearances clarified that her last name was Southern (with a u) by the time Angel joined the Defenders.

As far back as Defenders #121, Beast and Valkyrie were at odds about who should lead the team, while Gargoyle dodged the debate. That push-pull dynamic helped explain the group's eventual decision to appoint Candy Southern as leader of the New Defenders (#138).

For all her intelligence and poise, Candy had no real qualifications to lead a super-team—except what she might have learned through osmosis over the years as Angel's girlfriend. So she was understandably surprised that the heroes selected her for the position.

While in charge, Candy focused her attention on improving the security system of the group's headquarters (#145), acting more like an honorary leader than the real thing. But a non-leader was all the New Defenders could agree on at the time.

The top panels show Warren Worthington's reunion with Candy Sothern in the X-Men. Vol. 1. No. 31. April 1965. "We Must Destroy the Cobalt Man!" Good-as-gold editing by: Stan Lee. Solid-silver scripting by: Roy Thomas. Platinum-plated penciling by: Werner Roth. Iridium-bright inking by: Jon Tartaglione. Lead-lined lettering by: Sam Rosen.
The bottom panels show the heroes and housekeeper Dolly Donahue expressing their support for Candy Southern as leader of the New Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 138. December 1984. "Three Women." Peter B. Gillis (story), Don Perlin (pencils), Kim DeMulder (inks), Janice Chiang (letters), Petra Scotese (colors), Carl Potts (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).

1 comment:

pblfsda said...

Although the movie adaptation would not come out until 1968, I'd always suspected that the Terry Southern novel "Candy"(1958) was the inspiration for the character's name. The girl in the novel was known for having a big heart, seeing the beauty in people who others might consider flawed. Southern said he based her on a girl he saw in Greenwich village who had an affair with a hunchback.

The misspelling in the first appearance might have come from someone confusing her with actress Ann Sothern, possibly Stan. Stan got a lot of names and images for stories from TV and movies, Roy took names from novels (he notably convinced an extremely skeptical Marvel management to license Conan when no one had heard of him).

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