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Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Priorities of Paladin

The mercenary Paladin, who served briefly as one of the Last Defenders, makes a worthy candidate for discussion of character class in Dungeons & Dragons. Historically defined as a royal knight, a Paladin in the classic rules for the D&D role-playing game was bound to a strict moral code described as Lawful Good. The D&D source book Deities and Demigods classified King Arthur as a Paladin.

The Marvel character Paladin, on the other hand, did not adhere to such narrow criteria. While Paladin's line of work regularly brought him in opposition to evil-doers, he was motivated by a desire to get paid by his clients rather than by a desire to do good deeds. When circumstances led Paladin to meet other superheroes, he wondered why they chose to fight crime for free. Unlike Luke Cage, who also made crime-fighting his professional career, Paladin described himself as a soldier-of-fortune rather than a hero-for-hire.

Given his cavalier disposition, it's unlikely that Paladin spent much time worrying if his code name was in fact a misnomer. He once joked, however, that Janet Van Dyne called herself the Wasp because she was a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #105).

Paladin got his first solo story in Marvel Premiere #43 (Aug. 1979). The character made his first appearance in Daredevil #150 (Jan. 1978).

1 comment:

Doc Savage said...

The Paladin-Wasp-Black Knight triangle in the early or mid--80s was fun. John Buscema drew a very attractive Wasp. And there's no doubt that Stan Lee made Wasp's alter ego a WASP on purpose as a bit of humor.

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