Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Moonga of Mars

When friends suggested seeing a monster movie, Patsy Walker shot down the idea. In Patsy's opinion, monsters were just laughable. As a practical joke, Buzz Baxter rented a costume to scare Patsy by introducing himself as Moonga the Martian (Patsy and Hedy #76). Even as a prank, the sight of an extraterrestrial was extraordinary. Although monster comics were commonplace at the time, Patsy Walker was firmly situated in the genre of teen romance/comedy.

This panel comes from Patsy and Hedy #76 (June 1961).

Friday, November 24, 2023

Arrows and Alignments

Robin Hood was an inspiration for many a comic book archer, such as Green Arrow, Hawkeye and Golden Archer. Given my many posts over the years about the alignment system from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, I was curious how the game assessed this folk hero.

An article from Dragon #55 (Nov. 1981) described Robin Hood as Chaotic Good, citing his love of total freedom and his hatred of injustice. That wasn't the last word, however. An article from Dragon #63 (July 1982) noted that bandits in the tradition of Robin Hood have an alignment of Neutral Good. This inconsistent take on Robin Hood, or characters like him, shows the room for interpretation within the nine alignments from AD&D.

The story of Robin Hood appeared in Marvel Classics Comics #34 (Oct. 1978).

Friday, November 17, 2023

Buzz Baxter: Public Enemy #1

Back in their days as high school sweethearts, Patsy Walker and Buzz Baxter were at odds. After warning Buzz about being too quick to lose his temper, Patsy became all the more concerned when Buzz refused to appear in court to pay a fine on a traffic ticket (Patsy Walker #42).

Patsy: Buzz, I'm afraid this is far more serious than you think! It could ruin your future … One thing leads to another and before you know it you're Public Enemy Number One!

As things turned out, Buzz had received a phony traffic ticket as a practical joke, so he wasn't in any real trouble with the law—at least not until years later when he became the supervillain Mad-Dog and Patsy became the crimefighter Hellcat.

Buzz Baxter worries about becoming a criminal in this panel from Patsy Walker #42 (Sept. 1952).

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Cat Costume

Patsy Walker eventually became a superhero when she found the costume worn by the original Cat. Coincidentally, exposition on the cover of Patsy and Hedy #47 (Nov. 1956) noted that teenage Patsy had her eye on a cat costume for a masquerade party. Although that situation didn't appear as a story inside the comic book, the cover provides some subtext (albeit unintentional) for Patsy's adult alias as Hellcat.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

On a Lark

Lady Lark was among the most tragic members of the Squadron Supreme. As revealed in the Squadron Supreme limited series, Linda Lewis had been a successful recording artist until an accident damaged her vocal cords. Following an operation, new vocal cords gave her superhuman sonic powers. As a drawback, however, she could no longer sing (Squadron Supreme #1, #4). In some respects, Lady Lark's music career had parallels to that of Dazzler, a singer whose mutant powers over light and sound propelled her into the role of reluctant superhero.

Like other early members of the Squadron Supreme, Lady Lark had a counterpart in the Justice League of America—specifically, Black Canary, with her ear-piercing "canary cry." On top of that, Lady Lark's on-again, off-again relationship with teammate Golden Archer was an homage to Black Canary's romantic pairing with Green Arrow in DC Comics.

This image of Lady Lark comes from Avengers #147 (May 1976). Since her powers often appeared as music notes, singing may have been how Lady Lark activated her superhuman abilities.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Love Triangulation

A complicated love triangle developed in the "Patsy Walker" story from Miss America #44 (March 1952). Patsy was upset that boyfriend Buzz Baxter was more interested in reading a Kid Colt comic book than paying attention to her. At Patsy's prompting, Buzz put aside the comic book only to become equally preoccupied with westerns on TV and film.

Buzz then took Patsy on a date to the rodeo to see Tex Dallas, a cowboy he admired. After the show, Tex coerced Buzz into riding a horse called "Back-Buster"; the ornery animal immediately threw Buzz to the ground! Buzz went home with a sore back while Tex invited Patsy out dancing—leaving Buzz feeling bitter and betrayed by his hero.