Happy post Father’s Day everyone!
For the non American readers of this blog, Father’s day is a holiday where we celebrate our fathers, and if marketing campaigns are to be believed it’s usually with MANLY gifts like ties and power tools.
Last year I did an article comparing and contrasting two of comics’ greatest deceased father figures: Superman’s dad Jor-El and Spiderman’s Uncle Ben.
This time I thought it would be time to break out the big guns and celebrate the career and achievements of the greatest living father figure in comic book history: Batman’s butler, Alfred.
Side note: if you disagree with the above statement please write a well crafted and polite rebuttal in the comments.
Origin and Career
Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth made his first appearance in Batman #16 in April of 1943.
On the cover of the comic it says he was created by artist Bob Kane.
Although it is much more likely that actual creator was writer, and the man who got royally screwed out of getting the credit that he justly deserves, Bill Finger.
Artist Jerry Robinson was also heavily involved, since he was busy doing the actual drawing of the issues at this point in Batman’s career.
Alfred made his first appearance on the cover of the issue, and he looked like this:
The original Alfred was a bit of an idiot. At this point in the story Batman and Robin had been doing their thing fighting crime in Gotham when Alfred showed up fresh off the boat and claiming that he was fulfilling the wish of his dying father Jarvis in serving the Wayne family as their butler.
Naturally, Batman and Robin were not very keen on having a near total stranger snooping around the house with their secret identities at stake.
Despite his background as an intelligence officer Alfred was…kind of an idiot.
I only say “kind of” because he was actually a very good butler. He did his job, he was loyal to Bruce and Dick, and when it came time to defend the Manor he wound up discovering who he was really working for by pure accident.
My favorite part of this scene is the dialogue that the two men exchange during the fight.
Of course Alfred reveals what he knows to Batman and Robin and the two gain a new ally in their fight against criminals.
You may notice that the original Alfred doesn’t look a thing like the way we normally picture Alfred.
For that we can actually thank the silver screen.
See, the idea that comic books could be adapted to the silver screen is nothing new. In fact, Hollywood was quick to jump on the wave of superhero popularity and started churning out short little movie serials staring the two most popular heroes at the time: Superman and Batman.
In 1943 Columbia Pictures began releasing short Batman serial movies with creative titles such as “Batman and the Electrical Brain”,
The effects and costumes were…not the best.
but one of its lasting impacts was hiring actor English character actor William Austin to play the Batman’s butler.
The serials were so popular that the comics adapted and changed Alfred’s appearance to reflect the show.
So what happened?
Jesus, to describe everything that Alfred has done since his original appearance would take an entire book.
Wherever Batman has gone, Alfred has followed. He’s an integral part of the Batman mythos, and I would personally argue that he the most important supporting figure in any Batman story. And yes, that includes figures like Robin and Batgirl.
He has fulfilled the role of a caretaker, a guiding moral compass to a whole host of emotionally crippled children and warriors, and most importantly an eternally patient father figure.
So, in an effort to keep this short, I’m going to break his long and storied career down into some of the more prominent highlights.
In 1964 Alfred was killed in Detective Comics #328 after heroically saving the Dynamic Duo from a falling boulder.
He would be reborn as a mysterious villain known as “The Outsider” and fought the heroes off panel, usually using other villains as pawns and working behind the scenes.
His identity and appearance would be revealed two years later in Detective Comics #356.
It…wasn’t the best look for him and I can see why they kept him out of the way.
In terms of backstory, Alfred’s has remained pretty consistent. The comics have always given him some sort of military and/or intelligence background and in the 1960’s he worked as an intelligence agent during World War 2. We know this because he had a daughter named Julia with a French co worker.
In 1985 DC reorganized its comic books with the even “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and reworked the backstories of many of their most famous characters.
Alfred got a few minor tweaks but didn’t change that much. He was an actor as well as an intelligence agent and instead of introducing himself to a much older Bruce, he became Bruce’s butler and confidant at a young age.
The new Alfred had some pretty awesome moments as well and a lot of writers love giving him some really badass lines and small fight scenes.
Seriously, the man’s gone toe to toe with Superman both in quips,
and with fisticuffs.
So he’s amazing in the comics but I would have to say that his film and television appearances deserve a special mention as well.
Alfred has appeared in every single movie, television, and cartoon adaptation of Batman since the beginning and has provided a steady stream of employment to classy senior British actors.
All of them have been fantastic, but special mentions go to the Alfred from Batman: The Animated Series,
where he was voiced by actor Clive Revill (who was actually the original voice of the Emperor from Star Wars)
and the gloriously named Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Personally my favorite Alfred at the moment has to be the one from The Lego Batman Movie where he was voiced by Voldemort himself, Ray Finnes,
but if you ask me the best Alfred of them all would have to be the late great Michael Gough from Tim Burton’s Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and the infamous Batman and Robin.
I would actually go as far as to say that Michael Gough was so good that he actually made Batman and Robin halfway watchable.
That’s right, I’m defending Batman and Robin, fight me.
Alfred is one of the greatest comic book characters ever created. He is wise and talented beyond even his considerable years and has been at Bruce’s side through thick and thin. Not only has he been a faithful and dutiful butler but he has been a kind, patient, and loving father to a boy who needed it most in order to become one of the greatest superheroes of all time.
Warning: this article contains content not suitable for children.
Today we’re talking about a comic book project on Kickstarter with big dreams, an ambitious goal, and an interesting take on the gangster epic, one of the more popular genres in popular culture.
The project is a series of graphic novels created, drawn, and produced by Mike Bloom.
It is currently seeking funding for the debut issue of a planned long form series and is seeking to reach $10,000 by June 30th, 2017.
Here’s the link to the campaign:
Why I like it
The story is simple. Four crime families are fighting among each other for control of the fictional town of Capitol City. These families all have colorful leaders such as Mario Italiano.
So it seems like it’s a pretty stereotypical gangster story but the way it tells its story is so interesting and quirky that I can’t help but be impressed.
You’ll notice that the art style is…different.
I want to say this is Saturday morning cartoon violence cranked up to eleven but…it’s not. It’s too angry and violent for a kid cartoon but it’s too clean and polished for mature and gritty.
I guess the only word I can use to describe it is…unique.
It’s a rapid fire assault on the senses that makes it bizarre, almost alien, and I love it for that.
Also, the creator claims that this graphic novel series is “The Sopranos meets Rick and Morty”.
I like the Sopranos,
and I LOVE Rick and Morty,
and if this comic lives up to its promise than I will be a very happy man.
If there was one correction I would make I would say that the art style reminds me of Invader Zim more than anything.
It’s probably just me but hey, is being compared to Invader Zim really a bad thing?
Why you should donate
If the art and premise didn’t grab your attention and make you want to donate than I highly recommend checking out the story behind the creation of this comic.
I’m not going to go into the creator’s entire life story here but just to give you a rundown, the man is passionate about this project and has dedicated over fifteen years of his life to making this series a reality.
Heck, before it was a comic it was actually a card game you could play on your phone.
Now, I don’t normally use the backstory behind the creation of something as a selling point. Usually I believe that it doesn’t matter how much time you put into something if the end result is going to be garbage. But this? This is different.
You can tell that the creator is incredibly passionate about this project, and that he has poured his heart and soul into it, and that is worth our respect and attention.
Italiano is an ambitious project that is the textbook definition of a labor of love. It’s crazy, violent, bizarre, wholly unique, and is worth your time and money.
Campaign link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1916419692/italiano-the-graphic-novel-series/description
I’ll be honest folks. Today’s hero showcase barely qualifies as a Golden Age superhero. In fact, if you look at his only comic book appearance he barely qualifies as a superhero in general.
But this is a blog dedicated to the obscure and silly aspects of the early days of the comic book industry and they don’t get much more obscure than this character’s single appearance in a superhero anthology title surrounded by much more popular and successful heroes.
With that being said, while today’s hero didn’t make much of a splash in the 1940’s, he was reworked in the modern era to become one of the most important characters in the thriving Marvel Universe.
Today we’re talking about the superbly named John Steele.
ORIGIN AND CAREER
John Steele made his first and only Golden Age appearance in Daring Mystery Comics #1 in January of 1940.
He was created by legendary artist Dan Barry,
Who was one of the premier artists of his time and one of the main creators and practitioners of an art style known as “New York slick”.
I could try to list all of the stories and characters that used this particular style of art, but all you need to know is that this was the dominant art styles of the time and would only be replaced by the legendary Jack Kirby’s career at the new Marvel Comics.
Barry created John Steele as a soldier fighting in World War 1, which just goes to show you that even though the United States wasn’t officially at war with Germany yet there were plenty of people who were happy enough to dig up the violence of the past to get a head start on the violence of the future.
The story was pretty straightforward. Steele gets trapped behind enemy lines, discovers an Allied spy who needs to get back to headquarters, and the two make their way back home.
Pretty straightforward, pretty direct, kind of boring.
So what happened?
John Steele would have faded into the deepest, darkest pit of obscurity if it wasn’t for comic book creator Ed Brubaker turning him into one of the most important characters in the entire Marvel Universe.
In Mr. Brubaker’s limited series The Marvels Project it was revealed that John Steele was actually a superhuman with increased strength, durability, and longevity.
Apparantly, this small time obscure character from a single story in the 1940’s, was America’s first super soldier.
While that’s pretty cool it gets even better. Brubaker’s story explains that, during the First World War, Steele was actually captured by the Germans and placed in suspended animation for years.
The Germans discoverd his mysterious powers and were determined to duplicate them for their own uses.
One of these scientists was Abraham Erskine, the man who developed the serum that gave Captain America his powers.
It’s a pretty bold claim to make, and Brubaker would go on to give Steele one hell of a story to go with it.
In 1940, the laboratory holding Steele was destroyed in a bombing and Steele was brought out of suspended animation.
Being a red blooded American with a penchant for war and a hatred of all things German he did what all comic book superheroes do best: kill Nazis.
He teamed up with Nick Fury and several other World War 2 superhero teams to fight the Red Skull, but refused to come home with his countrymen due to his anger at the atrocities committed by the Red Skull and his understandable desire to not be experimented on.
He continued to act behind enemy lines and actually uncovered an Axis plot that would have prevented the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but sadly his fellow superheroes could only lessen the damage. He disappeared after the invasion of Normandy three years later.
He would make his final appearance in the Secret Avengers comic books, this time as a member of a mysterious organization known as the Shadow Council,
Where it was revealed that he had actually been alive for an unkown amount of time and had fought in the American Civil War.
Being a super soldier working for an evil organization John inevitably came into contact with Captain America.
The two developed something of a fierce rivalry until Captain America captured him and managed to convince him to switch sides and spy on the Shadow Council on the inside.
Unfortunately, the Shadow Council learned about Steele’s new alliance and had him tortured and killed. His last act was to warn the Avengers about the Council’s plans and he wound up dying as a hero.
Hey everyone! If you enjoyed this article you might enjoy some of the other stuff we do. Besides weekly articles like this we publish a bi weekly web comic about a family of super villains known as “The Secret Lives of Villains”. We even have a book out and you can support us by picking up a copy here.
Happy President’s Day everyone!
For our non American readers, President’s Day is an American holiday held on the third Monday of every month. It was originally made a legal holiday in order to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln,
but depending on what state you live in it can either celebrate one of them, both, or every President who has been elected into office.
Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the position of President of the United States of America is probably not the most popular position of leadership in the world right now,
but let me make my position on the matter perfectly clear.
While it is important to realize that the position of President of the United States is a difficult one, and that we should honor the people who sacrifice their time and health to the job, the truth of the matter is that at the end of the day the President is an elected official who can, and should, only do so much.
At the end of the day the problems that we face as a society can only be solved when ordinary people come together to fix them and take action. Solutions are almost never the work of one great individual, but rather a collection of ordinary people.
Sadly, the slow and tedious work of millions is difficult to comprehend. So in order to make sense of it all we do two things. We celebrate the lives and achievements of a few men and women and we craft symbols and signs that we can rally around.
That is part of the reason why I like superheroes so much. They’re colorful, larger than life, and an easy way for people to relate to things and events that are much bigger than themselves.
In an increasingly complex and chaotic world, they are the walking solutions to many of our problems.
So let’s take a look at a Golden Age superhero who wasn’t just a superhero who represented the millions of men and women who fought in WW2, but a walking symbol of America as well: Uncle Sam.
Origin and Career
Uncle Sam became the personification of the American people and government during the War of 1812, although you probably recognize him more from his World War 1 recruitment poster.
According to legend, the character of Uncle Sam was based off of the real life Samuel Wilson, who was a meat packer from New York and a fervent American patriot.
Uncle Sam is up there with the bald eagle, baseball, and the flag as great American symbols and since he has such a violent history and is often associated with war it only makes sense that when America decided to get involved during World War 2, they co opt the ever loving crap out of him.
Naturally he found a home in comic books and in July of 1940, Quality Comics published National Comics #1 hit the stands with Uncle Sam leading the charge against the Axis.
I don’t know what I like more, the fact that Uncle Sam’s hat hasn’t blown away in the wind, or that they have a LITTLE KID RUNNING ACROSS AN AIRPLANE WING ATTACKING A FULLY GROWN MAN ARMED WITH A PISTOL!
Boy, child safety laws were pretty lax back then.
Like every hero, Uncle Sam needed an origin story. It turned out that the folks at National Comics were content to keep him as a vague symbol of American government and way of life, only this time he was going to get his hands dirty and join the fight against crime and injustice. It turned out that Uncle Sam was the spirit of a fallen soldier from the American Revolution and continued to appear whenever his country needed him to fight.
With any other company or creator this probably would have turned into a silly little farce, but this version of Uncle Sam was written by Will Eisner.
If you don’t know who Will Eisner is, all you need to understand is that the comic book industry’s version of the Oscars is named after him.
Anyway, this version of Uncle Sam did his patriotic duty and fought off, what else, the forces of evil and tyranny that just so happened to look like the Nazis.
His superpowers were whatever the story needed and he had a kid sidekick named Buddy Smith who accompanied Uncle Sam on his many dangerous adventures.
So what happened?
He spent 45 issues beating the enemies of America, and freedom loving people everywhere, to a pulp.
Then Quality Comics went belly up in 1956 and was bought out by DC.
DC’s Uncle Sam would go on to be a pretty big supporting character in the DC universe. He became the leader of the Freedom Fighters, a group of old Quality Comics characters that were brought together in a Justice League type of arrangement.
His origin was retooled a bit. Now he was a spiritual entity that was summoned by the Founding Fathers in an occult ritual that bound the “Spirit of America” to the body of a dying patriot.
He’s had a steady presence in the DC universe ever since the 1970’s.
In 1997 DC’s greatest imprint, Vertigo Comics, gave Uncle Sam a two issue mini series written by Steve Darnell and drawn by Alex Ross.
My hat is off to Vertigo for taking a pretty goofy character and treating him with respect and giving him a meaningful story.
He appeared in the DC event comic Blackest Night.
and was dramatically revamped as a mortal black man in the New 52 reboot.
Uncle Sam is an interesting character. On one hand he’s goofy, colorful, and the kind of un ironic display of patriotism that would make a lot of people cringe. On the other hand he’s a symbol of a violent and destructive superpower that has a nasty habit of sticking its nose in business that it has no right to be in.
Personally, I’m more inclined towards the first interpretation. Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that the man is pure Americana and I can’t think of a better symbol of the effort and determination of the American people.
Sure, you can call me corny and cheesy but you know what? I’m okay with that.
Happy post Super Bowl everyone!
Last night was one of the greatest games I have ever seen and I am so happy that my favorite team won their fifth championship.
Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of the New England Patriots so I would like to apologize for anyone reading this who isn’t a football fan and has to put up with yet another half crazed fan talking about something that’s not that interesting. As for anyone who was hoping for the Patriots to lose, I’m not sorry in the slightest.
The game was one of the greatest things I have ever seen, so I thought it might be fitting to talk about an old school hero named The Patriot.
Look, it was either this guy or Sportsmaster and I chose him.
Origin and Career
The Patriot was a second string character created by writer Ray Gill and artist Bill Everett,
who was also the man who created Namor the Submariner.
The character first appeared in The Human Torch #4 in April of 1941.
Fun fact: the issue is rather famous for a printing error that stated it was issue #3 instead of #4.
Anyway, the Patriot’s actual name was Jeffery Mace and his first appearance was in a ten page backup story titled “The Yellowshirts turn Yellow!” where the Patriot defeated a group of people looking to subvert the United States war effort by overthrowing the United States government.
The character proved to be pretty popular for a backup character and would go on to have a successful, if not a bit standard and cliche, career as a secondary character in The Human Torch comics and Marvel Mystery Comics as well.
I like to think that if Captain America didn’t turn out to be as popular, the Patriot would have been able to become a much more established superhero. He wasn’t flashy, he didn’t have any special powers or particularly noteworthy stories, but he did his job and was popular enough to have a pretty long and storied career in the 1940’s.
So what happened?
Life tip: if you want to survive through trying times, you have to be able to stand out so people notice you. The Patriot did not have that chance and as a result died out with the superhero fad in the late 1940’s.
With that being said, his previous popularity gave him something that a lot of his colleagues never had: a second chance.
His first appearance was in The Avengers #97 along with his colleague in arms The Fin (the same guy we talked about last week) as a mental projection of Rick Jones in order to wage war on the Kree and Skrull.
He wound up joining the retconned superhero group known as The Liberty Legion and was given a much more fleshed out backstory in the 1970’s.
They gave the man a much more fleshed out backstory that gave him some much deeper connections to the Marvel Universe as a whole.
In the new reality Jeffery Mace was a reporter for the Daily Bugle (Spiderman!) who was inspired by his idol Captain America.
He even got to BE Captain America for a little bit when Marvel published a “What if?” story where he got to don the uniform of Captain America for a bit in order to explain how the hero could have continued to work after being frozen in ice.
He was actually the third person to don the costume. That’s him carrying the previous Captain America stand in, a hero called “The Spirit of ’76”.
Jeffery had a couple of guest appearances after that and was killed off in main continuity in 1983.
But for some wonderful reason, the Patriot still had some juice left in the tank.
In the modern day Jeffery’s story was retold in a comic book series called Captain America: Patriot that took a closer look at McCarthy era America and superheroes who wear the red, white, and blue.
His legacy lives on with a kid named Eli Bradley (the son of Isaiah Bradley from the excellent Truth: Red, White, and Black) working with the Young Avengers.
Also, for the first time in this entire blog, I can say that we have a superhero who actually made it outside of comics and into the movies!
Jeffery Mace made it onto the Marvel tv show Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D and was played by Jason O’Mara.
I won’t go into any further details for fear of spoiling the show, but I can say that he is one of the good guys and a friend to Coulson.
The Patriot is as big, bright, and as dumb as they come. He wasn’t meant to be all that interesting, he was written to punch Nazis and fight during the war. What Marvel created was a patriotic mascot, what they got was one of the best and most sincere attempts to replicate Captain America, one of their greatest icons.
Before we begin, I just want to say thank you for two very big milestones.
First, last week’s blog post on Truth: Red, White, and Black was the single most successful blog post we’ve ever had on this site.
I was absolutely blown away by the audience and the wonderful conversations that the article generated.
Second, yesterday was our two year anniversary as a blog and a website. I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy, but watching people enjoy everything we’ve worked so hard for has made this little venture worth it.
Anyway, let’s talk about a super hero that killed a whole bunch of Nazis and called himself the Grim Reaper.
Origin and Career
The Grim Reaper first appeared in Standard Comics’ The Fighting Yank #7 in February of 1944.
As you might be able to figure out from the cover, the entire issue had something of a military theme to it, especially since the United States was in the last full year of the war in Europe.
The Grim Reaper was published by Standard Comics and was created by comic book writer and editor Richard E. Hughes.
The pictures above show Hughes’ many pseudonyms which he used since he was an incredibly prolific comic book creator in a career that spanned the 1940’s to the 1970’s.
It’s worth mentioning that the Grim Reaper is something of an oddity in Golden Age superhero comics. While many of his fellow heroes started off fighting common criminals and spies, the Grim Reaper was thrust straight into the front lines of the war in Europe and got right down to kicking Nazi butt.
It’s also worth mentioning that Richard Hughes was actually a pretty good writer, because The Grim Reaper’s stories were pretty good.
In his first appearance our hero makes it very clear that he has no qualms about shedding German blood.
Also, he manages to save a concentration camp full of prisoners and captured Allied pilots so the Allied war effort can destroy a Nazi aerodrome.
Apparently, this story was so popular and well received that the Grim Reaper would be given his own title and cover appearances after his first story.
To be perfectly honest, I think that this is one of the greatest Golden Age covers I’ve ever seen.
The Grim Reaper’s new adventures were more of the same deal with him fighting the good fight in Europe and killing Nazis left and right.
What’s really interesting about these stories is just how human and normal they are. The Grim Reaper is actually more of a secondary character and the writer tends to focus on the plight and effort of normal humans actively fighting the Nazis across Europe.
Sure, the first page has a large picture of the hero, but the story itself is about the Greek resistance movement that sprung up to fight the occupying Nazi force.
It’s also worth mentioning that while the first Grim Reaper story falls into the typical tropes of turning the hero’s Nazi enemies into monsters who don’t have a very keen grasp of English and like to talk “in ze stereotypical German akksent!”
The funny thing is that, during his first main story, the writer goes out of his way to actually humanize some of the Nazis by having a Gestapo officer actually save the Grim Reaper’s life and reveal himself to be a German working against the Nazis.
They would eventually give the Grim Reaper an origin story in his second issue.
It was revealed that the Grim Reaper was actually an American student studying in France named Bill Norris who decided to stay behind in Paris in order to continue his studies.
The Nazis, in a blatant disregard for human rights and the Rules of War, sent Bill to a concentration camp when he tried to protect an old man from being beaten by a group of soldiers.
Sure, the soldiers had every right to arrest Bill for what he did, but you don’t sentence someone to slave labor when they assault your men without weapons.
While in the camp, Bill meets a leader in the French Resistance and manages to escape.
He decides to help the French and dons the Grim Reaper costume to fight the Nazis out of patriotic duty.
The Grim Reaper would go on to have a couple more adventures fighting the Axis powers, but then the war ended.
The Grim Reaper was too popular to be cancelled, so he decided to go and fight gangsters and common criminals instead.
Honestly, the new stories were nothing special and the Grim Reaper found himself playing second fiddle to other stories and characters that were becoming more and more popular in post war America.
So what happened?
History and bad business happened.
Standard comics went out of business in 1956 as the comic book market dried up and left many of the smaller publishers bankrupt.
The Grim Reaper would have remained forgotten if it wasn’t for the best beard in comics, the incredibly intimidating Alan Moore.
Moore had created his own publishing company in the early 2000’s called America’s Best Comics
and he scooped up many of the Standard Comics’ characters that had slipped into public domain which he used in a spin off series called Tom Strong.
The Grim Reaper would eventually be killed in the Tom Strong spin off series Terra Obscura.
In the end The Grim Reaper was a pretty typical flash in the pan Golden Age superhero. He existed, had a pretty short run, and faded into obscurity quickly and was only remembered by people who were truly interested in this particular time in comics.
With that being said, he was well drawn (for the time), had a pretty sensible backstory, and was surprisingly well written for the time. Like many real life people who were fighting and dying in Europe and the Pacific during the war, the Grim Reaper did his part to beat back tyranny and evil and that is worth celebrating.
Full disclosure, this is going to be a short article. That being said, I think today’s comic book heroine is awesome enough on her own and doesn’t need a whole lot of space to show how awesome she is.
Today we’re going to talk about a female heroine who SHOULD have been one of the great female heroes to come out of the 1940’s: Betty Bates, Lady at Law.
Origin and career
Betty Bates first appeared in Quality Comics’ Hit Comics #4 in October of 1940.
She was a backup character created by artist and writer Bob Powell,
whose other credits include characters such as Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
Betty Bates was an interesting character, especially for the 1940’s. While the era has been criticized for its rampant sexism and misogyny it is the era that gave us classic female super heroines such as Wonder Woman,
and an early Black Widow.
With all these super powered ladies flying around it seems difficult for someone as plain as Betty Bates to stand out, but she manages to do that in grand style.
For starters, Betty Bates was a District Attorney, a profession that was almost exclusively reserved for male characters.
She was almost unnaturally honest, refusing to take bribes and to be coerced into letting criminals go free.
She was also a capable and talented detective, determined to get to the truth. She never had a secret identity or costume, never had any colorful gadgets, and while she only fought gangsters and thugs with colorful names, when it came time to throw down and defend herself…
she could handle herself in a fight.
So what happened?
Her series was published by a company called Quality Comics, a company whose most famous creation was this guy.
Quality Comics sold off most of its characters in the 1950’s to DC Comics but the company had been suffering for a while. Betty Bates was lost in the shuffle and after a ten year run her title was cancelled.
Despite her unglamorous end, Betty actually has a pretty impressive legacy.
She outlasted many of her more traditional male superhero counterparts and would continue to have a comfortable position as a back up character in the Hit Comics line for over ten years. In fact, she still holds the honor of being the longest running non super powered, non main character heroine in comic book history. Plus, there is only one comic book lawyer who has lasted longer than she has.
Anyone want to try to explain why we’re not talking about her instead of Wonder Woman as a female comic book icon?
Sadly, she has remained forgotten for most of history and hasn’t been revived or brought back in any modern issues.
Which is a crying shame if you ask me.
How could she be brought back?
Unlike many of the Golden Age heroes we talk about on this blog that might have trouble fitting into a modern setting, Betty’s problems are actually quite the opposite.
There are a seemingly endless number of law procedural shows on television today.
and Betty Bates could fit into any one of them
Also, we are now living in an age where leading ladies are gaining an increasingly large portion of the spotlight in popular culture.
and I think Betty could fit right in.
The difficulty rests in finding a leading lady. Personally, I nominate Haley Atwell.
But that’s just me.