Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Though all the physical combat-scenes in JET DREAM AND HER STUNT-GIRL COUNTERSPIES #1 are fairly short, I choose to interpret this one-and-only issue of the comic book as being one issue-long battle of the intrepid female counterspies and an all-male organization of bad spies called CIPHER.

Roughly the same time this single issue came out from Gold Key Comics, a JET DREAM backup strip began running in THE MAN FROM UNCLE comic. All of these strips featuring the counterspies were just four pages long, usually beginning *in media res* with some pulpy action threatening the girls, followed by a quick what-led-up-to-this, and then a hard-hitting wrapup. Try that, decompression scripters! Jet Dream (sounds like "jetstream? or maybe "wet dream?) and her multinational Blackhawk ripoffs were a rare return to the Golden Age style of fast action and minimal plot, and were among the few heroines to headline their own comic book during the Silver Age (1955-1970 by my lights, BTW).

Friday, September 17, 2010


FF #81 takes the step that the FANTASTIC FOUR feature had been building toward for some time: the near-total marginalization of team-member Sue "Invisible Girl" Richards and her replacement by the Human Torch's girlfriend, Crystal of the Inhumans. Arguably Sue had become more problematic for Lee and Kirby once she was a married woman, and even more so once she became pregnant. Sue had given birth several months previous to FF #81, and there had been no talk of a replacement. When Crystal volunteers to take Sue's place, Mister Fantastic does agree that Sue can't possibly continue as a team-member, though he's not so sure that Crystal's up to the job.

Marvel heroines of the 1960s get a lot of bad raps, some deserved, some not. Trina Robbins railed against the impotence of heroines who could only "pose and point," a la the Wasp and the Scarlet Witch (though SW was far from being a weakling, even in her early appearances). But to my recollection Robbins said nothing about Crystal, who, even before joining the FF, showed unprecedented levels of power for a Marvel heroine: summoning up whirlwinds, earthquake-shocks and other elemental phenomena. She was Storm back when Storm wasn't even a gleam in her creator's eye.

The story is simple: oldtimey villain the Wizard attacks the FF, and though the three seasoned heroes hold their own, Lee and Kirby bend over backwards to give Crystal the glory of knocking the jizz outta the Wiz. He does escape, but he serves his purpose in that Mr. Fantastic apologizes for having doubted Crystal's heroic potential, and signs her up.

Admittedly, Crystal doesn't remain a team-member all that long, being slowly phased out in fewer than 20 issues in favor of Sue's return, though she does return for a few tales, like the action-packed FF #100, where the fantastic five fight countless dopplegangers of their old enemies.

Still, though Crystal was never quite as front-and-center a character after this, and though a lot of female comics-fans forget her, she may have delivered the first really memorable female/male asskicking for the publisher known as Marvel Comics.

Friday, September 10, 2010


As one might suppose, these gentlemen, regulars of the Oni-published comic BLUE MONDAY, are about to be severly trounced by a female team made up of two girls, one of whom is fairly ordinary while the other is this girl:

Clover Connelly is the Irish representative in a teen-sex comic which purports to take place in SoCal though everyone in the main cast sounds as British as hell. Clover is not only a tough girl; she apparently goes into berseker-states of fury in which she speaks Gaelic while beating the shit out of mere boys.

The deadly soccer game appears in Part 2 of the collected serial BLUE MONDAY: ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS.