Thursday, May 17, 2012
YEAR 1965: EMMA PEEL
Though Cathy Gale hit the airwaves first, Emma Peel became the femme formidable most associated with the AVENGERS franchise.
In the Cathy Gale entry, I wondered whether or not Honor Blackman's take on the tough-girl character might have been just as popular as Diana Rigg's. On consideration I would say no, in that Blackman had conceived her character largely as a no-nonsense sort of character, for all that she was an amateur. Rigg, playing the same kind of amateur spy caught in John Steed's weird world of espionage, projects the "aint' foolin' around" air whenever necessary, but in calmer moments puts across a charming insouciance, such as one sees in the shot above, taken from the iconic AVENGERS theme/opening.
More than a few female fans have cited Emma Peel as one of their earliest images of a "strong heroine," not least because of the character's penchant for doling out karate chops and judo throws. She did on occasion lose a fight, but no more than her partner Steed did. As series-fans know, Rigg and Patrick Macnee managed to keep viewer interest high by injecting a frequent "are they or aren't they" chemistry, one that fortunately never becomes sappy as in similar American attempts.
Two years later, Emma Peel appeared in one of five paperbacks. This Emma tended to be somewhat more sardonic and ruthless than the light-hearted TV version..
Three years later-- by which time Diana Rigg had left the AVENGERS teleseries-- Emma Peel made her first comic book appearance from the company Gold Key. Because of a certain heavyweight competitor, the one issue published was not titled THE AVENGERS but rather JOHN STEED AND EMMA PEEL.