Sunday, June 23, 2013
YEAR 1934: DALE ARDEN
Dale Arden, who appears in the opening installments of the FLASH GORDON comic strip alongside the titular hero, is something of a judgment call. Certainly in her earliest appearances she's largely a "damsel in distress." However, though I don't have a broad familiarity with the strip throughout all its phases, I do see a few indications that over time she becomes a little more adept with weapons while following Flash around on his crusades. By the time of the last original GORDON comic books, she becomes adept in judo as well, and shows some fighting-moxie in the 1980 FLASH GORDON film.
Dale is still less complicated than Edgar Rice Burroughs' Dejah Thoris, who has no martial abilities at all in the books, and doesn't become a "femme formidable" except in other media, such as film and comic books.