Monday, September 2, 2013
YEAR 1940: THE BLACK QUEEN
The Black Queen, the first femme fatale in Will Eisner's celebrated SPIRIT comic, changes her modus operandi in her three appearances as much as did the Lee-Kirby HULK in its earliest incarnation.
She begins in 1940 as a "mouthpiece" to a noted criminal, getting him off for his latest murder through sheer legal legerdemain. She commits no actual crime, but the Spirit confounds her and sends her client up the river.
In her second appearance she graduates to criminal boss, and tries to hold the city of New York for ransom.
Finally, the Queen goes off the deep end. As shown above she dresses in something very like a superheroine costume-- probably the only time a SPIRIT villain did so-- and begins preying on victims by kissing them with her poisonous lipstick. This was her most interesting incarnation, but one may fairly hypothesize that Eisner was tired of her. At the episode's end she commits suicide to avoid the electric chair.