Friday, October 25, 2013
YEAR 1943: THE VALKYRIE
The original Valkyrie only made a handful of appearances in Hillman Comics' AIRBOY feature, debuting as an enemy to the titular pilot-hero in AIR FIGHTERS v.#2, no.#2.
In that debut she leads an all-female squadron of fighter-pilots on behalf of the Nazi cause during WWII, and proves instrumental in capturing Airboy and delivering him to a Nazi commander. However, some of Valkyrie's fellow pilots try to liberate Airboy, so the commander orders them whipped for their disloyalty. Displaying the sort of ideological flip-flop characteristic of Golden Age comics, the German lady pilot instantly decides to betray her country and to help Airboy escape, if he helps liberate her friends. It's such an extreme about-face that I can't help but wonder if there was something else going on between Valkyrie and her all-girl squad-- something with an affinity to those famous lesbian pilots of pop-fiction, "Pussy Galore and her Abro-Cats."
Pussycats aside, Valkyrie quickly transfers her affections to young Airboy within that same story, sealing their bargain with a big smooch-- and in her subsequent appearances during the WWII years, she remained in a loose romantic relationship with the hero. Her last two Golden Age apperances following the war recast her as a Communist agent who had no continuity-ties with the original version.
The character was revived in the 1980s by Eclipse as support-cast for their new AIRBOY comic, and even received her own mini-series. Given that her outfit and demeanor were pretty bitchin', this was definitely one of the best revivals of a forgotten forties character thus far seen in the comics medium.