Tuesday, February 19, 2019

HEROINE HEADCOUNT: THE TIGER WOMAN




Linda Stirling, "queen of the serials," had her one outing as the athletic "Tiger Woman," reviewed here. She doesn't get much of an origin, but it's probably no loss, as it probably would've been another "white princess" schtick.

HEROINE HEADCOUNT: THE SHE-HULK



She-Hulk was introduced in the first issue of her 1980 comic, initially written by Stan Lee, though long-term writer David Kraft established the wonky charm of the character. I've seen only a handful of decent She-Hulk stories, which disposes me to believe that she works best in teams like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

HEROINE HEADCOUNT: THE RIDER OF THE PAINTED STALLION



Of all the live-action heroines I'll touch on here, this character from the 1937 serial THE PAINTED STALLION may be the most obscure.

She's a woman of mystery for most of the serial: garbed in war-chief regalia as she rides around the range on her piebald mount, fighting bad guys with her sole weapons, arrows that make a weird whistling sound, though they're otherwise just normal arrows. In the serial's final chapter, it's revealed that "the Rider" (Julia Thayer)-- who is never given any other name-- is probably a white woman taken in by a Native American tribe, and thus is no more a genuine "Indian" than Elizabeth Warren.

HEROINE HEADCOUNT: QUEEN KALISTA




In the original 1980s series THE OMEGA MEN, the sole regular female member was Queen Kalista, a native of the planet Euphorix. (The series was less than clever in its coining of names for alien people and places.) With her vaguely defined mystical powers, she fought alongside the other Omega Men in the goal of cosmic peacekeeping.

The characters tended to be either extremely noble or extremely nasty. Kalista was one of the noble ones, though that didn't make her popular enough to avoid being killed off in a later reboot of the concept.

HEROINE HEADCOUNT: THE P-GIRLS OF CHARMED

The four sisters of the original CHARMED program can be easily subsumed under one entry, thanks to the fact that their given names all start with "P." The adventures of the demon-fighting witches started with Prue, Piper and Phoebe Halliwell.




When Shannen Doherty (lending the best thesping talents of the three to the character of :Prue) decided to leave, her character was replaced by a half-sister, Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan).





Though never more than a decent show, at its worst it easily outclasses the current tedious take on the concept.

HEROINE HEADCOUNT: OWL GIRLS #1 AND #2

In the early 1940s Dell Comics published a moderately successful Batman-knockoff, the Owl. Whereas a lot of Golden Age Bat-imitators tried to follow the basic setup of the DC comic, the creators of THE OWL didn't go for a lot of that crazy pulp stuff, and tended to do rather simplistic mystery-stories with a superhero in them.

After a little while, the Owl got a "female Robin," Owl Girl. However, unlike most female crimefighters, the first Owl Girl was only a moderately skilled fighter.



The second Owl Girl appeared roughly twenty years later, when SUPERMAN creator Jerry Siegel convinced Dell to let him bring the Owl out of mothballs, for two issues of THE OWL, with a campy approach following the example of the BATMAN teleseries. This Owl had the same name as the one from the forties, but the second Owl Girl had a different monicker, plus showing herself to be skilled in judo and karate.



Monday, February 11, 2019

HEROINE HEADCOUNT: NIGHTSHADE



Nightshade, created by Dave Kaler and Jim Aparo in CAPTAIN ATOM #82 (1966), first appeared as the partner to the Captain, though for a time she also had her own backup strip. She was one of the few new costumed heroines of her decade who was a martial artist, but arguably became better known in fandom through her appearances in SUICIDE SQUAD.