Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sexiest Superhero You Never Heard Of!

From time to time I will bring you Golden Age or Silver Age Heroes that you may never have heard of.

Phantom Lady!

She was a Golden Age super hero that you probably never heard of!

Phantom Lady first appeared in Quality's Police Comics #1 (Aug, 1941), an anthology title the first issue of which also included the debut of characters such as Plastic Man.

Phantom Lady was really Sandra Knight, the beautiful daughter of Senator Henry Knight. This first story already had Sandra established as Phantom Lady. It was not an origin story. Her origin would not be established until decades later when DC Comics came into ownership of the character, which was altered several times to give Sandra a more active role.

DC changed the origin of Phantom Lady established in Quality's Police Comics, so that she now belonged to the Knight family of Starman fame.

Her costume, what there was of it, was eventually explained as a deliberate tactic to distract her usually male foes.

Sandra Knight assumed the identity of Phantom Lady in a costume consisting of a green cape and the equivalent of a one-piece yellow bathing suit. She used a "black light projector," which allowed her to blind her enemies and make herself invisible. (It also worked well on those funky 1960’s black light posters of Elvis!) She was assisted by her fiance, Donald Borden, an agent of the U.S. State Department.

After Quality stopped publishing the adventures of Phantom Lady, Iger Studios believed it owned the character and gave it to Fox Feature Syndicate. The Fox version which premiered in Phantom Lady #13 (taking over the numbering of Wotalife Comics) is far more famous among comic fans than the Quality books because of the art of Matt Baker. Baker altered her costume by changing the colors to red and blue, substantially revealing her cleavage, and adding a very short skirt. A classic example of “Good Girl Art (GGA)

Baker's cover for Phantom Lady #17 (Apr, 1949) used in Seduction of the Innocent, the 1954 book by Dr. Fredric Wertham denouncing what he saw as the morally corrupting effect of comics on children.

Today we just like to think of Matt Baker as our friend!

That’s 30!



Anonymous said...

Just a few suggestions for future columns -
1) Go a little more into the character's history, you barely touched on it. You could have mentioned the Freedom Fighters, the second Phantom Lady, Dee Tyler (who was trained by Sandra Knight), or the current Phantom Lady, Stormy Knight.
2) If you're going to do a column on heroes or heroines that people may never have heard of, maybe pick someone who isn't appearing currently in any comics. There have been three Freedom Fighters series over the last few years with the character of Phantom Lady appearing in all of them (the Stormy Knight version). In fact, Dee Tyler died in Infinite Crisis #1, and was a Black Lantern in Blackest Night, so the character of Phantom Lady has been quite busy lately and might be a little more known than say a character like Mercury Man (from Charlton's Space Adventures title).

Atomic Kommie Comics said...

Over at Hero & Heroine Histories, we're re-presenting ALL her Fox/Farrell stories in chronological order from Phantom Lady #13 onward (including the little-seen All Top Comics stories, also by Matt Baker)