Friday, October 5, 2012

FANTOMAH "and the Super-Gorillas"

With Halloween around the corner, let's look at some weird heroines...
...beginning with the weirdest of all...the "Mystery Woman of the Jungle"...Fantomah!
As rendered by the...unique...Fletcher Hanks, Fantomah was the first comic book superheroine (as in heroine with super-powers instead of a costumed "normal" woman), predating Wonder Woman by a year, and the non-powered Woman in Red by a month!
This particular story, from Jungle Comics #4 (1940), was her third appearance, and one of the first really wild tales that read like drug-induced nightmares.
Hanks handled the character from her premiere in #2 to #15.
When a new writer and artist took over with #16, the character was immedately "toned-down", eliminating the skull-face look, and limiting her powers.
As of #27, she was rebooted as "Daughter of the Pharaohs", the queen of a lost civilization made up of descendants of an ancient Egyptian expedition stranded in central Africa centuries earlier.
Her series ended in #51 (1944).
Trivia: Despite being popular enough to run for several years in Jungle Comics, Fantomah never made the cover!

Be here next week, when we present another tale of classic comic grrrl power!

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