Comic Relief: More Satan!

I think I’m gonna start talking more about comics on this blog. Why? ‘Cause I feel like it, that’s why. So let’s revisit my favorite female superhero of the Golden Age, Lady Motherfuckin’ Satan. (To see my first post on Lady Satan, click here.)

When we last left Lady Satan, her fiance was murdered (and literally all we know about him was that he was her fiance and he was murdered) and this inspired Lady Satan to go to Nazi-occupied France and fight the Fritz.  That was Dynamic Comics #2, and her only other appearance in that book was in Dynamic Comics #3, which hit stands in February of 1942.

When you open the issue to the first page, you’re assaulted with a rather unpleasant image…

lady satan 4

How about you St. Pat my balls?

He is said to have wasted 100 years expending his energies on empty religious ceremonialism rather than doing things that actually matter.

Luckily, this useless old geezer only takes up one page, and we get some Lady Satan awesomeness starting on page 26.

Dead Nazis are always a good way to start out.

Dead Nazis are always a good way to start out.

That is so fucking awesome. I really dig the smoke through the skull image. And now we’ve got some real Inglorious Basterds style bloody Nazi killings. No more of that pansy-ass “chlorine” gun she used last issue.

There’s a problem, however, with the scan of this issue that I got from Digital Comics Museum. You can probably tell from the image above that the physical copy from which it was scanned was in pretty bad shape. There are holes in the pages, and the colors are faded. Here’s a closer look:

Holy fuck, there's a tear in space-time! Someone call Dr. Who!

Holy fuck, there’s a tear in space-time! Someone call Dr. Who!

There’s also this problem:

Maybe it's just REALLY badly applied make-up?

Maybe it’s just REALLY badly applied make-up?

The printer fucked up with the color plates, and they’re all offset. It looks like shit.

If you read enough Golden Age comics, you’ll come across this problem from time to time. Standards were low back then, and it wasn’t uncommon for printers to make major errors in producing a book, then just say “Fuck it! Put it on the shelves anyways! It’s not like we’ll have a legacy or anything in the future.” So, yeah, a lot of Golden Age comic books with really shitty quality out there.

Lucky for us, this story was reprinted in Bull’s Eye Comics #11 in 1944. And this time, Lady Satan even made the cover:

ver of a children's magazine in 1944. Oh how times have change...

You could put this on the cover of a children’s magazine in 1944. Oh how times have change…

Fuck yeah! Let’s get started.

Our story has a bit of a confusing beginning. We’re at a house in… somewhere. France maybe? It looks like a rather American house. And Lady Satan is in a car with somebody named Kurt…

"It's not Lady Lady. It's Lady Satan! Get it right, bitch!"

“It’s not Lady Lady. It’s Lady Satan! Get it right, bitch!”

Seriously, your password for secret information in this war-torn, Nazi-ruled nation is “My baby is sick”? You’re not at all worried about accidentally giving up that you’re a secret British spy to someone who just happens to have a sick baby?

And who the fuck is Kurt? And where is he? In the car? Can he hear this conversation? And why is he addressing her as “Lady Satan” when she’s not in disguise?

So many questions. But some of them are in fact answered in later pages. Kurt is a devoted Nazi soldier. Lady Satan is undercover, pretending to date him–or that he’s her “escort”; the comic implies both. He calls her “Lady Satan”. Would you date someone if the only name they gave you was “Satan”? Well, I guess he’s a Nazi and all…

Lady Satan’s sick-baby courier informs her that the Nazis are having some kind of big ass meeting today, and Lady Satan needs to find out what the fuck is going down. (I’m paraphrasing.) It doesn’t take long. After merely prodding her escort/boyfriend about whether he has another girl, Kurt shows us what kind of man he is.

Oh, and I wet the bed at night.  Damn it! Shut up, Kurt. You'll never get laid this way.

Oh, and I wet the bed at night. Damn it! Shut up, Kurt. You’ll never get laid this way.

Kurt, you fucking dumbshit. No wonder the Nazi’s lost.

Lady Satan pretends not to care about such things to throw Kurt off her scent, but decides that she must attend this meeting to break up the Nazi plan to kill the leaders of the free world. So she follows Kurt.

It's so secret that I hope there isn't someone obviously listening as we loudly discuss it outside.

It’s so secret that I hope there isn’t someone obviously listening in as we loudly discuss it outside.

Empowered with this knowledge, Lady Satan sneaks in and incapacitates the guard in one of the best single panels in the book.

Well, it was the most silent weapon before that whole "AAAAGGGHH!" thing.

Well, it was the most silent weapon before that whole “AAAAGGGHH!” thing.

God, I love the look on that guy’s face. He almost seems to be looking at the reader to ask, “Can you believe this shit?”

Lady Satan hides along with the supposedly garroted guard to listen in to the meeting as the Nazi leaders enter. They notice that the guard is missing, but have their totally secret meeting anyways. How the hell did these guys even manage to last all the way up to 1945? Anyways, it turns out that Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt are going to have a secret meeting on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic (Why not in D.C., where it’s safe?), and the Nazis want a volunteer to go on a suicide mission to assassinate them. Kurt, brain trust that he is, volunteers. He is told that he will be disguised as none other than Charles de Gaulle in order to infiltrate the Allied meeting.

Unfortunately…

Lady Satan, you suck at strangling people.

Lady Satan, you suck at strangling people.

Oh, fuck! She’s busted!

The Nazis find her behind the curtain and converge on her. She draws her gun, and in the lone moment of competency in his life, Kurt disarms her. Running out of options and capture looking eminent, she…

"Can't believe I dated that crazy bitch."

“Can’t believe I dated that crazy bitch.”

…Kills herself?

Shit, that was over quickly. They leave her alone so that the incompetent guard she strangled earlier can bury her. He buries her. The end.

Just kidding. It was a rubber knife full of fake blood. No one even checks her body. Nazis are morons. Especially Kurt.

But now she has to catch up with the nefarious Kurt de Gaulle, who’s heading out into the Atlantic in a plane with French markings, before he can kill Roosevelt and Churchill. Lady Satan hijacks a Nazi plane (where did she get these ace piloting skills?) and pursues. She finally catches up to Krazy Kurt as they approach the American and British ships. But then…

Oh, so we're shooting the Nazis now? Gee, I've only been here for 14 months. Thanks for telling me how to do my job, Lance.

Oh, so we’re shooting the Nazis now? Gee, I’ve only been here for 14 months. Thanks for telling me how to do my job, Lance.

Lady Satan is shot down by the most FAAAABULOUS pair of shirtless Navy hunks this side of a Village People reunion (and with a giant cannon-boner between them). But merely being shot out of the sky won’t stop her! She is fucking Satan after all! She’s pulled from the water by some sailors who attempt to arrest her, but she pulls a gun and forces them to take her to the ship where Kurt the Kraut Frog will attempt the assassination.

"I'm sure the Nazis sent me on this mission that I'm certain not to survive because they really value my quick wit and consummate skills."

“I’m sure the Nazis sent me on this mission that I’m certain not to survive because they really value my quick thinking and impeccable observation skills.”

Kurt, Kurt, Kurt. You still haven’t put two and two together yet, have you?

Well, it’s too late. Before Kurt the Sausage-sucking Surrender-Monkey can shoot Churchill and Roosevelt, Lady Satan comes up and literally stabs him in the back. Alas, their love was not to be. Kurt’s last words were, “They have rightly named you…Lady Satan…AAAAGGHH!” Should’ve thought of that earlier, Kurt. Now you’re Nazi shishkabob.

And the comic ends with Churchill and Roosevelt, two of the greatest leaders the free world has ever seen, giving thanks to Satan.

You can't see it in the panel, but Churchill is double-fisting martinis and FDR is getting a handy."

You can’t see it in the panel, but Churchill is double-fisting martinis and FDR is getting a handy.

God, I love this comic.

Anyways, go to the Digital Comic Museum and pick this one up. It is free and in the public domain, after all. And as always, Hail Satan!

Comic Relief: Sexy Satanic Golden Age Goodness

I saw over at Atop the Fourth Wall, a site everyone should check out, Linkara has a post about a kick ass Golden Age comic book hero called Tomboy. I enjoy reading those old Golden Age comic books from time to time, and thought I’d share one of my personal favorites. It’s not just that she kicks ass, it’s also that our hero’s name is totally blasphemous. You could never give a superhero a name like this in the later Silver Age, when the censorious Comics Code Authority completely neutered the entire industry.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…

"Why, no, my dear. I'm not evil. Whatever would make you say that?"

“Why, no, my dear. I’m not evil. Whatever would make you say that? Is it the monocle? The martini? The arched eyebrow? Or the gang sign I’m flashing?”

Yes, that’s right. LADY FUCKING SATAN.

Lady Satan, who debuted in Dynamic Comics #2 in 1941, interests me for several reasons.

  1. She’s motherfucking Satan. (But not really. It’s just a name.)
  2. She debuted a month before Wonder Woman, whom people often mistakenly believe is the first female superhero. (She’s not. Not even close.)*
  3. She doesn’t have any superpowers, and has to use her wits to fight crime. But then suddenly she has superpowers in a later issue without any explanation. Let’s just say that continuity wasn’t on anyone’s mind back in the Golden Age.
  4. People in the comic rarely remark on the fact that she named herself after FUCKING SATAN. You’d think that would be the first question out of anyone’s mouth.

So, what made Lady Satan decide to give up her normal life and become a Nazi-killing fallen angel? You’d think one would need a compelling reason to start calling oneself “Satan”…

"Trust me, I'm very sad about this. Can't you see it on my face, or did the artist fuck me up again?"

“Trust me, I’m very sad about this. Can’t you see it on my face, or did the artist fuck me up again?”

That’s all the origin you get, folks. Three panels. In the Golden Age they were nothing if not concise.

And if you thought Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru had it bad in Star Wars, check out poor Nameless Fiance here. He is never mentioned again. Hell, he only gets the one line, and we never even see the sonofabitch’s face. In fact, that one panel of wrathful vow is all the grief over his death we get, as the very next panel makes quite clear.

"Perhaps Madame Satan would like the flowers drizzled with the blood of virgins?"

“Perhaps Madame Satan would like the flowers drizzled with the blood of virgins?”

This comic doesn’t fuck around. Boyfriend dead? Moving on! Time to fight Monocled Nazi Lex Luther.

From here the story follows her as she manipulates the Nazis into leading her to the location of their plans for a sub-detector, which she hopes to deliver to the British. (Remember, America wasn’t at war yet at the time this came out.) Monocled Nazi Lex Luther (a.k.a Captain Fritz–I don’t know why they didn’t just go all the way and call him Major Sausage-Chomper) is quite shocked by this turn of events when Lady Satan’s plot is apparently foiled…

"I should really stop trusting people who hide their identities and name themselves after the Prince of Lies..."

“I should really stop trusting people who hide their identities and name themselves after the Prince of Lies…”

But of course, Lady Satan’s not dead! She gets the plans from them after incapacitating the Nazis (with non-lethal force–she’s not THAT satanic, you know). The British get the Nazi’s submarine plans, and everyone lives satanically ever after.

"HAIL SATAN!"

“HAIL SATAN!”

Seriously. This comic ends with a big joyful “Thank you, Satan!” You know what that is? It’s fucking awesome. That’s what it is.

(Also, why is the Air Ministry in charge of breaking a U-Boat blockade? And what exactly is “a much”?)

It’s actually a pretty standard story, but definitely worth checking out. It’s in the public domain, and can be found at the Digital Comic Museum. Go read the comic, and Hail Satan! 😀

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* DC frequently plays along with this misconception, even though Wonder Woman isn’t even the oldest female superhero in their own roster. Phantom Lady and Bulletgirl both appeared before Wonder Woman (who hit the stands in Dec 1941, in an issue dated Jan 1942–Lady Satan hit the stands in Nov 1941 in an issue dated Dec 1941).

Not only were there literally dozens of female superheroes before Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman wasn’t even the first female patriotic superhero. She was preceded by at least 5 female superhero patriots: USA, Miss America, Miss Victory, Pat Patriot and War Nurse.

Wikipedia claims that Fantomah, who debuted in Feb 1940, is the first female superhero, but this is wrong, too. The oldest female superhero I know of is Ritty, who at 6 inches tall fought crime alongside her equally diminutive boyfriend Minimidget. Both debuted together in Sep 1939, just a few months after Batman.

None of this should be taken as me dissing Wondie.  I like her as a superhero, and I think the stuff Bryan Azzarello is writing for her right now is fantastic. I just hate that DC sometimes represent themselves as being the first when it comes to giving women representation among superheroes, when nothing could be further from the truth.