CCI: Comic Character Investigation #39[ENGLISH] This month: Miss Victory. Since the inception of The Golden Age of comics in 1938, many heroes, and many villains, have splashed their battles across artistic pages, have endured their struggles in those same pages and have intrigued a readership which has loved their adventures for 72 years. This column celebrates such characters by taking a look each month at one of them. Some you will know and some are more obscure, but all hold a significant place in comics, for the world of stories in any medium is about the characters who populate it. The spectacular citizens of the universe who inhabit the comic book nation might be brave or sinister, bold or fearful, but all are characters who we can never forget. So, The Golden Age becomes the Silver Age, The Silver becomes The Bronze and so on, until today and until tomorrow. . . in The Endless Age of comics, and the beings who live inside them.

Miss Victory

For Her Country: Miss Victory

Miss VictoryWell, Readers, we are approaching another landmark issue next month with #40 and I will keep you in suspense for now on who that bad boy will be but for now I am going to indulge in yet another character from the 1940’s (and if you have been following my articles you know I often do characters from the early days).

One of the reasons I go further back is to find characters live our patriotess Miss Victory (yes I am adding “ess” to the term as she existed at a time when adding it was not considered possibly Offensive and for the purposes of this piece in no way is it meant offensively. Heck, I am sure she would even like the term! So let’s take a peak into her 1940’s world. . .

Her alias was actually Joan Wayne, named similarly and quite intentionally to he who in our American West was known as The Duke or John Wayne. It is possible the writers thought it was a cute play on words and indeed it was as The Duke was well-known at that time. It may been have been a good way for female readers to connect with an American heroine the way young boys might have been pretending to shoot each other in the backyards with their imaginary six-guns (as I said a different world).

She was created by Charles (“Chas”) M. Quinlan in both script and original artwork and made her first appearance in 1941 in Captain Fearless #1. She also appeared in the second issue of that title and in 1946 had a 20-issue run in Captain Aero Comics. Holyoke Publishing Company who released whatever form Miss Victory was given to the world gave her a couple of one-shot issues in 1946 as well. All in all more than twenty tales were told of Joan Wayne (AKA Miss Victory) on the comic page.

Miss VictoryThe other writers besides Quinlan was Alberta Tews and the other artists handling her appearances included, most notable, Nina Albright and L. B. Cole. Her costume was always a blue top with a big white “V” on the front to emblaze what she stood for as she romped through one adventure after another. She also had a red cape with a white collar and sported shorts and boots and gloves. Her hair was blonde which made for a colorful contrast against her blue outfitting and red cape. Naturally she would have to be red, white and blue as she stood for America and its causes and it was no accident that her cape and outfit matched Superman’s. Holyoke knew what was working back then and they wanted their girl to share in it, if only a little.

Miss Victory would storm into a Nazi headquarters and punch out the soldiers of the Fuhrer, always letting the Third Reich know that ultimately America was going to pound the heads of anyone who thought they could get away with controlling the free world.

Her alter ego was of course, as mild-mannered as Clark Kent as well although she was a courtroom stenographer. As dated as it will sound (but this is part of the fun of 190’s characters too) she was able to get promoted over and over again in the War Department where she took all those notes until she became a pilot flying missions for them. She went on dangerous missions in the European Theatre and on American soil she fought German Nazi saboteurs. In the Pacific she downed so many Japanese pilots she had become an Ace and Japan had no love for her actions or for her.

In the early days of her comics she changed a lot from issue to issue, both in costume and in what abilities she was focused on. Some issues were more about showing her strength while others showed her piloting skills more. Her costume became sexier as well when Nina Albright redesigned it to allow for a more revealing neckline.

Miss VictoryShe was revived by Bill Black in the 70’s after a long dormancy for Paragon Publications. In the  mid-80’s the company had become AC Comics. Miss Victory went through a name change as well and became Ms. Victory as she had been reincarnated at a time where using a term like “Miss” for a heroine might be considered offensive. With the new tag she became the point woman on FemForce and whatever readers think of the name changes or costume changes, of old war comics, or new incarnations of old characters, she has one solid claim to fame that cannot be disputed. By the late 90’s, more than fifty years after her first appearance, Miss Victory had become the longest lasting Golden Age character that was re-instated into popular culture by an independent publisher with over 150 appearances on those comic pages we all love.

Call her Ms. Victory or call her Miss Victory. I doubt she is overly concerned with such things and is probably just glad that she can lend a strong female hand in fighting for the country she loves. It is doubtful she will fail to get respect from anyone when they learned she has punched out Nazi soldiers in their own headquarters. Miss Victory is a worthy heroine and should the world ever ask for her by any name, she will arrive and stand proud and show the world again and again why the “Miss” part of her name is not what anyone should focus on. She will be too busy showing us all why her other name is “Victory.”

[James Parducci]

James Parducci (www.jparducci.blogspot.com) is the creator of the comic series Nighthunter. He has been published in multiple periodicals and runs his own freelance writing business in San Diego.