CCI: Comic Character Investigation #251 septembre 2012
[ENGLISH] This month: Mysta Of The Moon. 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.
A Maiden of The Moon
Galactic, sexy and very close to home, Mysta of The Moon strikes is a unique character. Interplanetary beauties had been around awhile before Mysta graced the comic pages with her elegance, of course. The Edgar Rice Burroughs invention of Dejah Thoris comes to mind. Yet what Mysta brought to the fantasy table was a connection to the mythological as well. As her tale goes, Mars the god of war was causing lots of misery and wherever he traveled in his wake he left behind much destruction. In the midst of his brash and uncaring wanderings, only one girl was brave enough to stand against him and his tyranny, Mysta of The Moon, named so for that was where she dwelled.
She made her first appearance in Planet Comics #35 and enjoyed a run through issue 62 and another appearance later in issue 68. Her life in comics ran from 1945 to 1949. It is hard to say who wrote the Mysta tales. In the 1940’s sometimes credits were not given or even wanted and penning such fantasies was just a way to make some income for writers who may not have wanted the association. While we revere comic writers today who have merit, at the time comics were a new literary form and it would take time for them to be accepted seriously, something they struggle with even today at times. Another reason may have been that they were not concerned about it at Fiction House. The important thing may have been to have everyone pitch in and get the stories out there on the market.
The artists are known, however, and included such talents as Fran Hopper, Joe Doolin, Maurice Whitman, Matt Baker, Ruben Moreira and Chuck Winter. The girl these artist brought to life had started as a mere infant who was taken by a brilliant doctor named Kort to his base on the Moon. There she would grow into a galactic heroine.
In the storyline the universe was decaying (thanks to Mars), and Dr. Kort built his Moon lab to contain all the culture that would be lost in all the destruction. Mars was even destroying all the universities on Earth which had the effect of causing intelligence on Earth to decline (yes, a very rough and undeveloped idea but necessary for the character). Because of the loss of the learning centers, Kort used a device called a hypno-transmitter on Mysta which fed into her all of the once-accessible knowledge. This made her so intelligent that she was able to use her “new” mind to outsmart Mars in issue #35. In fact, it appears that she outsmarted him right out of his feature and took it over. Mysta of the Moon defied him effectively.
In her feature she would use a device called a scanno lens on the Moon and she could literally see anywhere in the universe with it. She also had a spaceship, a robot and a cloak of invisibility. In addition to Dr. Kort, another character in the series was Bron, Mysta’s assistant on The Moon who helped her with her tasks. Her robot also took care of some duties which required any really heavy work.
Mysta is unique in that she was an ever-changing character. As she found her cloak of invisibility within her storylines, she also acquired the ability to project her astral form to possess the body of another. (This, again, reminds one of Burroughs as John Carter was essentially projected to Mars in a similar way.) A captivating heroine, her hair was primarily silver but Fiction House did not always have it consistently so. Her costume too was likely to change in color from one issue to another. Her costume was quite revealing and Mysta of The Moon could certainly be classified as a “good girl” although her stand against Mars and her unique presence on our nearest worldlet made her much more than that.
Created and enjoyed at a time when humankind had not yet reached The Moon, she must remain part of that time. Yet she was part of that world-building era of fantasy when reality had not yet succeeded our imagination. And even though readers knew that Mysta could not be up there on the Moon even then, they could pretend for a while that she was looking upon them from the heavens and guarding the gates of the cosmos around us. We have gone to the Moon many times now but Mysta is part of our Moon mythology just the same…a worthy result for the one girl who dared to fell the God of War in a battle among the stars.
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.