The Golden Age of comics was a screwy time. All manner of publishers put out all manner of characters, and many superheroes, the ones that weren’t blatant rip-offs of other superheroes, had some really bizarre powers that they used mostly to fight Nazis and homegrown criminals.
Gabbing Geek Jenny has, in the past, stated her belief in Madam Xanadu as an iconic character. I tried one before to to suggest that maybe Phantom Lady had a better claim to that title under her criteria (does not have a male version, has not cameoed in a movie or TV show, has an origin story older than the mid-90s, and has been read by Jenny). Jenny said Phantom Lady’s costume sucked (which, to be fair, it does), but maybe for my weekly “This one died!” column we can try a different character with a better claim than Madam Xanadu.
Let’s talk about Elasti-Girl. And I do not mean the one in The Incredibles. Pixar actually asked DC for permission to use the name, and it was granted so long as the name was never used in the marketing. If you get that action figure from The Incredibles line, her name will be listed as “Mrs. Incredible”.
OK, so, Jenny did not like my suggestion from a couple weeks ago that Phantom Lady could have been a good fit for her criteria on Iconic Female Heroes That Are Not Madam Xanadu. That was because of her costume.
Admittedly, Phantom Lady has a terrible costume. No one would argue that one, aside from the occasional pervert, like Jimmy. He’s only a pervert on some occasions.
But with this in mind, I think it’s time to go in the complete opposite direction for this week’s column and go with a somewhat forgotten character that was for a period a knock-off of an established male hero. Let’s talk about the She-Thing.
Gabbing Geek Jenny recently challenged the readers to come forth if they could name a female character that:
Does not have a male version
Has not cameoed in a movie or TV show
Has an origin story older than the mid 90s
And that Jenny herself has read
Her answer to this riddle, when trying to figure an iconic hero that hadn’t gotten his or her own movie yet, was Madame Xanadu. While Xanadu is a fine character, often associated with DC’s various mystical books and teams, she may not be the best character to dub as “iconic”.
See, a better answer may have been a more obscure character, Phantom Lady, also owned by DC, who actually is considered the epitome of Golden Age “good girl art”. There’s no Phantom Man to go with her, she was created in the 40s, and her only appearance on TV or in a movie was a single episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold alongside the rest of the Freedom Fighters. Of course, if Jenny had read of Phantom Lady, maybe that would have made the cut. Or perhaps not, as we shall see…