Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Star Spangled War Stories #84

This is another example of the women who began to pop up in the DC magazine line during the late 1950s and early 1960s; I still don't quite understand the sociological reasons for this although I suppose it could be just as simple as the publishers realizing that there was a huge untapped market.

Mademoiselle Marie became a mildly significant character in the DC Universe. In the early 1980s it was disclosed that she had been a lover of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler, and had borne him a daughter, named Julia Remarque. Julia had a continuing presence in the Batman line and became a brief romance interest for Bruce. Of course, this illustrates once again the problems with tying continuing characters to historical events. Back then it would have put Alfred at (say) 60 years old and established a girlfriend for Bruce of about 35 years old. Now it would mean that Alfred is pushing 90 and Julia would be eligible for Social Security.

But all that was far in the future as this August 1959 story was published. A paratrooper is about to land in occupied France. He expresses frustration here:

Eventually the lights appear briefly, but his parachute gets tangled in some trees and it looks like he's going to be snuffed out by a Nazi patrol, until:

She quickly impresses him with her competence and fighting ability. And when he destroys a tank that is about to kill her, he gets a little taste of her softer side:

But then she chastises him for disobeying her order to escape. Later, they attempt to blow up a bridge, but she delays pressing the plunger:

He wants her to come back to England with him, but she knows where she belongs:

Marie was featured in SSWS for the next year, before being bumped for the War that Time Forgot (aka Dinosaur Island) series. She made irregular appearances in several of the DC war comics features of the Silver Age, including Sgt. Rock, the Haunted Tank, and Johnny Cloud. In Detective Comics #501-502, it was revealed that she was shot and killed by a Nazi collaborator shortly before the end of WWII.

There are two backup stories. The first is a Mort Drucker treat called Blind Bomber. As the title implies, a Korean War bomber pilot is blinded by flak, but he still manages to deliver his "eggs" to market:

The final story is No Flag for a Sand Flea. A squad of US infantry is dying of thirst in the desert of North Africa, when they come upon an oasis. But you can probably guess the problem:

The flag has six stars on it, indicating that the Nazis are a crack outfit, having defeated six Allied units. Determined not to be the seventh, the infantry squad manages to take the flag and the oasis. Afterwards they come up with their own flag:


hobbyfan said...

I see that Marie is bare-legged in her earliest appearances. Since then, including the recent Star Spangled War Stories 1-shot revival, Marie has been wearing fishnet stockings, a la Black Canary & Zatanna. I wonder whose idea it was to make Marie into a sex symbol-in-waiting?

Mykal said...

I wasn't aware of the Marie/Alfred connection! That's pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

The current DC Universe Legacies series has Marie alive in the seventies, as French ambassador. And with a son the other WW II characters (Gunner, Sarge, Johnny Cloud, Jeb Stuart) recognize as looking an awful lot like Sgt. Rock.

Pat said...

Hobbyfan, unfortunately there's not a woman in comics today that hasn't been ridiculously oversexualized. I suspect if Granny Goodness ever comes back she'll have an hourglass figure.

Mykal, yeah, it was an interesting storyline and humanized Alfred a bit.

Anonymous I saw some mention in the Wikipedia entry that she was supposedly the only love interest Sgt Rock had; I'll have to look at the OOAW stories where she appears in the Silver Age and see if there's any indication of that. I do remember him being attracted to a blonde nurse; I reviewed that issue last year:


Anonymous said...

They already drew a sexy Granny Goodness, so that bridge has already been crossed. ;)

Ed said...

Why these Mlle. Marie stories, which had excellent art (Mort Drucker quite often) and were well told, have not been recollected and combined withj other little gems like Johnny Clud (lots of great Novick art there), I don't know.

Well. I know, I guess, but I do wish they'd reprint them!

KF said...

Great art by Jerry Grandenetti on the Marie story.

Anonymous said...

Dang, the french language in there was almost good.

It's a high praise since usually the french lines in a comics are completely retarded.

hobbyfan said...

Yes, Mlle. Marie was Sgt. Rock's girlfriend. They even were seen making out on the cover of an issue of Rock's mag in the 80's, drawn, of course, by Joe Kubert.

Count me in for a TPB collection of Marie's adventures.

Mart said...

'allo, allo, eet ees Marie wiz ze short brown hair and bare legs - not so, ow you say, 'ot!

Er, sorry.

I loved those 'Tec stories, but yeah, they couldn't be done now; a shame, as Julia Remarque was a decent character.

I enjoyed the recent Marie one-shot, so daring, so French!

Brugge Restaurant said...

i was not aware of the Marie/Alfred connection! That's pretty cool. and I see that Marie is bare-legged in her earliest appearances. Since then, including the recent Star Spangled War Stories 1-shot revival, Marie has been wearing fishnet stockings, a la Black Canary & Zaneta.