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This is the first in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces examining the hilariously convoluted history of certain comic book characters.
Our inaugural edition focuses on the long, strange trip that has been Bobbi “Mockingbird” Morse’s 40-year comic book history, from the pages of 1971’s Astonishing Tales #6 to the present day (she made her live action TV debut this week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
NOTE: THIS IS JUST ABOUT HER FICTIONAL BIOGRAPHY. THERE ARE SOME INTERESTING STORIES INVOLVING HER BEHIND-THE-SCENES DEVELOPMENT THAT I’LL PROBABLY ADDRESS IN THE FUTURE, MOST LIKELY IN THE PAGES OF COMIC BOOK LEGENDS REVEALED. SO IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THOSE STORIES, WAIT UNTIL THAT TIME TO DO SO.
Barbara “Bobbi” Morse made her first appearance in the Ka-Zar feature in Astonishing Tales #6, by Gerry Conway, Barry Windsor-Smith and Bill Everett (quite an awesome creative team for your first appearance, huh?). See if you can recognize her…
Yes, when Bobbi first showed up, she had psychic powers!!!
This was Gerry Conway’s last issue of Astonishing Tales, though, so next issue Roy Thomas took over.
Roy continued the plot a bit (no psychic powers mentioned)…
Then the next issue, we finally meet her in the Savage Land, only now she has abruptly changed her hair color and gained a fiancee out of nowhere…
For the next few issues, Barbara and Paul are caught up in this bizarre storyline involving British refugees continuing to fight World War II in the Savage Land against German refugees.
Clearly, you could tell that Thomas and co-writer Gary Friedrich had NO CLUE why Barbara was coming to see Ka-Zar. Watch Paul be a total jerk to Barbara in this issue that was just a framing sequence for Ka-Zar’s origin…
Barbara was strictly “damsel in distress” all of these issues.
Finally, in issue #12, out of NOWHERE, we learn Barbara’s motivations…
Yes, they searched for something for her to do, and they came up with “tie it into Man-Thing!”
By the way, do note that this does not fit her early appearances at ALL.
Okay, so now she is a biologist working with the government.
In a flashback showing how she was compelled to get help (Ka-Zar, though? Huh?), she is also strictly a damsel-in-distress…
But then our next twist, Paul is a bad guy!!!
Things get bad for Paul as Man-Thing destroys the installation…
This gives us our NEXT twist, though. Barbara is not just a biologist, she is a biologist working for SHIELD!
Go to the next page to see what happens next now that Barbara is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, including the first appearance of her Bobbi nickname and the first appearance of her in costume!
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