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Silver Age September – Mademoiselle Marie in Star Spangled War Stories

After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!

Today we look at the short-lived but impressive stint that Mademoiselle Marie had as the lead feature in Star-Spangled War Stories.

Enjoy!

Star Spangled War Stories spent a lot of time looking for a lead feature (ultimately Unknown Soldier got the nod). One of the characters they gave a chance to was the French freedom fighter Mademoiselle Marie, as beautiful as she was deadly. She had a seven-issue stint from 1959’s #84 through #91 (she missed #90, which debuted “The War That Time Forgot,” the feature that took over the lead spot from her with #92).

Robert Kanigher wrote all seven issues, while Jerry Grandenetti drew her debut and her second issue. Mort Drucker then drew four issues and Ross Andru and Mike Esposito handled #91.

Check out her awesome debut (note that you do have to get past her ridiculous phonetic accent)…

I love how quickly they try to give her a catch phrase. “This is war, not a romance.” Awesome.

Then we get to see both Marie and the captain kick some ass…

The captain has placed charges on the bridge, but he is too close to the charges. Marie hesitates to blow the bridge…

He recovers and wants her to return to England with him, but she, of course, tells him no. She can see him again when the war is won.

#88, by Drucker, is SOOO filled with badass moments.

First off, check out the first moment in this issue to show how fearless Marie is…

Incredible.

Drucker does a good job with this art. The story involves a Nazi spy pretending to be an American agent. He is undone by his own arrogance as he, Marie and a small patrol escort a professor whose work is key to the war effort.

Awesome stuff. Really dramatic. And here’s Marie’s other fearless moment, as she puts total faith in her squad’s ability to bail her out.

Amazing.

Marie was not long for a LEAD feature, but she became one of the most prominent DC war characters, appearing frequently, especially in crossovers with other DC war characters (she and the Unknown Soldier did NOT get along, while she and Sgt. Rock got along REALLY well, if you know what I mean).

14 Comments

I love that even her thought balloons are in an outrageous French accent.

The Crazed Spruce

September 29, 2011 at 9:09 am

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Nobody wrote war stories like Bob Kanigher. NOBODY.

Brian —

Wrong verb here —

“Robert Kanigher wrote all seven issues, while Jerry Grandenetti wrote her debut and her second issue.”

That should be “Grandenetti DREW,” n’est-ce pas?.

Thanks, Dan!

I was going to make a joke about her being the mother of a certain savate expert, but Wikipedia says she was Sgt. Rock’s only love interest, and that she and her son attended Rock’s funeral, complete with the other attendees noticing the resemblance between Rock and this son. And she also had a daughter, Julia, who’s father was none other than a pre-Crisis Alfred Pennyworth.

That is so much cooler.

That Nazi infiltrator actually got the Geneva Conventions wrong. Since he was out of uniform, he was a spy, and liable for summary execution once captured. Guess he was counting on them not knowing the letter of the law…

J.

Yeah, my guess was that he was saying whatever he could think of to stay alive.

That Mort Drucker art is very cool. Great face acting.

Did no one else start to giggle at the narrative in the caption (first panel of the second sequence): “I swung my Johnson around.” I’ll bet you did, big boy.

Good pick. One of my very favorite Silver Age DC strips.

I find it amazing that even though this is not a decompressed comic some scenes just draw themselves out like a high tension thriller. The dynamite under the bridge and the infiltrator being shot by his own troops are just great.

Wow, she fathered the son of Sgt. Rock and the daughter of Batman’s Alfred? For that reason along he kicks ass.

I’m ignoring the fact that one of the strongest female characters in comics was of course knocked up by a couple of the most popular male ones.

Well, technically she didn’t ‘father’ anyone…

Also, partisans like the French Resistance weren’t covered by the Geneva Convention, so that Nazi was out of luck both ways.

I’m ignoring the fact that one of the strongest female characters in comics was of course knocked up by a couple of the most popular male ones.

I sort of like the fact that she is both an excellent solider and capable of later fulfilling a traditionally female role. Modern convention would demand that Mlle. Marie be depicted as either asexual, or (more likely) a lesbian. That does not strike me as progress.

Anyway, I love seeing these Silver Age war comics. Thanks for running them Brian.

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