Comic Art Friday: Command(ette) performance

It’s been quite some time since I’ve featured an image from my Bombshells! collection, so let’s rectify that omission today, shall we?

For the newbies in the crowd, Bombshells! is my commission theme featuring pinups modeled after vintage bomber nose art, only with comics heroines from the classic period instead of bathing beauties. For a heroine to qualify for inclusion among my Bombshells!, she must have made her first appearance in a comic published before 1960. (Why? Because it’s my gallery, so my rules. That’s why.)

Today’s Bombshell! not only made her debut well before 1960, that debut (in Star-Studded Comics #1, dated 1945) was — so far as I can determine — her one and only appearance.

Meet Commandette, the Female Commando.

Commandette, pencils and inks by comics artist Mike DeCarlo

From her single adventure, we learn that Commandette is, in real life, a Hollywood stuntwoman named Betty Babble (hey, I don’t make this stuff up…), with no paranormal powers to speak of. Stuntmen and stuntwomen were common secret identities for comics heroes and heroines in the Golden Age, which makes sense. Movie stunt workers are athletic, physically skilled (for example, Ms. Babble is an expert in jiu jitsu), given to laboring in anonymity, and accustomed to pain — all solid prerequisites for practitioners of costumed derring-do.

Now, I’m not entirely certain how a white dress, a cape, pumps, and a befeathered Robin Hood hat suggest “female commando.” (Unless maybe she’s not wearing underwear underneath. In which case, one would have to question the wisdom of the short skirt.) Then again, comic book creators concerned themselves far less with passing the credulity sniff test back in the Golden Age.

Veteran artist Mike DeCarlo did a bang-up job bringing Commandette back to life. Mike’s clean, retro-modern style makes him an excellent fit for Bombshell! duty.

Speaking of female commandos, The Daughter graduates from university this weekend, with a four-year degree in criminal justice. Given the obstacles she’s had to overcome during her collegiate career — including the loss of both her mother and her grandfather within less than a year — the academic success she’s had seems all the more superhuman. I don’t know whether she’ll put her studies toward actual crimefighting, but if she decides to do so… I pity the underworld. Congratulations, Supergirl!

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

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