Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comic Strip of the Week - Scarlet Can Take the Heat

It has been a scorching summer most everywhere in the U.S. and this much heat makes it difficult to do just about anything. So here's a little inspiration from Scarlet. On a hot summer Chicago day, it can get even hotter still (especially if you run into a burning building!), but if there's a child that needs saving, she can still get the job done! Someone give that gal a tall cool glass of lemonade!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comic Strip of the Week - Madame Scarlota

In this week's strip from 1954, Scarlet takes on the disguise of a fortune teller to help her friend Stainless Steel avoid marriage to a rather strong willed neighbor. At this time she hadn't used her powers of invisibility in years and her own future was not fortunate. Only a few months later, she did not appear in the strip and it was renamed "Stainless Steel: Public Hero No. 1."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Comic Strip of Week- Trading Places

This week's Sunday strip from 1946 features Russell Stamm having fun with the 1880's story The Prince and the Pauper and is very similar to the 1980's comedy Trading Places. Two overly wealthy financiers, Mr. Lovcash and Mr. Smelbucks, wager on what is the secret of success - luck or skill - as Lovcash switches places with the owner of a vegetable cart. As Mark Twain, Eddie Murphy, and Dan Aykroyd all conceded, it is a recipe for wackiness!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

10 Other Scarlet Characters

This week saw the release of the first issue for a new comic book series titled Scarlet. She is definitely not to be confused with our girl! Just for the fun of it, we present some other popular characters through the years who have shared the name "Scarlet" (give or take a "t" or two).

Scarlet is a new creator-owned series by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev. In a recent interview with CBR, Bendis explained, "The book itself is about this woman Scarlet. She lives in Portland and she's a young woman whose life is literally destroyed by a insanely corrupted police force... She fights back against the corrupt cops and her push back starts almost a shoving war of wills between herself and almost all facets of the government that she's pushing back against. Every time she pushes back, someone bigger comes after her. That builds till it literally starts an American revolution."

Scarlett O'Hara is probably the most famous character on this list. She was created by Margaret Mitchell and made her debut in the 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind. There have been many other books, plays and movies made about her and even a film made about the casting of the character, but the definitive face of Miss Scarlet will always be that of Vivien Leigh from the 1939 blockbuster.

Agent Scarlett is one of the original members of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon and toy line. She has also appeared in the live action movie (played by Rachel Nichols) and comic book series (above art by Phil Noto) . Scarlett is the first female member of the G.I. Joe team to be given an action figure in 1982. Her full name is Shana M. O'Hara and she was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Scarlet Witch is arguably the most popular superhero on this list, though there have been times when she was more villain than hero. The character first appeared in X-Men #4 (March 1964) and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but she is more notably associated with the Avengers (above art by George Perez). Her real name is Wanda Maximoff and she is the daughter of Magneto. Her mutant power is the ability to tap into mystic energy for reality-altering effects via "hexes." The Scarlet Witch can be presently be seen in the Marvel mini-series, Avengers: The Children's Crusade, the first issue of which also went on sale last week.

Will Scarlet is the oldest character on this list as one of Robin Hood's "Merry Men" from ballads originating in the early 1500's. He has been portrayed by numerous actors over the years (even by the Klingon Worf in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode), but has seldom had the spotlight to himself, one exception being a recent novel by Stephen R. Lawhead. It is also believed that the character is the inspiration for Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was the fictional leader of a league of English aristocrats who took it upon themselves to rescue innocent victims during the French Revolution. Created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy in 1903, the character is one of the first "disguised superheroes" in fiction and has been the subject of perhaps more novels, plays, films, and satires than all the other characters on this list combined.

Captain Scarlet was the main character of a British "Supermarionation" series in the late 1960's. The character is actually a virtually indestructible, "retro-metabolized" reconstruction engineered by the alien Mysterons, who becomes an agent of Spectrum and defends humanity against the race that created him. Though the series only lasted one season, there have been numerous books, comics, and a later series that aired in 2005, Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet.

Scarlett was a short-lived series from DC Comics about a cheerleader who discovered her parents murdered by vampires and becomes the "scarlet redeemer". Not sure if it was inspired by the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer and DC decided to hide the character once the tv series became popular for fear of lawsuit, but I am surprised she's never been used since 1994.

Scarlet Veronica is another cheerleader fighting the forces of darkness. Only she's dead. Or rather undead. Horror has a hero! An independent comic series created by Jason Moody, Josh Ruggles, and Justin Greathouse in 2008, copies of the first mini-series are still available online.

Miss Scarlet was one of the original suspects of murder in the board game, Clue and since the game was first published in 1949, whoever chooses her moves first. Her look has changed over the years, though she always remains one of the mainly accused due to her youth, cunning, and attractiveness. You can check out her many disguises over the years at

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Comic Strip of the Week - Boom!

In 1940, Russ Stamm celebrated the 4th of July with a boom! In the last panel of this strip, a plane crashes into a daycare center, beginning one of my personal favorite Scarlet story lines ever. The only time it has been republished in the last 50 years is in The Untold Origins of the Invisible Scarlet O'Neil, though you can see a big portion of the story on the official Scarlet website.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Comic Strip of the Week - Scarlet Makes a Splash!

Summer is here and it is definitely pool season! I recently acquired some daily strips from 1947 featuring a storyline centered around the mild mannered Afly Speck, who is so desperate for a girl's attention, he decides to jump off the high dive at an amusement park. Scarlet tries to help the sad sack, but she only manages to get wet for her troubles. As hot as it has been here recently, when I read this strip, my main thought was, "That looks refreshing!"