Blonde Phantom

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Blonde Phantom
BlondePhantomDetail.jpg
Cover detail, The Steranko History of Comics 2
Art by Jim Steranko.
Publication information
Publisher Timely Comics, Marvel Comics
First appearance All Select Comics #11 (Fall 1946)
Created by Stan Lee, Syd Shores
In-story information
Alter ego Louise Grant Mason
Team affiliations All-Winners Squad
Invaders[1]
"Avengers" (1959)
Notable aliases Louise Mason, Weezie
Abilities High-level athlete
Skilled hand-to-hand combatant
Fine markswoman
Excellent secretary

The Blonde Phantom (Louise Grant Mason) is a fictional masked crime fighter in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Syd Shores for Marvel predecessor Timely Comics, she first appeared in All Select Comics #11 (Fall 1946), during the 1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books. The character was ranked 98th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[2]

Publication history[edit]

As superheroes began to fade out of fashion in the post-war era, comic book publishers scrambled to explore new types of stories, characters, and audiences. In an attempt to appeal to young female readers, comics companies began introducing some of the first significant superheroines since Wonder Woman. Those of Marvel Comics' 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, included Golden Girl, Miss America, Namora, Sun Girl, and Venus, and its teen-humor star Millie the Model.[3] Other companies' included Fox Comics' revival of Quality Comics' Phantom Lady; and DC's Black Canary.

The Blonde Phantom, created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Syd Shores, debuted in All Select Comics #11 (Fall 1946),[4][5] which became Blonde Phantom Comics the following issue. The series lasted a little over two years (from #12-22, Winter 1946 to March 1949), during which time the crime fighter also appeared as a backup feature in:

The character was the province of no one artist, and aside from originator Shores, her adventures in this wide variety of comics were pencilled by Vince Alascia, Ken Bald, Allen Bellman, Carl Burgos, Vernon Henkel, Mike Sekowsky, Ed Winiarski, the pseudonymous Charles Nicholas, and others. When not inking themselves, the pencilers were embellished by inkers including Al Avison, Jack Binder, and Harry Sahle.[5]

Blonde Phantom Comics changed titles and formats completely to become the anthological romance comic Lovers with issue #23 (May 1949).[5]

Concurrent Blonde Phantom[edit]

Comics historian Jess Nevins notes that the Timely Comics teen-humor character Millie Collins wore a mask and veil and posed as the "Blonde Phantom" for a cosmetics company's publicity campaign in a story in Millie the Model #2 (Oct. 1946), published near the same time as the superheroine Blonde Phantom's debut in All-Select Comics #11 (Fall 1946). Acknowledging the shared Marvel Universe, Nevins writes that the famous model's stunt "perhaps inspired Louise Grant to put on a costume and fight crime".[6][7]

Revival[edit]

The character's civilian identity, Louise Mason, was reintroduced in The Sensational She-Hulk #2 (June 1989). Two issues later, she was revealed to be the retired former superhero. Mason remained a series cast-member through the final issue, #60 (Feb. 1994).[8] She was featured in flashback adventures in All Select Comics 70th Anniversary Special (Feb. 2009)[9] and the five-issue miniseries Avengers 1959, beginning with issue #1 (Dec. 2011).[10]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Origin and Golden Age adventures[edit]

All Winners Comics vol. 2, #1 (Aug. 1948), cover artist(s) unknown

Louise Grant, born in Hoboken, New Jersey, was secretary to private detective Mark Mason. Enamored with her boss and wanting to help him break cases, she surreptitiously donned a black domino mask and a sexy, skintight, slit-leg red evening gown and high heels, and ventured out at night fighting crime. Highly athletic and seemingly trained in martial arts, the Blonde Phantom also carried a .45 caliber pistol. In a distaff echo of Superman and Lois Lane, Mason had a crush on the Blonde Phantom, but not on Louise. At an unspecified point, the Blonde Phantom fought alongside the All-Winners Squad superhero team for an adventure.[11]

Modern Age[edit]

Louise Grant had left crimefighting to marry her employer, Mark Mason, in 1949 and taking his last name. She gave birth to their daughter Wanda and, later, to son Earl. After her husband's death, she began working as a legal secretary for district attorney Blake Tower in the 1989-1994 series The Sensational She-Hulk, acting as the general voice-of-reason for both Tower and Jennifer Walters / She-Hulk.

Mason would often find herself more or less willingly pulled into the She-Hulk's surreal adventures, and occasionally vice-versa. They would confront many menaces, from Stilt-Man in issue #4 (Aug. 1989) to a town where stepping out of line, even swearing, was fatally punished. Mason would even accompany She-Hulk into outer space, where the pair become allies of the space-faring hero Razorback and his compatriots U.S. Archer and Al the alien. After being taken prisoner by the subterranean ruler the Mole Man, she was restored to a more youthful version of herself by a mysterious chemical process in issue #33 (Nov. 1991).

Louise's daughter becomes the Phantom Blonde in She-Hulk #23 (Jan. 1991). Cover art by Kevin Maguire and Jim Sanders III.

Mason, affectionately nicknamed "Weezi", began a romantic relationship with Jennifer's father, Morris Walters in #36 (Feb. 1992). Mason later found herself trading physical stature and powers with a none-too-pleased She-Hulk in issue #48-49 (Feb.-March 1993), becoming so enamored with her new form and abilities that she only changed back when Morris revealed he wanted Weezi the way she had been.

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Blonde Phantom had no superhuman powers. She was an athletic woman, a skilled hand to hand combatant, and a fine markswoman with the conventional handgun she carried. She also had excellent secretarial skills, as the secretary for the Mark Mason Detective Agency, and later as the secretary of New York City District Attorney Blake Tower.

Phantom Blonde[edit]

Louise's daughter, Wanda Louise Mason, introduced in The Sensational She-Hulk #21 (Nov. 1990), briefly followed her mother's crime-fighter legacy, becoming the costumed Phantom Blonde two issues later,[12] in a story by writer Steve Gerber and penciler Buzz Dixon. She was later being considered a "potential recruit" for the US government's superhero-training program, the Initiative.[13]

Other versions[edit]

The Louise Mason version of Blonde Phantom appears as a recurring character in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and its follow-up series, Spider-Man Marvel Adventures, both published as part of the young-readers Marvel Adventures imprint, taking place in a non-canonical alternate reality from mainstream Marvel continuity. Here, she is portrayed as a famed private detective who often works as a confidant to Spider-Man and his girlfriend Sophia "Chat" Sanduval.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z vol. 1 #5
  2. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 60. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  3. ^ Nolan, Michelle (August 2004). "The Super Women of Timely". CGC (newsletter) 3 (8). Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ The Blonde Phantom at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 28, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Blonde Phantom (character) at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ The Blonde Phantom (I)" at Nevins, Jess, A Guide to Golden Age Marvel Characters. WebCitation archive of latter.
  7. ^ Millie the Model at An International Catalogue of Superheroes
  8. ^ The Sensational She-Hulk at the Grand Comics Database
  9. ^ All Select Comics 70th Anniversary Special at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ Avengers 1959 at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ All-Winners Squad at MarvelDirectory.com, reprinted from The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe: Teams 2005
  12. ^ Phantom Blonde at The Appendix to The Handbook of Marvel Universe
  13. ^ Civil War: Battle Damage Report (March 2007)
  14. ^ Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #58

External links[edit]