Miss America (Marvel Comics)

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Miss America
Ms. America
Madeline Joyce / Miss America.
Cover of Miss America Comics 70th Anniversary Special (June 2009).
Art by Dale Eaglesham.
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Mystery Comics (September 1943)
Created byOtto Binder (writer)
Al Gabriele (art)
Miss America
Series publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
Publication date
  • (vol 1)
    May 1944 (one-shot)
    (vol 2)
    September 1944 – January 1945
    (vol 3)
    February 1945 – July 1945
    (vol 4)
    September 1945 – March 1946
    (vol 5)
    April 1946 – September 1946
    (vol 6)
    October 1946 – March 1947
    (vol 7)
    April 1947 – June 1947
    (vol 8)
    July 1947 – February 1952
    (vol. 9)
    April 1952 – June 1958
    (vol 10)
    June 2009 (one-shot)
Number of issues
  • (vol 1): 1
    (vol 2): 6
    (vol 3): 6
    (vol 4): 6
    (vol 5): 6
    (vol 6): 6
    (vol 7): 3
    (vol 8): 45
    (vol 9): 48
    (vol 10): 1
Main character(s)
  • (vol 1–2)
    Madeline Joyce
    (vol 2–9)
    Patsy Walker
    (vol 10)
    Madeline Joyce
Creative team
  • (vol 1)
    Bill Finger
    Otto Binder
    (vol 10)
    Jen Van Meter
    Allen Bellman
  • (vol 1)
    Ken Bald
    (vol 10)
    Andy MacDonald
    Alan Mandel
    Allen Bellman
  • (vol 1)
    George Klein
    (vol 10)
    Andy MacDonald
    Bob Oksner
    Allen Bellman
  • (vol 10)
    Dave Lanphear
  • (vol 10)
    Nick Filardi
  • (vol 10)
    Stephen Wacker
    Tom Brennan
    Tom Brevoort
    Vince Fago

Miss America (also spelt as Ms. America) is the name of several superheroines appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first incarnation of Miss America, Madeline Joyce, first appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #49 (September 1943).[1] The second incarnation, Erika Kelley, debuted in Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1 (December 2007). The third incarnation, America Chavez, made her first appearance in Vengeance #1 (September 2011).[2]


Concept and creation[edit]

Comic book publishers tried to explore new types of stories, characters, and audiences, since superheroes began to fade out of fashion in the post-World War II era. Comic companies started introducing more female superheroes in an attempt to appeal to young female readers.[3] American comic book publisher Timely Comics released Marvel Mystery Comics #49 (September 1943) featuring a new superheroine known as Miss America.[4] According to American author Jess Nevins and his Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes, Miss America "fights ordinary criminals, Axis agents, Baron Shinto the Gouger, the murderous teen the Cherub, King Cobra, and the human electric eel the Shocker."[5]

Publication history[edit]

Miss America[edit]

Madeline Joyce received the Miss America Comics #1 (May 1944) one-shot, her first solo comic book.[6] According to some sources, illustrator Ken Bald served as the cover and interior artist, although Vincent Fago, interim editor of Timely Comics for the drafted writer Stan Lee, asserted, "I hired a friend from the animation business, Pauline Loth, and she did the art for the first Miss America book."[7] Fago also stated, "I hired her at Timely when she left Fleischer's and came to New York. She did "Miss America" for us and created her costume."[8]

The Miss America Comics series changed its format with its second issue to become a larger magazine-sized Miss America Magazine,[9] though with the conventional comic book combination of glossy covers and newsprint interior. Initiating this format as vol. 1 #2 (November 1944),[10] the publication relegated its superhero to a secondary role and began focusing on teen-romance comics stories and articles on such topics as cooking, fashion, and makeup. This second issue, which featured a photo cover of an unknown model dressed in the Miss America costume, also introduced the long-running, teen-humor comics feature Patsy Walker.[11]

The Miss America Magazine series was renamed Miss America starting with issue #46 (April 1952). Alongside the single superhero comic, Miss America ran 126 issues in a complicated numbering that continued through vol. 7 #50 (December 1952), the 83rd issue. It then reverted to comic book format as Miss America vol. 1 #51–93 (April 1953 – November 1958).

The magazine format used photo covers of everyday teens. In 1951, starting with vol. 7 #42, the logo changed to Patsy Walker Starring in Miss America,[12] with covers now depicting high schooler, Patsy, boyfriend Buzz Baxter, and romantic-rival Hedy Wolfe, in cartoon art by artists Al Jaffee and Morris Weiss.

Madeline Joyce received the Miss America Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (June 2009) one shot, her second solo comic book.[13] According to Diamond Comic Distributors, it was the 136th best selling comic book in June 2009.[14]

Other series[edit]

Madeline Joyce appeared as Miss America in the 1941 All Winners Comics series.[15] She appeared in the 1946 Blonde Phantom series.[16] She appeared in the 1974 Giant-Size Avengers series.[17] She appeared in the 2006 X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl series.[18] Erika Kelley appeared as Miss America in the 2011 Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt series.[19]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Madeline Joyce[edit]

The first Miss America is Madeline Joyce.[20] Created by writer Otto Binder and artist Al Gabriele, the character first appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #49 (September 1943).[21]

Madeline Joyce Frank is a socially aware heiress born in Washington, D.C. who is the niece of the millionaire radio mogul James Bennet. She acquired a range of superpowers after being exposed to an electrical discharge from an unknown experimental piece of equipment. Madeline Joyce possesses the "Strength of a Thousand Men," allowing her to lift weights far heavier than a normal human would be capable of lifting. Her superhuman durability makes her resistant to different forms of damage. She has the ability to levitate herself through psionic means. By using her levitation ability in connection with carefully planned leaps, she could use her power to fly. She could attain any height at which she could still breathe (approximately 20,000 feet). Fatigue poisons accumulate much slower in Madeline Joyce's body than that of a normal human, giving her a heightened "vitality." She later became a superhero and took the mantle of Miss America. The character has also been a member of the Invaders, Liberty Legion, and All-Winners Squad at various points in her history.[22] She married fellow Golden Age superhero Robert Frank / Whizzer. Because the two had been exposed to radiation, their first child was the radioactive mutant Nuklo. However, Madeline Joyce died of complications stemming from childbirth with her second, stillborn child due to radiation poisoning from her first offspring while at Wundagore Mountain, Transia.[23] During this time, it was also suggested that Madeline Joyce was the mother of Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver and Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch.[24] This was ultimately refuted when it was revealed that Max Eisenhard / Magneto and Magda Eisenhardt were their biological parents. Madeline Joyce was later retconned in 1976 as a member of the World War II super-team known as the Liberty Legion, set between the creation of the Invaders and the post-war All-Winners Squad. As a member of the team, she battled the Red Skull. Alongside the Liberty Legion and the Invaders, she fought the Nazi super-team called Super-Axis.[25]

Erika Kelley[edit]

The second Miss America is Erika Kelley. Created by writers Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage, and artist Patrick Scherberger, the character debuted in Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1 (December 2007).

Erika Kelley was a member of the Liberteens under the codename of Miss America. Madeline Joyce served here as an inspiration. She battled Flag-Smasher when he intended to destroy the Liberty Bell.[26] Erica Kelley subsequently left the team alongside her former teammates to found a new one called the Fantastix.[27] She decided to abandon the mantle of Miss America and took the codename of Ms. Fantastix.

America Chavez[edit]


Miss America[edit]

Deirdre Kaye of Scary Mommy called Miss America a "role model" and a "truly heroic" female character.[28] Marc Buxton of Comic Book Resources included Miss America in their "Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time" list.[29]

Madeline Joyce[edit]

Megan Nicole O'Brien of Comic Book Resources ranked Madeline Joyce 3rd in their "Marvel: 10 Best Golden Age Heroines" list.[30] Steven Schneider of Screen Rant ranked Madeline Joyce 1st in their "First Female Comic Book Superheroes In History" list, writing, "The original Miss America was, in a lot of ways, the quintessential World War II superheroine: she fought alongside heroes like Captain America and Bucky, battled the Axis Powers and somehow wore a skirt while fighting crime."[31]

Madeline Joyce was the third female comic book female hero to get her own solo book after DC Comics' Wonder Woman and Fiction House's Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.[32]

America Chavez[edit]

Supporting characters[edit]


List of allies appearing in comic books with Miss America as the protagonist
Name / alter ego Creator(s) First appearance Description
James Bennett Otto Binder – Alfred Gabriele Marvel Mystery Comics #49 (September 1943) James Bennett is the uncle of Madeline Joyce.[33] He is a rich radio mogul who takes cares of his niece.[34]
Robert Frank / Whizzer Al Avison USA Comics #1 (August 1941) Robert Frank is the husband of Madeline Joyce.[35] He is a speedster with superhuman strength.[36]
Elton Morrow / Blue Diamond Ben Thompson Daring Mystery Comics #7 (February 1941) Elton Morrow is a friend of Madeline Joyce.[37] He is an archaeologist with superhuman strength and durability.[38]
Kate Bishop / Hawkeye Allan HeinbergJim Cheung Young Avengers #1 (April 2005) Kate Bishop is a friend of America Chavez.[39] She is a skilled archer and swordswoman.[40]
David Alleyne / Prodigy Nunzio DeFilippisChristina WeirKeron Grant New Mutants vol. 2 #4 (October 2003) David Alleyne is a friend of America Chavez.[41] He is a genius with telepathic abilities.[42]


List of ennemies appearing in comic books with Miss America as the protagonist
Name / alter ego Creator(s) First appearance Description
Stefan Halpern / Pinhead Killer Charles Nicholas Marvel Mystery Comics #52 (December 1943) Stefan Halpern is an antagonist of Madeline Joyce.[43] He is a Nazi during World War II who kidnapped a scientist and his granddaughter.
Unknown / Flaming Hate Marvel Mystery Comics #53 (January 1944) Flaming Hate is an antagonist of Madeline Joyce.[44] He is a murderer who attacks firefighters to avenge the death of his wife.
Dalt Kendall / Shocker Bill Finger – Pauline Loth Miss America Magazine #2 (September 1944) Dalt Kendall is an antagonist of Madeline Joyce.[45] He is a scientist with an obsession with electric eels. He gained the power to generate electricity while experimenting with them. He used his superhuman abilities to rob banks and murder people.
Unknown / The Spiderman Syd Shores Blonde Phantom Comics #12 (December 1946) The Spiderman is an antagonist of Madeline Joyce.[46] He is a scientist who is obsessed with spiders. He possessed huge spiders who feed on human blood.[47] He invented a web-shooting device to kidnap his victims.
Oubliette Midas / Exterminatrix Grant Morrison – J.G. Jones Marvel Boy vol. 2 #1 (June 2000) Oubliette Midas is an antagonist of America Chavez.[48] She is the leader of the supervillain organization known as the Midas Foundation.
Guy Thierrault / Flag-Smasher Zeb Wells – Stefano Caselli Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways #1 (July 2006) Guy Thierrault is an antagonist of Erika Kelley.[26] He is an anti-nationalist who terrorizes the population to spread his views.[49]

Other versions[edit]

Amalgam Comics[edit]

An alternate version of Miss America appears in the Amalgam Comics universe.[50] Madeline Joyce was combined with DC Comics' Liberty Belle.[51] This version is known as Madeline Lawrence / American Belle. She is a member of the All-Star Winners Squadron.[52]

In other media[edit]



Video games[edit]




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