Cutey braves danger. Artist: Joshua Quagmire.


Medium: Comix
Published by: Joshua Quagmire Enterprises
First Appeared: 1982
Creator: Joshua Quagmire
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It took only a few years for the comic book superheroes of World War II to reach the funny animal section of the industry, and once they did, they quickly proliferated. Supermouse (1942) was followed by …

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Super Rabbit (1943), The Terrific Whatzit (1944) and many others, continuing to the modern-day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and beyond. They reached the alternative, "underground" comix even more quickly — Wonder Warthog goes back as far as 1963. But there, no such immediate proliferation occurred. Wonder wasn't followed by Cutey Bunny for a couple of decades. Cutey first made the scene in 1982.

Where she made that scene was in Army Surplus Komikz Featuring Cutey Bunny #1, which was self-published that year without a specific date, by cartoonist Joshua Quagmire. The "Quagmire" name, which long predated that of Peter Griffin's neighbor, is technically a pseudonym of Richard Lester, but since it's the only name the cartoonist ever uses in public, that point is moot. His other comix include Bronco Bunny (no relation) and Space Gophers.

People who know contemporary manga may recognize Cutey's name as a take-off on Cutie Honey, a popular series by cartoonist Go Nagai (Devilman, Kuro No Shishi). Content-wise, she owes little to the Japanese series, but started out as a parody of DC's Earth-Two concept — just a couple of years before Crisis on Infinite Earths did away with that branch of continuity. She also doesn't have much to say about American race relations, tho in her black-and-white comix, she's shaded in a way that, if she were human, would probably indicate African ancestry.

Cutey (sometimes called "QT Bunny") is Cpl. Kelly O'Hare, apparently a member of the U.S. military, tho in an unspecified branch of the service. She works in Washington, at a very high level for a mere corporal. In fact, she often gets her orders from the president himself. Which is appropriate, since she's no ordinary agent of whatever it is she's an agent of. She has super powers, connected to an amulet she got from Ra, the Egyptian sun god (who, by the way, also had a connection to Metamorpho).

With her amulet, Cutey could assume different super-heroic forms. Aside from her standard spandex look, she could be a samurai, a practitioner of East Asian martial arts and wield a katana (Japanese sword), a Rocketeer type and get around on jet-propelled boots, or assume any of several different themes.

A prominent supporting character is Vicky Feldhyser, who's so heavily into the whole secret agent business that she sometimes describes herself as a "four-ple" (that's more than a single step beyond double) agent. Vicky is a fox, but since she's no species-ist (or sexist, apparently), that doesn't stop her from lusting after Cutey (who is drawn so that many human readers do the same).

Between 1982 and '85, Cutey appeared in five issues of Army Surplus. Then, there was some talk about her getting a series from the publisher of Cerebus the Aardvark, which also did Neil the Horse and Ms. Tree, but that never went anywhere. She was also published by Fantagraphics (Prince Valiant, Little Orphan Annie) and other publishers of alternative comic books.

Currently, Cutey maintains a presence on the Internet, and is liable to break back into print at a moment's notice.


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Text ©2011 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Joshua Quagmire.