Lady Luck. Artist: Klaus Nordling.


Original Medium: Newspaper comic book
Distributed by: Register & Tribune Syndicate
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Will Eisner (editor/packager), Dick French (writer) and Chuck Mazoujian (artist)
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Lady Luck wasn't quite the first female masked crime fighter, but, coming out in the same year as The Woman in Red and The Red Tornado and only …

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… a day before Invisible Scarlet O'Neill, she was part of the first wave of them. She debuted in the first Spirit newspaper comic book section, dated June 2, 1940.

Like Phantom Lady and Miss Fury, Lady Luck posed as a wealthy socialite, apparently good for nothing but preening with her peers. But Brenda Banks spiced up her boring life by putting on a bright green ensemble complete with superhero-style cape, hiding her face behind a gauzy green veil, and hauling in crooks. Only her chauffeur, Peecolo, knew Brenda and Lady Luck were one and the same. Like many masked crime fighters of her day (cf. Crimson Avenger, Blue Beetle), she was sought by police, who suspected her of being no better than the criminals she brought in. But she added a wrinkle of her own — she was in love with Chief of Police Hardy Moore.

The original idea and design were by Will Eisner, head of the studio that had created Blackhawk and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. The project at this point was to fill the back pages of a 16-page Sunday newspaper supplement, that was done in the form of a comic book. The Spirit, which was to become Eisner's most famous creation, occupied the first half, while the back was divided between Lady Luck and Mr. Mystic, one of those magical superheroes in the mold of Mandrake the Magician (except this one was of the sub-genus that wore a turban with his coat and tie), getting four pages each.

The writer and artist who put flesh on the character were Dick French (who also wrote stories about Crimebuster, Daredevil and other comic book characters of that vintage) and Chuck Mazoujian (most of whose comic book work was done through the Eisner studio), respectively. Nicholas Viscardi (who later, under the name "Nick Cardy", drew Bat Lash, The Teen Titans and others for DC Comics) also worked on the feature, but it wasn't until the March 1, 1942 edition that Klaus Nordling, the artist most associated with Lady Luck (and whose outstanding work was also seen at Fox Feature Syndicate, Fiction House, Quality Comics and other publishers), drew her. Nordling's run lasted until March 3, 1946, after which the character was dropped. She came back a couple of months later, this time drawn by Fred Schwab (who worked for DC, Columbia Comics and elsewhere), but was gone for good by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Quality Comics, which published many of the Eisner studio's characters, had begun reprinting Nordling's Lady Luck. In Quality's Smash Comics #42 (April, 1943), Bozo the Robot, Smash's first cover feature, was dropped, and Lady Luck took his place. She continued in Smash (tho only once, in #43, was spotted on the cover) until the title ended, with its 85th issue (October, 1949) — after which she took over completely, as the title was changed to Lady Luck Comics with #86. It ran just a few issues under that name, ending with #90 (August, 1950).

And that was pretty much the end of her. No licensing, no adaptations to other media. A couple of reprint volumes were issued in 1980 by Ken Pierce, who also brought old stories about Tailspin Tommy, The Phantom and other classic newspaper comics characters back into print, and that's about it. But no character touched by the genius of Will Eisner is ever completely forgotten, especially one so closely associated with Klaus Nordling; and Lady Luck is still well remembered by many knowledgeable comics enthusiasts.


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Text ©2002-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Will Eisner.