MISS VICTORYMedium: Comic Books
Published by: Holyoke Publishing Co.
First Appeared: 1941
Creators: unknown writer and Charles Quinlan (artist)
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One of the common sub-genres of early 1940s superheroes was the flag wearer. Starting with The Shield, 'way back before America was even officially involved in World War II, the guys whose fighting togs consisted of red, white and blue skin-tights numbered in
the dozens — Captain Freedom, Yankee Doodle Jones, Captain Flag
the list goes on and on, and that's to say nothing of Captain America himself.
It stands to reason that when superheroing caught on among women, the flag wearers would be among them. The sudden explosion of female superheroes in August, 1941 (when Phantom Lady (Quality Comics), The Black Cat (Harvey), Nelvana of the Northern Lights (Bell Features) and more all debuted at once) included a couple of full members in the tricolor brigade. (The Other was Lev Gleason's Pat Patriot.) There would've been three, but Miss America wore street clothes at first, and when she did adopt a costume, she switched it around a lot. Wonder Woman was still four months in the future.
The flag wearer in that bunch was Miss Victory, who was less war-oriented than the name implied, but who did start out in the August, 1941 first issue of Captain Fearless. It was published by Helnit, an off-brand comic book producer that soon segued into Holyoke Publishing Co. (Cat-Man, Tornado Tom), a slightly more name-brand publisher. Aside from Vic herself, the lineup included Citizen Smith, Mr. Miracle (no relation) and, on the cover, Captain Fearless, who wore a buckskin Davy Crockett outfit as a superhero suit.
Vic apparently chose her superheroing theme from the fact that she lived and worked in Washington. She was Joan Wayne, a stenographer in that city, and her motivation was no more compelling than being sick and tired of the crime and corruption surrounding her. Somehow, she got it into her head that dressing up as Miss Victory would be an effective way to get rid of it. It isn't known who wrote her script, but the artist was Charles Quinlan, who also has credits at Fiction House and The American Comics Group.
The Captain Fearless title lasted only two issues, but the characters in it lived on. Vic next appeared in the first issue of Captain Aero (Dec. 1941). Sharing the back pages with her were Mighty Mite (a Minimidget type), The Red Cross and a couple of others. The cover feature, Captain Aero, was an adventuring aviator in the tradition of Tailspin Tommy, Hop Harrigan etc.). The first issue was confusingly numbered both 7 and 1. If the 7 is considered correct, the first six were titled Samson.
It took a while to straighten out the numbering, but Miss Victory stayed in the Captain Aero back pages until the end. That came with #26, dated August, 1946. (The reason it took so long to get to that modest number is, Captain Aero came out only sporadically.) That was the last of her, at least for the present generation.
Miss Victory next appeared in the 1980s, in Americomics, published by the company that evolved into AC Comics. Other characters resurrected in Americomics include, but are not limited to, The Blue Beetle, Stuntman and Atomic Mouse; and the company later became known for never letting a superhero be forgotten, no matter how obscure. AC later made Miss Victory a member of its Femforce, along with Yankee Girl, Rio Rita (related to Señorita Rio), Ms. (formerly Miss) Masque and many others.
AC has since updated the character. Retroactive to World War II, she no longer had the demeaning position of stenographer, but was a scientist, contributing materially to the war effort with the invention of The V-47 Formula, designed to generate superheroes. She's been replaced by her grown daughter, Jennifer. And nowadays she and Jennifer call themselves Ms. Victory.