MYSTA OF THE MOONMedium: Comic books
Published by: Fiction House Magazines
First Appeared: 1945
Creators: unknown writer, and Joe Doolin, artist
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At Fiction House Magazines (Kaanga, Shark Brodie), which since 1938 had been supplementing its line of pulp fiction vehicles with comic books, there was no shortage of female heroes (tho this may have been less a result of an enlightened attitude, than of an observation that they could sell
more comics to adolescent boys by filling them up with sexy women). Whatever the reason, by the mid-1940s, they'd been running the adventures of Sheena, Jane Martin, Fantomah and the like for years. But they took the point of view that where sexy women are concerned, there's always room for one more. Mysta of the Moon debuted in Fiction House's Planet Comics #35 (March, 1945).
Among the heroes of Planet Comics (The Red Comet; Auro, Lord of Jupiter, etc.), there was a villain the title had run Mars, God of War, as a bad-guy protagonist since 1941. It sometimes happens that when super-villains are the main characters, the series eventually develops a regular superhero, like The Phantom Blot's comic book did Super Goof. In Mars's case, the hero was Mysta, and a new series, with her as the star, replaced Mars in the following issue.
In #35, Mars (whose series was set in the near future) had succeeded in destroying all of Earth's universities, in an attempt to inflict a new dark age on humanity. But one scientist, Professor Kort, had preserved the world's knowledge and culture in his laboratory on the Moon. He transmitted it to his charges, Nors and Mysta, whom he'd kidnapped as babies from the creche where children were normally raised in that future society, and raised himself, as repositories from which past knowledge and culture might once again be spread throughout humanity.
But Mars's spirit possessed Nors, who killed Kort and tried to kill Mysta too, thus wiping out Kort's attempt to save the world. But Mysta saw through the ruse, and turned the tables on her "almost-brother" (as she referred to him). His death had the effect of banishing Mars from corporeal reality for a generation.
In #36, with Mars eliminated, Mysta turned her attention to a fresh menace. She continued to do so in each new issue for the next several years. She was assisted by a robot (apparently named "Robot"), originally given to her by Kort, which she controlled by giving it mental commands. Her biggest change in appearance during this time was being depicted as a blonde in her first few appearances, and then being shown with silver hair (reminiscent, perhaps, of silvery moonlight).
Mars's stories were credited to "Ross Gallun", no-doubt a house name. This continued in Mysta's series. The artist on the Mars stories, including the one that introduced Mysta, was Joe Doolin, whose other credits are mostly in other Fiction House properties, such as Gale Allen and Suicide Smith. Doolin stuck around for only a couple of issues. Later artists on Mysta of the Moon include Ruben Moreira (Roy Raymond), Chuck Winter (Camilla, Jungle Queen) and Matt Baker (Sky Girl).
Mysta was, true to her name, located in a lunar citadel at first, but relocated to Earth before too long. Tho Fiction House tended not to go for standard, average superheroes, Mysta became one. She adopted a secret identity, Ana Thane, who worked as a technician for the Safety Council under a handsome boss, Dirk Garro, who, like The Blonde Phantom's Mark Mason, hadn't the slightest suspicion about her outside activities. She also acquired a cloak of invisibility, always a useful item in a superhero's wardrobe.
With its 62nd issue (September, 1949), Planet Comics went from 52 pages to only 36. Mysta appeared in that issue, but that was the last of her. A few years later, a couple of her stories were reprinted by Israel Waldman's enterprise (which did Yankee Girl, Phantom Lady and much more).