Pat treats us to a song and dance number. Artist: Frank Borth.

PAT PATRIOT

Medium: Comic books
Published by: Lev Gleason
First Appeared: 1941
Creators: Charles Biro and Bob Wood (writers) and Reed Crandall (artist)
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August of 1941 was the month of arrival for superhero women, with Nelvana of the Northern Lights, Phantom Lady and about a half-dozen others all debuting at once. They came from a nearly equal number of different publishers — Harvey, Quality Comics, et al. The entry from Lev Gleason Publications (The Claw, Silver Streak) was Patricia Patrios, aka Pat Patriot.

As suggested by her nom du superhero, Pat was of the sub-genre …

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… that took patriotism as their theme, and dressed in red, white and blue. She shared that trait with Miss Victory and (eventually) Miss America, who were also among that month's debutantes. With The Shield, Captain Freedom and one or two dozen more displaying that theme, it was a popular sub-genre in those years, when patriotism bordering on jingoism was the norm.

Subtitled "America's Joan of Arc", Pat started in the August, 1941 issue (#2) of Daredevil Comics, the first to feature other heroes in its back pages. Others who started in that issue include Nightro (a Dr. Mid-nite imitation), London (former P.O.W. turned undercover hero) and The Bronze Terror (probably the first non-Caucasian superhero in U.S. comic books).

Her origin story was written by Charles Biro (Airboy, Crimebuster) and Bob Wood (The Firefly, Crime Does Not Pay). The artist is less certain. Some have identified the work as that of Reed Crandall (Blackhawk, Treasure Chest), but others disagree. Other writers and artists quickly took over the series, including Frank Borth (There Oughta Be a Law!) and Lin Streeter (Kalthar).

Patricia Patrios was first seen on an assembly line, doing her part for the war effort despite the fact that the U.S. hadn't officially gotten involved yet. The work was so demanding, another woman working there collapsed from the effort. But when Pat complained, she was accused of insufficient dedication, and fired. Despite losing her job, that night, she acted in an amateur stage production as if nothing had happened. On the way home, still in costume as a female version of Uncle Sam, she and her boyfriend, Mike Brown, were accosted while passing the factory where she'd formerly worked, by a thug warning them to stay away.

The thug was easily routed, but Pat got curious, and wound up foiling an operation that stole airplane motors and smuggled them to Axis powers — headed by none other than the foreman who'd fired her. Her name was garbled in the telling of the story, so the deed was credited to "Pat Patriot".

Pat continued to use that name and costume as she fought the war on the home front (and continued appearing on the stage as well) in every issue of Daredevil Comics, but not for very long. Her last appearance was in #11 (June, 1942). After that, she, London and The Bronze Terror were all replaced, and the new lineup was less dominated by superheroes.

Pat Patriot is among the many World War II flag wearers who excite little or no interest today.

— DDM

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Text ©2009-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Lev Gleason.