Mlle. Marie in action. Artist: Mort Drucker.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1959
Creators: Robert Kanigher (writer/editor) and Jerry Grandenetti (artist)
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During the 1950s, DC Comics published quite a few titles that had no continuing characters — House of Secrets, Mystery in Space, Our Army at War … but as that decade segued into the '60s, …

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… most of them began sporting regulars. One of the early converts was Star Spangled War Stories, which didn't have a single headliner during the seven years of its existence under that name, until Mlle. Marie of the French Resistance debuted in its 84th issue (August, 1959).

Marie (last name not given) started out as an ordinary French farm girl, listening avidly to war stories told by her father and grandfather. By the time she grew up, her country was again in need of heroes, as the Nazis had marched in and taken over. She and her father joined the Resistance, but his participation was short-lived. In fact, he died in her arms in their very first story, leaving her the de facto commander of their unit. She proved to be more-or-less typical of fictional French Resistance women — tough as nails or soft as silk, depending on what would best advance her cause.

She was created by writer/editor Robert Kanigher (whose highly varied resume included Viking Prince, Knights of the Galaxy and The Trigger Twins), and artist Jerry Grandenetti (whose also-varied resume ran from The Spectre to Prez and points beyond). They continued to write and draw her adventures in subsequent issues, tho Grandenetti was replaced after the first few by Mort Drucker (most famous for his caricatures in Mad magazine).

But while Marie's wasn't quite the first of DC's war series to be introduced (that would be Sgt. Rock, who had started four months earlier, followed by Gunner & Sarge a month after that), it was the first dropped. Star Spangled #90 introduced The War that Time Forgot, and that was the beginning of the end. Before long, the visceral thrill of pitting World War II soldiers against dinosaurs crowded Marie completely out. In fact, her last appearance was in #91 (May, 1960).

Marie was an early example of the practice of keeping characters around after their series fold. She next appeared in The Brave & the Bold #52 (March, 1964), where Sgt. Rock, The Haunted Tank and Johnny Cloud, Navajo Ace, were the joint stars. After that, she continued to turn up as an occasional guest star in DC's war comics, as long as those titles remained in print. Her encounters with a later star of Star Spangled War Stories, a master of disguise known as The Unknown Soldier, were fairly memorable — she threatened to kill him soon as the war was over and his skills were no longer needed.

Detective Comics #501 (April, 1981) introduced a new character named Julia, who was alleged to be the daughter of Mlle. Marie and, of all people, Batman's butler, Alfred. Julia remained as a minor supporting character for a few years, then was dropped without comment. Of Marie's own post-war adventures, including whether or not she actually did kill The Unknown Soldier, we have no word.


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