Friday, September 9, 2011

The Sun Girl'll Come Up Tomorrow (I Hope)

The Golden Age of comic books is filled with half or almost fully forgotten characters. But growing numbers of them have made a return, in one form or another, in modern comic book stories.  So I can't help but wonder who might be next to make a comeback.

The original Agents of Atlas limited series (Marvel Comics) really spurred my current fascination with the Golden Age. I'd always had some interest in the era, but opportunities to read the stories were few and far between. So much has changed since then. More and more of those classic stories are available now, and I grab up everything I can, especially from Marvel's predecessors, Timely and Atlas.

Sun Girl gets the Dangerous
Divas treatment (art by
Rhiannon Owens)

Namora rules as my all-time favourite Golden Ager, but I'm also fascinated by another Timely heroine, Sun Girl -- maybe because we know so little about her. (I mentioned her briefly in "In Case You Missed Them..." in July.)

According to a modern retelling by Roy Thomas, Sun Girl is really Mary Mitchell, lovestruck gal friday to the original Human Torch (she becomes Sun Girl to work with him when his regular partner is away). In the original stories, however, she's first introduced as a famous soloadventurer who turns out to have a long history that might even predate the Torch's existence. And in her final Golden Age appearance, she's worshipped as a sun goddess (and she goes along with the ceremony willingly). Is she immortal?

Panels from Sun Girl's only in-continuity appearance since 1950
(The Sage of the Original Human Torch #3, June 1990)
As mentioned in my previous post, Sun Girl's only other modern appearances aren't part of mainstream Marvel continuity (with the possible exception of Agents of Atlas #3, December 2009, in which she may appear in a photo on Jimmy Woo's desk).

Jimmy Woo picks his team in 1958 -- is that Sun Girl tucked in
the upper right corner? (Agents of Atlas #3, December 2006)
She makes at least one appearance in the all-ages title Marvel Adventures Super Heroes. In addition to issue #21 (see the previous post), in which she comes and goes with the sun, she may make a one-panel appearance in issue #15, watching television with She-Hulk and a group of Golden Age heroines (Patsy "Hellcat" Walker, Namora and the Blonde Phantom).

Is that Sun Girl in the middle?
(Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #15, November 2009)
In The Age of the Sentry #5 (March 2009), we see Sun Girl the 52nd as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the 31st century. This version is actually Esme Esmeralda, not the original (whom she thinks of in passing). If this story has any bearing on mainstream continuity, does it support the theory that the "original" is one of a long line of Sun Girls?

Sun Girl's legacy continues in (one version of) the 31st century
(The Age of the Sentry #5, March 2009)
Sun Girl is long overdue for a mainstream comeback, if only so we can find out who or what she really is. (I have my own theory, but I doubt it will ever be more than fan fiction.)


The Age of the Sentry #5 (March 2009)
Agents of Atlas #3 (December 2006) possible cameo
Captain America Comics #69 (Nov 1948)
Frankie Comics #11 (October 1948) cameo
Human Torch #32 (September 1948)
Human Torch #33 (November 1948)
Human Torch #34 (January 1949)
Human Torch #35 (March 1949)
Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #15 (November 2009) possible cameo
Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #21 (May 2010)
Marvel Mystery Comics #88 (October 1948)
Marvel Mystery Comics #89 (December 1948)
Marvel Mystery Comics #90 (February 1949)
Marvel Mystery Comics #91 (April 1949)
Marvel Tales #97 (September 1950)
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Golden Age (2004) profile page
The Saga of the Original Human Torch #3 (June 1983)
The Saga of the Original Human Torch #4 (July 1983) editorial page
Sub-Mariner Comics #29 (December 1948)
Sun Girl #1 (August 1948)
Sun Girl #2 (October 1948)
Sun Girl #3 (December 1948)

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