Mary Malevolent

Wow Comics #17 - Page 3

Mary Marvel is such the quintessential good girl that certain writers and artists over the years have been tempted to concoct a heel turn for the character. Although such impulses usually result in less than memorable stories (to be charitable), the concept of a “Good Supergirl Gone Bad” did make for a few interesting twists and turns during Mary’s Golden Age heyday.

(It probably helped that the Mary Marvel of the 1940s was one of Fawcett’s top characters, rather than an “underused property” needing some sort of gimmick to gain the attention of an increasingly jaded modern comic audience.)

The twist in this particular story is that Mary Batson is corrupted and subsequently wages war against her virtuous alter ego, Mary Marvel. And yes, in this particular story the two Marys are depicted as separate individuals. It’s even spelled out on the original comic book cover …

Wow Comics #17 - Page 1

“The Milk Of Inhuman Kindness” originally ran in Wow Comics #17 (Fawcett, Sept. 1943). No writer’s credit this time, but the artistic honors go to long-time Mary Marvel contributor Jack Binder.

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4 thoughts on “Mary Malevolent

  1. So remember to drink your milk, kids…except don’t, because it might be poisoned and make you turn evil! Nothing confusing about that.

    (And truthfully, this is a way more persuasive and convincing depiction of Mary turning evil than that other story was…)

  2. I am reminded of how, over at DC, they got utterly confused about just what the relationship were between the Jim Corrigan and the Spectre. (They’ve never managed to set that right.)

    If one buys into the mythology here, then it seems that the evil (those Nazis overseas, for example) are really just the victims of a poisoning, who can be cured by administration of the milk of human kindness, rather than responsible for their actions.

    When it comes to my own sense of right-and-wrong, I think that Mary taught those who tried to enslave her (tenth page) just how much suffering they could experience.

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