Monday, August 8, 2016

Short(est) Lived Comic Series #5 - Tiger Girl (Gold Key)

If a comic that only publishes one issue of an intended series can be considered a series, then Tiger Girl is by far the shortest "series" I have ever read.  Published in 1968 (a year before I was born, mind you) by Western Publishing Company under its "Gold Key" imprint, this one and only issue of Tiger Girl tells the story of the mysterious masked crusading beauty, described as "beautiful as Venus ... and as fierce as a creature of the jungle..."  Shapely aerialist Lily Taylor by day, but justice-seeking heroine Tiger Girl by night, readers are introduced to her world and her supporting cast, but never find out exactly how Tiger Girl came to be.

I chanced upon this comic at a convention from one of the dealers I regularly buy comics, so I managed to get a pretty good deal on it.  Can't say that I had ever heard of the character or even seen this comic, so I was surprised to find out when I got home and did some research that (a) there was only one issue, and (b) the comic was written by none other than Superman creator, Jerry Siegel!  It also turns out there was a "Tiger Girl" back in the 1940s, published by Fiction House in their Fight Comics books - however, that character was not the same (despite the similarities in costume and same blond hair).

The story itself is rather basic, as most comic stories were back in the '60s - Tiger Girl defeats one villain, then discovers that another villain has it out for her and must face off against him before ultimately defeating him by the end of the story.  With names like "The Growler" and "Wolf Hound," our dear Mr. Siegel was not being overly creative in the character department.  And the acronyms for the organizations - W.A.A.V. (War Against Arch-Villainy) and I.N.F.A.M.Y (the evil counterpart whose name is not even defined) - well, as you can see, they are definitely something else!

As far as supporting cast goes, that's actually where there are some characters that I would have loved to see more of.  Government agent Ed Savage is the egotistical male figure, determined to keep Tiger Girl in her place as a "mere girl."  There's Titan the Great, the circus strong-guy who pines after Lily (knowing she is Tiger Girl), and Laughing Boy, the resident clown of the circus who is always good for a quick laugh.  And, of course, there is Kitten, Lily's pet tiger who is just as dangerous as Tiger Girl herself when they are out fighting crime.

"With claw and fury she springs...into the trap of Wolf Hound, a human beast!"  A tagline on the cover that was meant to draw in readers unfortunately did not draw in enough, for despite the caption in the last panel indicating Tiger Girl would face more danger in the next issue - that next issue never came.

Tiger Girl is something older comic fans will enjoy - those who have a fondness for the comic tales of yesteryear, when the stories were just told for fun, we weren't bogged down with or worried about continuity, and one story did not need to be padded out to six issues to sell a trade paperback.  We don't need to know how she came to be Tiger Girl.  We don't need to know where Wolf Hound or the Growler got their powers or what caused them to be villains.  We just know who is the good guy, who's the bad guy, and who's gonna win.  Simple, enjoyable, and fun - exactly what a comic should be.

RATING:  7 silent stranglers out of 10 for giving a female hero her own title back in the '60s and giving her a chance to shine, even if it were for only one issue.

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