Dr. Wertham's
Lady Luck

Like Phantom Lady and Miss Fury, Lady Luck posed as a wealthy socialite, apparently good for nothing but preening with her peers. But Brenda Banks spiced up her boring life by putting on a bright green ensemble complete with superhero-style cape, hiding her face behind a gauzy green veil and hauling in crooks. Only her chauffeur, Peecolo, knew Brenda and Lady Luck were one and the same. Like many masked crime fighters of her day, she was sought by police, who suspected her of being no better than the criminals she brought in. But she added a wrinkle of her own - she was in love with Chief of Police Hardy Moore.

The original idea and design were by Will Eisner, head of the studio that had created Blackhawk and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. The project at this point was to fill the back pages of a 16-page Sunday newspaper supplement that was done in the form of a comic book. The Spirit, which was to become Eisner's most famous creation, occupied the first half, while the back was divided between Lady Luck and Mr. Mystic, one of those magical superheroes in the mold of Mandrake the Magician (except this one was of the sub-genus that wore a turban with his coat and tie), getting four pages each.

The writer and artist who put flesh on the character were Dick French (who also wrote stories about Crimebuster, Daredevil and other comic book characters of that vintage) and Chuck Mazoujian (most of whose comic book work was done through the Eisner studio), respectively. Nicholas Viscardi (who later, under the name "Nick Cardy", drew Bat Lash, The Teen Titans and others for DC Comics) also worked on the feature, but it wasn't until the March 1, 1942 edition that Klaus Nordling, the artist most associated with Lady Luck (and whose outstanding work was also seen at Fox Feature Syndicate, Fiction House and other publishers), drew her. Nordling's run lasted until March 3, 1946, after which the character was dropped. She came back a couple of months later, this time drawn by Fred Schwab (who worked for DC, Columbia Comics and elsewhere), but was gone for good by the end of the year.

from The Spirit Database...

Although The Spirit was the main feature of the weekly Comic Book Section, two other characters also ran in the section during the early years - Mr Mystic (by Bob Powell), and Lady Luck. Appearing with the very first insert (2 June 1940), the 4 page strip was written by Dick French and drawn by Chuck Mazoujian (who also wrote and drew Blackhawk for Quality Comics) for almost the first year.

The character of Lady Luck is in reality Brenda Banks - a blonde young Irish-American heiress whose father owned some maganese mines, which provided for many plots during the run of the series. Created by Will Eisner (although he never wrote or drew any of her stories), Lady Luck was dressed in a kelly green costume and wide brimmed hat. The series did share some similarities to The Spirit, in that Lady Luck did not possess any superpowers and that the logos used in the series were as distinctive as those used by Eisner on the main feature.

With the 18 May 1941 section, Nicholas Viscardi took over the art and scripts. Viscardi immediately Introduced Peecolo, the Banks' chauffeur becomes Lady Luck's assistant after discovering her dual identity. In 1942 Viscardi was drafted and had to relinquish the series, but he would later return to the field as Nick Cardy some years later producing artwork on such titles as DC's Teen Titans. The person most associated with the strip, Klaus Nordling, took over with the 1 March 1942 section. Nordling also introduced a new regular character to the series with the Count de Change, a small and accident prone gentleman who had a crush on both Brenda Banks and Lady Luck. Nordling stayed the longest on the strip, but with the 3 March 1946 section the series was cancelled!

Replaced by a humour strip called Wendy the Waitress by Robert Jenny there must have been an outcry for the return of Brenda Banks, as with the 5 May 1946 the character was to return! This time handled by Fred Schwab, the artwork was more cartooney than Nordling, and the strip concentrated more on the misadventures of the Count de Change. This time the strip was to stop again around the 3 November 1946 section (although some of the regional sections were behind with this strip and in some areas Lady Luck continued until January). However, Lady Luck's luck still held out: reprints of the strip by Nordling started to appear in Smash Comics with issue 42 (this title also featured Spirit lookalike Midnight) and lasted until #86 when the title changed it's name to Lady Luck where it lasted until #90 (August 1950).


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