Saturday, November 22, 2014

Miss Canuque?

This site started more or less out of jealousy. I was a big fan of Dynamite Entertainment's Project Superpowers series and spinoffs but, since it's hard for me to get into another country's flag-waivers, wished I had a similar series to call my own. So I went looking for some.

Almost three years later, I find out that one of Superpowers' most celebrated characters has a Canadian edition.

Miss Masque is said to have first appeared in Exciting Comics #51, cover dated September 1946. The writing creates some doubt as to whether this is actually her first appearance.  The table of contents states that she's "face to face with a diabolic plot which launches her on her greatest case". Also, a caption on the first page says that Diana Adams "once again...assumes the perilous role of Miss Masque". Certainly makes it sound as though she's been around a while, but I've found no prior appearance.

In any event, she was used sporadically in various books for the publisher until the summer of 1949.  AC Comics brought her back(as well as a great many other characters from the era) in 1989 and included her in their Femforce book. The following is a portion of her biography on the AC Comics website:
Miss Masque is one of the heroines introduced to the AC Universe after having been revived from the Vault of Heroes. In AC continuity, Diana Adams was a society playgirl born in Toronto, Canada, and interested in nothing more than cocktail parties, cotillions, and teas, until the day she stepped into a curio shop on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Rushing into town for Mardi Gras, she’d bought a stunning red-caped costume but had forgotten a mask. With most of the shops closed for the celebration, she had no choice but to take the strange domino mask the shopkeeper offered her, oblivious to the tale he told of it being impued with the spirit of justice. After saving the life of another partygoer during a robbery attempt, she found new meaning in her existence and began a crusade to balance the scales of justice in high society. At the age of 26, she decided to take part in the Vault project which was designed to keep the crimefighters and heroes of those relatively peaceful years in a state of suspended animation until their services were again needed. For over 40 years she resided in Dr. Weir’s Vault to be re-animated when the Femforce needed her help to combat the menace of the Shroud.
And so for AC Comics, Miss Masque has continued her occasional association with the Femforce team, appearing with them as recently as last year...

...and has had the spotlight directed towards her as well from time to time, including the 96-page book below.

To this point though, I have yet to find any in-story of evidence of Miss Masque being from Toronto. Her first appearance for AC Comics was in an annual and I have not seen the material from that book, so perhaps it was stated then and never really referred to again. Or maybe she's similar to DC's Booster Gold in that she's only said to be Canadian out-of-story, for some reason. Whatever. If it's acknowledged on the website, that's good enough for me.

I don't know of any indication that the other versions of the character might be Canadian, including the one that appeared in America's Best Comics. The Miss Masque (or Masquerade, rather) that is featured in Project Superpowers is most definitely not. In her four-part limited series from 2009 she appears as a youth in a flashback and makes reference to her family's estate in the New England states.

Not surprisingly, that's consistent with the original character.  While actual locations are rarely revealed in her early stories, one does take place in Maine and a supporting character mentions stopping by to see her while on his way to a vacation in Canada, so obviously he's not in the country yet.

Too bad, 'cause Masque looks like she could handle the weather just fine.

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