Thursday, November 19, 2015


"Have you all seen my muff? Then we can proceed."
I believe I have found my new favorite superhero origin of all time, and I would like to go ahead and present it to you exactly as it was written in the opening caption of the character's second appearance in Clue Comics vol.2 No.1 (March 1947):

"Because a little Swiss watchmaker grew tired of having big brutes crush his tiny, feminine hands with each handshake ...and because of the amazingly powerful tiny motor-operated gloves that he created as a vicious defense joke, we now have with us here in New York City a stunning gal who doesn't look as though she could crush a grape!!"

This is the capsule origin of The Iron Lady, an avenging femme fatale who gads about the criminal underworld in a daring scarlet evening gown, high heels and powerful metal gloves capable of crushing steel beams into powder. Jesus, that tiny Swiss watchmaker really had it in for anyone who shook his hand. I guess he was an introvert.

Debuting in Airboy vol.4 No.1 (February 1947), the Iron Lady's origin - and the origin of her deadly metal mittens - is fleshed out a bit. Rather than merely trying to avert enthusiastic greetings, the watchmaker is revealed to have created the gloves specifically to cripple a titanic nobleman who routinely abused the small man in his shop. That's how many great inventions were created. I understand that the toaster was only invented so as to have something to throw in a bathtub.

Here she is murdering a child. 
From the inventor's possession, the gloves make their way through the years to another diminutive man, this time in Hungary. There, he applies to be the local executioner, but he's turned down because the death penalty there is applied by strangulation. I guess that's efficient. Rebuffed for his tiny frame and hands, instead he crushed a few support beams and happily gets the job of strangling men to death, just like he was voted "most likely to" do in high school.

The gloves go through a number of collectors before ending up in the hands (har har) of an American
subsequently murdered. Receiving her father's new acquisitions, Doris Parker also receives her father's corpse in a trunk. With the deadly gloves in her possession, this encourages her to seek vengeance on the men who murdered her father, either for murdering him or because she hates trunks, I'm not sure.

Since her only real super power is crushing things, a lot of things get crushed in these stories. Hands, lamps, tables, a few guns, some throats - all the stuff you can comfortably fit in someone's hands, really. The body count is pretty terrific too, although why the Iron Lady is allowed to wander the streets murdering criminals - including juvenile delinquents! - is never genuinely answered, except that I guess dressing well really does open doors for you.

The finest component of the Iron Lady construction, though, is that she's only known formally as the Iron Lady. Since she deftly obscures her Mandalorian Crushgaunts inside a fur muff when not actively strangling or crushing things, she picks up - as I'm sure you saw in the image above - the informal moniker of The Muff.

I can't even ... this is the best superhero of all time, let's see more of her. The Dark Muff Returns. Whatever Happened to the Muff of Tomorrow? For the Muff Who Has Everything. Before Muffmen.


Mike Frank said...

I am surprised you didn't have all sorts of snark related to the sexual innuendo of the word "muff".

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Wow, she had a rather inconsistent run--premiere in Airboy, three tales sporadically printed throughout Clue (and its retitled version True Clue Crime Stories). Maybe it's because as thinly-disguised fetish material goes, the strangulation-fixated tales of Iron Lady were a good deal creepier than Wonder Woman's bondage adventures.

Robberson Ford Customer said...

As always your comments are hilarious. Keep the reviews of old and moldy superheroes coming!

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