Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Penny Parker

Penny Parker is a child of wealth and privilege whom readers are introduced to when she rebels against her parents insistence that she honor the traditions of her social class by taking part in a debutante ball. The sixteen year-old girl gives in, but decides to show everyone up by bringing her rough-edged boxing instructor to the ball as her escort. In the process, she ends up stopping a jewel heist. Fueled by her success as a detective, and rebellious teenage impulses, Penny sets herself up in her own detective agency and starts solving crime among the upper classes.

Penny Parker and her First World Problems.

"Penny Parker" was a series aimed squarely at girl comics readers, and it is an example of strips that were more common than people assume. I find Penny particularly interesting, because she reminds me of another of my long-time favorite forgotten girl detectives--Violet Strange. Like Penny, Violet was a young woman who rebelled against her social status by solving crimes... but, unlike Penny, Violet hid her activities from her parents by operating secretly through a detective agency.

Penny appeared in issues 13 - 15 of MLJ's Blue Ribbon Comics, all published in 1941, solving mysteries and catching killers and stopping crimes at genteel parties and country clubs. Her creators remain lost to history, although some sources credit Irv Novick with the art on the series. I don't see his hand, though, and I think the attribution is based on an incorrect assumption about the signature "Irving" on the episodes.

Penny Parker will co-star with Kismet (the first Muslim superhero) in the next issue of NUELOW Games' Complete Golden Age Oddballs.

In the meantime, here's Penny ala ROLF!:

Brawn 17, Body 15, Brains 8
   Traits: Nimble
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic attack, Castrate, Debate Philosophy, Dodge, Knock Out, Murderous Mitts, Strike Pose, Walk and Chew Gum
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Fashionable Dress (Clothes) OR Boxing Togs (Clothes, barely covers nakedness).

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