September 28, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #193: Grace

Dark Horse's Comics Greatest World had a heroine who was perhaps was ahead of her time. Perhaps a revival is in order?

The podcast last weekend inspired this week’s entry.  No, not when Watson asked about the Fantastic Four’s mailman.  That was Willie Lumpkin.  He was that team’s mailman for many years, and at one point he even dated Aunt May.  Stan Lee played him in a Fantastic Four movie.  He didn’t have any superpowers as all he did was deliver the mail.

If that seems like a skimpy entry, then let’s take a look at our actual entry:  Dark Horse Comics’ Grace.

Jenny, you should look into this one.

You know, I really could write oodles of columns based on various 90s superhero lines that went under for one reason or another.  Part of the reason I don’t is because I write these based off my own recollections in most cases, supplemented by Wikipedia, and with whatever pictures I can pull off Google Images.  But many of these characters are, shall we say, not really covered all that extensively on either Wikipedia or Google Images.

Bottom line is, for Grace, she had a very skimpy Wikipedia entry and hardly any Google Images pictures.  So, we’ll go off my memory of the character.

There was one image of Grace as drawn by George Perez. That’s pretty cool.

Anyway, I’ve only ever covered a Comics Greatest World character once before when I wrote up a rather longish entry on a guy only known as “X”.  But here’s the rundown:  Dark Horse introduced the line through four four-issue mini-series.  Each week, a new issue came out for a dollar each (comics hadn’t cost a dollar in ages by that point).  Each mini-series told a single story set in one of the four cities Dark Horse was setting up for its fictional superhero setting.  Each city had a different feel and was used for different kinds of stories.  Grace was based out of Golden City, a utopian society of advanced science and general goodness.

Wait, did I say she was based out of there?  Nah, I mean she ran the place.

Grace was the mightiest human character in Comics Greatest World, her only real rival being an alien man who emerged from the Vortex under the city of Cinnibar Flats.  She had colossal strength, flight, could survive the vacuum of space, was more or less indestructible, and she could do some sort of teleportation by opening up diamond-shaped portals.

Grace’s Golden City was protected by her very own superteam:  Catalyst: Agents of Change.

What sort of change did Grace have in mind?  Well, her city’s origin mini-series had a cybernetic warrior guy running rampant all over town, running roughshod over every hero he crossed paths with while Grace stayed in her tower, silently observing.  Then in the last issue, she finally had enough and easily went out and dealt with the guy without breaking a sweat.  Her next move was to declare Golden City a sovereign nation by seceding from the United States.  She did cut a deal to allow that if she took out the Man From The Vortex, but when that didn’t work, there was some general warfare and then the line collapsed.

I’ll be honest here:  I wasn’t a huge fan of Grace back in the early 90s.  She often came across as cold and arrogant, but I think that it had more to do with her creator being Barbara Kesel, a writer whose work never appealed to me all that much, and her husband Karl wasn’t a whole lot better for me.

Now, here’s the thing:  I really think this might be a good time for a comeback for Grace.  She’s a tough, smart, force of nature type of superhero, and with characters like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel making waves both in comics and on the big screen, why not?  She’d be riding the zeitgeist right now.

Then again, let’s look at the Dark Horse heroes who were successful.  I mentioned X before.  Dark Horse actually printed his series in a pair of Omnibuses.  Barb Wire of Steel Harbor was in a movie staring Pamela Anderson that was (probably, I’ve never seen it) horrible.  The most successful Dark Horse hero in print was probably Ghost.

I wonder why…

Anyway, here’s a lesser heroine after Jenny’s heart.

And as far as I know, she’s never delivered the mail.

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