Welcome back to The Green Onion Revival Project!
This last week I introduced the new fictional sub-series, Cow Puncher, the wild adventures of Kit West. However, I do not take any credit over the character. In fact, you own Miss Kit West as equally as I do. Cow Puncher is a public domain property.
The original comic book was released in 1947 from Avon Periodicals. There is some uncertainty towards Kit West’s creator, but the best estimate is Gustav Schrotter. The first few titles of Cow Puncher introduced many western characters and stories. Eventually Kit West became the headliner of the wild west anthology.
Discovering Kit West inspired me to create some updated short story material. Not only was she a cowgirl in the male infested genre, but she is also an advocate for indigenous rights. Ahead of her time, she is a character that deserved to be dusted off and refreshed.
Which leads us to this week’s Top 10!
Public domain is full of exciting and interesting characters. If you can manage to dig through the misogynistic and racially insensitive material, there are many treasures like Kit West.
This week we will be picking the top 10 heroines out of the public domain pile. The powerful women of lore that should never be forgotten.
There are so many that narrowing this list down had to be based on personal preference. With that said, given enough request, I would happily throw a story down for any of these great women.
Let’s get into this:
10. War Nurse
Originally created in 1941 by Howard Reed and Jill Elgin, War Nurse, or Pat Parker was a dynamic force during WWII. Between saving lives and kicking Nazi butt, War Nurse formed an all-female fighting force called the Girl Commandos. Imagine what this heroine would be capable of in the modern landscape.
9. Tiger Lily
Peter Pan offered a few select choices of female heroes, but Tiger Lily is the most intriguing as a stand-alone character. Say what you will about Peter and Wendy, but I believe it was Lily that had Pan’s heart. Additionally, she is a force unto herself. She would have assassinated Captain Hook herself had he not had the jump on her.
8. Sheena, Queen of the Jungle
Out of all the characters on this list, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, has the most public domain content available. She was an integral piece of Jumbo Comics and briefly carried a self-titled series. In 1955, Sheena became a popular television series. Though the Tarzan connections are prominent, her story has some unique elements including magic.
7. Annie Oakley
This may be questionable as far as public domain goes, considering Annie Oakley was a real-life sharpshooter. However, the outrageous character that has been developed from her legend is worth exploring the possibility further. Rumour has it she outshot the best of the men in a story similar to Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit.
6. Magician from Mars
The first comic book superheroine to ever exist deserves infamy. Jane Gem, the Magician from Mars, predates majority of your favourite comic book characters and beat Wonder Woman by a solid two years. The woman from the future has all the best powers including shapeshifting, telekinesis, strength, speed, super-intelligence. She could even manipulate matter and gravity.
5. Woman in Red
The Batman to Magician from Mars’ Superman, Woman in Red was the first masked female crimefighter. The Woman in Red, or Peggy Allen, was an undercover policewoman who used her mask to hide her identity while stopping crime. The vigilante even has her own rogue gallery and all the elements for an exciting detective story.
Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are well-established characters from The Wizard of Oz. However, the Land of Oz is completely free for new and exciting imaginings. Dorothy being our ticket into Oz gives enough reason to explore her as a character further. Although, there are some elements from the MGM film that remain in their property.
3. Mother Earth
As for something more conceptual, Mother Earth or Mother Nature is generally an untouched character. While she has been personified in all forms of media, she has never led her own story. There is a lot of potential and even more freedom to develop her without the previous conceptions.
2. Jill Trent, Science Sleuth
Jill Trent has been described as the “most radical hero” of the ‘40s. Besides being a highly educated independent woman, she was a genius scientist, inventor, and detective. She is accompanied by her partner Daisy, who acts as her muscle. Though it was never explicitly stated, it is assumed that this dynamic duo were the first gay comic book crimefighters.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the first stories to come to mind while thinking about public domain properties. For many of the same reasons that Dorothy makes such an intriguing character, Alice offers the same and more. As a character, Alice offers a lot of fun and unique directions. Heck, you could leave Wonderland behind and explore Alice in Public Domain Land.