Comic Book: Patsy Walker

Patsy Walker, and its companion comic, Patsy and Hedy, were Marvel Comics's (initially, Timely's) major entry in the teen girls' comic genre. The character of Patsy is among Marvel's oldest, first appearing in 1944 in "Miss America" issue 2. Patsy Walker #95 was one of the first two comic book issues to carry the Marvel escrutcheon.

Patsy Walker focused mainly on the spirited red-headed heroine's issues with her more straight-laced parents, her boyfriend "Buzz", and especially her rivalry with her raven-haired nemesis/vitriolic best bud, Hedy Wolfe. In fact, Patsy and Hedy seem to have spent a lot of time getting in each other's faces, messing around with each other's lives with minimal motivation, and swapping wordy put-downs and insults while staring each other down in an oddly obsessive fashion, sometimes culminating in gentle displays of affection. This has made some readers wonder a little about the subtext in their relationship...but on the basis of his body of work, this just seems to be a common character dynamic in Stan Lee's writing.

The books were never gigantic sellers for Timely/Atlas/Marvel, but made themselves a quiet and profitable market niche in the character's 23-year first incarnation, especially in the 1950s after Al Hartley took over as the major artist. By the mid-1960s, the title's aesthetic had dated and Marvel's attention had long since been taken away from girls' humor comics, resulting in Patsy and Hedy growing up a little and becoming dashing young reporters, touring the world while frustrating the plans of various villainous bishonen. The writing standards by this point were not up to the concept, the concept itself was not incredibly original even in 1967, and in that year the Patsy Walker-based titles were quietly discontinued.

In 1976, Patsy Walker was retooled into the superheroine Hellcat (by using the special costume abandoned by another heroine, The Cat, who now had powers of her own as a Cat Girl named Tigra.) Meanwhile "Buzz", having been married to, then divorced by her, became the amoral superpowered mercenary Mad Dog. Hedy remains in Marvel canon as Patsy's mundane business partner. The original teen-comedy comics also remain canonical...as in-universe fiction written by Patsy's mother. Meanwhile, during a stint with The Defenders, Patsy married teammate Daimon Hellstrom - the Son of Satan!

In 2015, Patsy will make her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as a primary character in A.K.A. Jessica Jones, played by Rachael Taylor. As described in a press release, this version of Patsy is "a syndicated radio talk show host, former model and child TV star" who also serves as Jessica Jones' best friend.

Compare Millie the Model, another Marvel teen humour comic written by Stan Lee.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Costume Porn - Each issue would let you know who designed each girl's outfit for the issue.
  • Fiery Redhead - Patsy, though Hedy's at least equally fiery.
  • Genre Shift - Played with in issue 7 of the 80s comedy series What The—?!, by having Patsy constantly flip between her Golden Age teen life, and her Bronze Age superhero antics.
  • The Golden Age of Comic Books - and survived into the Silver Age before the characters got retooled in the Bronze.
  • Love Triangle - Hedy's supposed to be trying to steal Buzz away from Patsy. Although in practice she seems less interested in Buzz than she is at upstaging Patsy.
  • Pretty in Mink - One issue showed Patsy being excited to get her first fur.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl - Borderline, but in general Patsy gets the girly outfits, Hedy the assertive outfits. In behaviour, they're both about as girly (or not) as each other. And Patsy's bedroom contains a baseball schedule taped to her dressing mirror and her lack of domestic skills is a running gag.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Patsy and Hedy.

Tropes as Hellcat

Click to see Hellcat's second costume
  • Action Girl: What she has become as Hellcat.
  • Amicable Exes: Averted with her first (and ex-)husband, Buzz, who becomes supervillain Mad Dog. Then again, it's less than likely for a cat and a dog to be amicable in the first place.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: mostly animal alias variety, as her superpowers are "only" Psychic Powers and thus have nothing to do with a cat. Her claws are derived from her costume.
  • Ascended Fangirl: She has long idolized superheroes of Marvel Universe.
  • Cat Girl: Cat-Eared Headband Costumers variety. Her costume was given by the original The Cat, Greer Grant Nelson, who is now known as Tigra, an actual catgirl.
  • Driven to Suicide: During The Dark Age of Comic Books, Daimon had a hard time controlling his demonic side, which led to Patsy taking her own life. Fortunately, after righting himself, Daimon was able to have her brought Back from the Dead.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Her superpowers are her psychic powers. Aside from wearing costume with claws and grappling-hook, her fighting abilities are natural.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Animal Theme Naming variant. She is cat-themed superheroine and Buzz is dog-themed supervillain.
  • Femme Fatalons: Her costume has retractable casehardened, steel alloy claws on both the gloves and boots, enabling her to rend brick or stone. She later replaced them with conventional gloves and boots.
  • Fiery Redhead: Just like the fictionalized Patsy, this real Patsy is a redhead and fiery.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Just look at her costume in the picture, which is given by Tigra.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Hellcat occasionally employed her cable-claw, which straps to her wrist and uses a compressed-gas firing mechanism to propel a four clawed grappling hook connected to a 30-foot length of steel-niobium alloy memory-cable (that coils itself back into its spool upon rewinding), which she used for swinging or tightrope walking.
  • Legacy Character: To the original Cat (Tigra).
  • Male Gaze / Does This Remind You of Anything?: Was this actually necessary?
  • Psychic Powers: She once possessed enhanced psionic abilities, due to the mental stimulation of Moondragon's Titanian technology. She could move small objects telekinetically, resist mental control, and on one occasion was able to generate a psychokinetic force-blast. Moondragon has since used her own advanced psionic powers to undo the effects of her psychic augmenter. Since then, Walkerís psychic abilities have returned but to a far lesser degree than at their peak. She no longer has any psychokinetic ability, but she is still sensitive to certain psychic phenomena.
  • Retool: She went from being a mostly comedic character, to the superheroine Hellcat, to Happily Married with Daimon Hellstrom.
  • Self-Deprecation: She's not actually comfortable about her motherís fictionalized exploitation of her, and was relieved when the In-Universe series ceased publication.

Alternative Title(s):

Hellcat