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Comic Book / Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst's Amazons

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Suffrajitsu is a graphic novel trilogy written by Tony Wolf, illustrated by Joao Vieira and published by Jet City Comics. Issue #1 was published on January 28, 2015.

The trilogy is part of the "Foreworld Saga", a multi-media alternative history series initiated by speculative fiction authors Neal Stephenson and Mark Teppo.

Suffrajitsu is set in 1914 and presents the adventures of Miss Persephone Wright and her team of "Amazons"; a secret society of women, trained in the martial art of Bartitsu, who serve as bodyguards and field agents for the fugitive leaders of the radical women's rights movement in London.


Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst's Amazons provides examples of:

  • Amazon Brigade: Lampshaded; the heroines are actually known as "the Amazons".
  • Bald of Evil: A well-dressed gent with a bald pate and goatee beard attempts to "thrash some sense" into the Amazons. He does not fare well.
  • Battle Butler: Toupie Lowther, who initially appears as Mrs. Pankhurst's uniformed chauffeur/getaway driver, is later revealed as the second-in-command of the Amazon bodyguard team.
  • Bigger Stick: Literally; the Amazons use hardwood Indian clubs (bowling pin-shaped implements used in exercise classes) as weapons in fighting the police, and their clubs are bigger than their police constables' truncheons.
  • Body Double: Employed as part of a successful decoy strategy that fools the police into arresting a Mrs. Pankhurst impersonator, allowing the real Mrs. Pankhurst to escape.
  • Bookcase Passage: The Amazons hide in a room concealed by a trapdoor hidden under the mats of the Bartitsu Club gymnasium.
  • Butch Lesbian: Toupie Lowther, who is also an accomplished fencer, opera singer, motorist and transvestite.
  • Call That a Formation?: The Amazons charge the police in a "flying wedge formation", but lose the ensuing brawl (or so the police think...)
  • The Edwardian Era: Subverted; Suffrajitsu is Downton Abbey as directed by Quentin Tarantino.
  • Functional Addict: Persephone virtually chain-smokes "Dr. Nachtigall's" cigarettes, which are laced with cocaine, as well as drinking cocaine-infused Vin Mariani. Cocaine was often prescribed by doctors during this period, leading to an outbreak of addiction among all social classes.
  • Historical Domain Character: Toupie Lowther, Miss Sanderson, Flossie Le Mar, Katherina Brumbach, Kitty Marshall, Edward Barton-Wright, Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst and Vernon Waldegrave Kell were all real people who lived during this period.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won: The outcome of the "Battle of Glasgow" brawl between the Amazons and the Glasgow police, who outnumber the Amazons 3 to 1.
  • Inspired by…: Most of Issue #1 is, surprisingly, closely based on real history. The radical suffragettes actually did create a secret society of martial arts-trained female bodyguards and events including the Oxford Street window-smashing raid, the decoy tactic at Campden Hill Square and the Battle of Glasgow are shown very much as they were reported in newspapers at the time. The assassination of Mrs. Pankhurst, however, is purely fictional.
  • Kicking Assin All Her Finery: Frequently and quite effectively, although the Amazons do also have an "action uniform" incorporating bloomer pants rather than long skirts.
  • Land Downunder: Persephone commits the gaffe of referring to her teammate, New Zealander Flossie le Mar, as an Australian.
  • Must Have Nicotine: Persephone and Flossie take cigarette breaks as often as they can, though Persephone says that her Uncle Edward disapproves of the habit.
  • Nice Hat: Pretty much everyone, since the story is set in early 1914, though the Amazons' elaborate hats tend to go flying when they start kicking ass.
  • Public Domain Character: Judith Lee, who was originally a popular "lady detective" character in a series of short stories by author Richard Marsh between 1911-13.
  • The Quiet One: Miss Sanderson, who is never heard to speak and who wears an unsettling, tight-lipped grin when she fights.
  • Race Lift: Judith Lee was traditionally portrayed as being of European descent, but the Suffrajitsu version of the character is ethnically Chinese.
  • Spy School: Equipped with secret rooms and a combat gym, Edward Barton-Wright's Bartitsu Club evidently serves this purpose for the Amazons, although they're primarily insurgents and bodyguards rather than actual spies. At least for now.
  • Training Montage: There's a one-panel version of this trope in which the Amazons are shown training in a wide range of Bartitsu combat skills including jujitsu, kickboxing and fencing with parasols and umbrellas.

Alternative Title(s): Suffrajitsu


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