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Literature / Domino Lady

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The Domino Lady was a masked pulp heroine who first appeared in the May 1936 issue of Saucy Romantic Adventures. All of her stories were published under the house name "Lars Anderson" owned by the publisher, Fiction Magazines. The author's real identity is unknown, although it has been suggested it was a well-known writer. New short stories and a comic book featuring The Domino Lady are currently being published by Moonstone Books.

The Domino Lady is really University of California, Berkeley-educated socialite Ellen Patrick. When her father, District Attorney Owen Patrick, is murdered she puts on a domino mask and a backless white dress to avenge him. She would arm herself with a .45 pistol and a syringe full of knockout serum, but often her best weapon was her beauty, which often distracted and entranced opponents, or at the very least led them to underestimate her, allowing her to outwit them. Such wiles rarely worked upon her female adversaries, however.

She steals from her targets, donating most of the profits to charity after deducting her cut, and leaves a calling card with the words "Compliments of the Domino Lady".

The Domino Lady stories and comics contain examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ellen Patrick, a.k.a. the Domino Lady.
  • All Women Love Shoes: As a leading proponent of Combat Stilettos, Ellen is very fond of her collection of high-heel shoes.
  • Animal Assassin: In the Eros Comix miniseries, a mobster and a rogue paleontologist use a deinonychus controlled by music to destroy their enemies.
  • Auto Erotica: In the Eros Comix miniseries, Domino Lady and Det. Rob Wyatt start having sex in the back of Ellen's limousine when they are effected by the Mind-Control Music. Their liaison is cut short when Delglyn drives the car off a bridge and into the river.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: In "Target: Domino Lady" in Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, Ellen fakes emotional distress as an excuse to go to the bathroom where she changes to her alter ego and sneaks out the bathroom window.
  • The Beard: Ellen's Secret-Keeper Lulu Chambers is married to gay movie director who is in a relationship with his favourite leading man. Lulu gets a rich and glamorous lifestyle, while her husband gets cover for his sexuality, which would be professional doom in the 1930s if made public.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: In "Target: Domino Lady" in Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, the Domino Lady uses her .22 automatic to shoot a gun out of gangster Miles Prince's hand in order to save Inspector Michael McCarty.
  • Calling Card: The Domino Lady leaves behind a literal one: a black card with white writing reading "Compliments of the Domino Lady".
  • Cargo Envy: An anthology of short stories had Domino Lady team up with Airboy. At the end, she leaves a lipstick mark on Birdy and Airboy remarks that for the first time, he's actually envious of his plane.
  • Clear My Name: In "Target: Domino Lady" in Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, gangsters frame the Domino Lady for murder and she has to clear her name.
    • Ditto in The Domino Lady's Double, the last of the original six stories, where the corrupt party bosses do the same.
  • Combat Stilettos: Domino Lady could be the poster girl for this trope.
  • Death by Origin Story: It is the murder of her father, crusading D.A. Owen Patrick, that inspires Ellen to take up the identity of Domino Lady.
  • Destination Defenestration: In the Eros Comix miniseries, Domino Lady knocks the crime boss Lester Musgrove out of a window in the radio station atop a skyscraper.
  • Domino Mask: Forms part of Domino Lady's costume.
  • Ethical Slut: Moonstone Books' version of the Domino Lady tends to fall under this trope. The character is quite unapologetic about her many on-panel and off-panel liaisons, but she draws the line at sleeping with men who are involved with someone else.
  • Friend on the Force: Det. "Mad Dog" Morgan Verani provides Domino Lady with details of cases he thinks she would be interested in.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Eros Comix version of Domino Lady would often suffer extreme Clothing Damage that would result in her fighting the villains in nothing more than her Domino Mask.
  • Fur Bikini: In Domino Lady's Jungle Adventure, Ellen's evening gown is ruined in a plane crash and subsequent trek through the jungle, so she skins a leopard that had tried to kill her a creates a fur bikini from its pelt.
  • Guile Hero: Ellen was just as likely to use her allure and quick wit as her pistol and knockout serum to defeat the bad guys.
  • Heroic Seductress: Ellen is just as likely to use her knockout figure and talents in the bedroom to uncover information and distract bad guys as she she is to use her .45 or her syringe of knockout drug.
  • High-Heel Power: Ellen uses sex appeal as one of her main weapons, and her high-heeled shoes are as much a part of her Iconic Outfit as her evening gown slit to the hip.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: Depending on the Artist, Domino Lady's signature white gown can be this. The original pulp stories specify the gown is backless, and some artists have taken this to mean strapless as well. Some artists have drawn the neckline so low it would be impossible for her to move, let alone run or fight, without popping out.
  • Instant Sedation: Whatever drug it is Domino lady keeps in her syringe, it seems to have a near instantaneous effect.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Ellen steals ill-gotten loot from her targets, deducts enough to cover her lifestyle, and donates the rest to charity.
  • Karmic Thief: Domino Lady steals from her targets, who are all high-profile underworld figures, donating most of the profits to charity after deducting her cut, and leaves a Calling Card with the words "Compliments of the Domino Lady".
  • Kick Chick: Domino Lady's hand-to-hand combat style primarily involves high kicks; which show off her legs through her slit-to-the-hip gown. This is even more emphasised in her comic book incarnation.
  • Little Black Dress: In the first three stories, Domino wears one of these with a white cape, reversing the colors into their iconic form in the fourth sotry, Emeralds Aboard
  • Mile-High Club: In Domino Lady's Jungle Adventure #3, Domino Lady and a defector from the Italian army finally consummate their relationship in the cockpit of a plane flying on autopilot.
  • Mind-Control Music: In the Eros Comix miniseries, the villains learn that the flute the natives use to control the dinosaurs can also be used to control the natives, and use it to take control of the tribe and set themselves up as kings.
  • Most Common Superpower: Domino Lady is notably well-endowed, with much text devoted to how her sheer white gown stretches across her ample bust.
  • Murderous Thighs: In Domino Lady's Jungle Adventure #3, Domino Lady escapes from an Italian army camp in Ethiopia by wrapping her legs around Mussolini's neck and threatening to snap it.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: In the first miniseries from Eros Comix, the villains discover a tribe of Indians in South America who can control dinosaurs with a flute. The villains learn the secret of the flute and bring a deinonychus back to America with them to use as an Animal Assassin.
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero
  • Proto-Superhero: One of very few female examples.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: In "Masks of Madness" in Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, the Domino Lady teams up with The Phantom to take down a gang of modern pirates.
  • Secret Identity: Ellen maintains a cover as a brainless socialite.
  • Secret-Keeper: In the comics, Ellen's friend Lulu Chambers serves this role for her.
  • Show Some Leg: Ellen often used her stunning beauty to distract her foes.
  • Stocking Filler: Domino Lady's costume includes stockings (and apparently no other underwear). She often had a small automatic holstered in her garter.
  • Stripping Snag: In the Eros Comic miniseries, Ellen has to jump up a broken staircase to escape a dinosaur. As she jumps, her already damaged gown snags on the staircase and is ripped off.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Domino Lady carried either a .45 or a .22 automatic depending on the situation.
  • Two-Fisted Tales
  • Undercover Model: In the Domino Lady's Threesome comic, Domino Lady goes undercover as a performer in a burlesque show to learn why some dancers have mysteriously vanished.
  • Unorthodox Holstering: Domino Lady often has a small automatic holstered in her garter.
  • Vapor Wear: Much description is lavished on how Domino Lady's sheer white gown clings to her body with nothing underneath it.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Domino Lady confiscates funds from her criminal targets to pay for her crime-fighting.
  • With My Hands Tied: In Domino Lady's Jungle Adventure # 3, Domino Lady is shackled to a wall but manages to take Mussolini hostage by wrapping her Murderous Thighs around his neck.