The Big Blog o’Fun today brings you the second installment in our series featuring “Gals with Moxie” from Golden Age comic books. Despite the fact that “Kay McKay, Air Hostess” made five appearances across three different comic books, I would likely never have read her adventures without a “heads up” from a friend. Scott Hideouts & Hoodlums Casper knows that I’m always on the lookout for offbeat Golden Age comics stuff, so he sent me a quick Facebook message pointing me to Banner Comics’ own female fury.

Why would a publisher present stories featuring an air hostess (what we’d today call a stewardess)? As I’ve mentioned in this blog plenty of times previously, aviator comics were hugely popular in the Golden Age; furthermore, as I stated in the previous post, comics enjoyed a significant number of young female readers in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Since female pilots were a rarity (Amelia Earhart notwithstanding), it makes some sense to make an air hostess the protagonist for an adventure feature geared toward young girls.

I won’t try to make a case that this story (or any of Kay’s tales) are sterling all-time evergreen classics of the Golden Age. While the art is especially good (with some really dynamic panel composition in the choice of scenes and varied angles), the writing could have been better from a technical standpoint. The story is very cool (it’s like a feature film in just nine pages), though the dialogue’s a bit stiff. But it’s a swell little adventure story, regardless of the protagonist’s gender; substitute a male pilot for Kay McKay and you’d never even bat an eye. Something about the plot (probably the juxtaposition of jungles, planes, and diamonds) and the tale’s rapid pacing reminded me very much of the classic Jonny Quest animated series from the 1960’s.

It’s a fun read and another fine example of a Golden Age “regular gal” who displays a ton of courage and resourcefulness. I was hooked right from the splash panel where our intrepid stewardess, armed with nothing but a wooden stick, squares off against a crocodile. Pay particular attention to the two panel fight scene on the third page for some excellent art and composition; the first panel (in which the mechanics scramble to get into the fight) builds the action while the second panel (the fight itself) resolves it. The very brevity of the sequence conveys the idea that it’s a quick, vicious little brawl; I rather suspect that a modern day comic would drag it out to a two to three page length and thus actually lose the air of brutality that this little sequence telegraphs to the reader.

As always, click the pics for a larger view, and thanks to The Digital Comic Museum for the scans.

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Kay McKay, Air Hostess – Banner Comics #3 (September 1941)

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2012, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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