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|First appearance||Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (1939)|
|Created by||Paul Lauretta|
|Alter ego||Perry Webb|
American Ace (Perry Webb) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in the uncirculated Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 in 1939. The character would make his first public appearance when his Motion Pictures Funnies Weekly strip was published in Marvel Mystery Comics #2 and #3.
Despite an intelligent and adult story line, American Ace was abruptly cancelled just as soon as the second story, defining the hero's purpose, saw print. The reason was possibly because the strip seemed too politically intense for the mostly adolescent audience, or because artist Paul Lauretta, an inker on backgrounds and designer of thugs seen in Superman's early stories, had a style, which at the time, seemed crude even by Golden Age standards. However, the latter was later discredited as the artwork was drawn in a humorous style reminiscent of E.C. Segar's Popeye. The artwork highly contrasted with the politically jarring story and sentimental romance.
However, several months later the strip turned up in the pages of Centaur Publications's The Arrow #2, under the name "Lieutenant Lank." Perry's last name was changed from "Wade" to "Webb", and the story had him shoot it out in the skies against Ursula's men with the announcement that he would raise a team of pilots next issue of all fallen nations.
Centaur Publications then published a 6-page story Lieutenant Lank in Amazing Mystery Funnies 24. When his plane is destroyed, and he is captured by Queen Ursula, Lank escapes in one of the Queen's tanks and makes it back to his lines, but not before Lank spanks Queen Ursula after Queen Ursula steals a kiss. This issue also had Basil Wolverton's Space Patrol.
But with the demise of Centaur Publications, the strip was once again cancelled.
American Ace has not been seen in modern Marvel continuity, but Webb was mentioned briefly in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Golden Age, showing that Marvel still owns the rights to American Ace.
Perry Webb was an American miner who traveled in his private plane internationally in search of rare minerals, such as radium. On one such search, he set out to the Balkan nation of Attainia. However his timing was unfortunate since a neighbouring country, Castile d'Or declared war on Attainia over the assassination of their arch-duke by an Attainian extremist. Promising the citizens of Castile D'Or "justice", the formerly exiled Queen Ursula became chancellor and invaded Attainia, when it was in fact she who was behind the assassination. Meanwhile, Webb had landed and was horrified as the bombings began. Having saved a girl called Jeanie from being crushed by a falling tower, he was rewarded by being taken to her family's cottage. Falling in love, Webb, however chose to leave Attainia. His plane was shot down and Webb was wounded severely. After making his recovery, he vowed he would have vengeance against Castile'D'Or.
During the "Last Days" part of the Secret Wars storyline, Perry was seen as a resident of Valhalla Villas (a retirement home for ex-heroes and ex-villains). He is among the residents that were temporarily de-aged during the Incursion between Earth-616 and Earth-1610.
Another "American Ace" appeared in 2011. A homosexual, yet married, fighter pilot named Ace Masters. He first appeared in issue #4 of the maxi-series All Winners Squad: Band of Heroes.