|The Woman in Red|
Panel from Thrilling Comics.
America's Best Comics
|First appearance||Thrilling Comics #2 (March 1940)|
Richard E. Hughes (writer)|
George Mandel (artist)
|Alter ego||Peggy Allen|
(originally) Skilled hand to hand combatant and markswoman|
(America's Best Comics) Flight, and energy projection
The Woman in Red is a fictional character who first appeared in the period known to comic book historians as the Golden Age of Comic Books. Created by writer Richard E. Hughes and artist George Mandel, she first appeared in Thrilling Comics #2 (March 1940), published by Nedor Comics. The character was later revived by writer Alan Moore for America's Best Comics.
The Woman in Red is the secret identity of policewoman Peggy Allen. Frustrated by the limitations of her job, Peggy creates a secret identity. As the Woman in Red, she wears a red, floor-length coat, hood, and mask.
The Woman in Red made her debut in Thrilling Comics #2 (March 1940). Comics historian Trina Robbins has claimed that the Woman in Red is the first female costumed superhero, preceding such better known characters as Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, and Mary Marvel, though the non-costumed Fantomah debuted one month earlier. While the Woman in Red never made a cover appearance, she continued to appear regularly in issues of Thrilling Comics. Her last Golden Age appearance was in issue #46 (February 1945).
America's Best Comics
Alan Moore revived the Woman in Red, along with many other Nedor Comics characters that had entered the public domain, for his Tom Strong series. In Tom Strong #11 (January 2001), the Woman in Red is revealed to be a member of SMASH, a superhero team that had been placed in suspended animation after an alien invasion from the moon in 1969. She is revived 30 years later thanks to the efforts of Tom Strong. SMASH disbands shortly thereafter. When SMASH reforms three years later, the Woman in Red rejoins the team.
Moore also changed the Woman in Red's history for this revival. Sometime after World War II, the Woman in Red came into the possession of a mysterious ruby crystal. This crystal gives her the powers of flight and energy projection. Prolonged contact with the crystal eventually turns her skin a shade of crimson. At first embarrassed by her skin color, she begins wearing a leather costume that covers her from head to toe. She eventually comes to terms with her condition and adopts a costume resembling a one-piece bathing suit.
- The Woman in Red at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
- The Woman in Red at SMASH fansite
- The Woman in Red at International Hero