Public Domain Super Heroes
Miss Fury
Awards2013 hof mills

Real Name

Marla Drake

First Appearance

Black Fury Newspaper Strip (April 6, 1941)

Original Publisher

Bell Syndicate

Created by

June Tarpe Mills


Marla Drake was a wealthy socialite who discovered that another girl was wearing the same outfit to a party. Her housemaid, Francine, suggested that (to prevent embarrassment) Marla could wear an African panther skin that her uncle had willed to her. Her friend, Albino Jo, advised against wearing the ceremonial outfit, meant to be worn only by a witch doctor however, it fit her precisely.

Miss fury pin-up

However, Marla never made it to the party. On the way, she instead ends up helping to recapture an escaped murderer: Killer Dawson. The press bestowed the name "Black Fury" on her though she later corrected them that she was "Miss Fury."

Having enjoyed her first case, Drake continued as a costumed crime fighter fighting enemies such as General Bruno Beitz, Baroness Erica von Kampf, Miguel Rico, Dr. Diman Saraf, and Whiffy.

Miss Fury's vigilantism soon got the attention of Detective Carey who sought to find her true identity and if her alliances were with or against the law and later fell in love with Marla.

One ongoing plotline was Marla's adoption of Darron, the abandoned son of Erica Von Kampf and Gary Hale (Marla's former fiancé). Marla was unaware of the toddler's parentage but, she rescued him in Brazil from the brutal guardianship of Diman Saraf, who planned to use him in a deadly experiment. She was initially denied custody of the boy because she was a single woman, which broke her heart but, her courage and heroism in the rescue eventually won over the authorities. Marla was then, for the duration of the series, an unmarried woman with a child: a rather progressive scenario for a 1940s adventure strip (and because she had a job with a clothing designer, she enlisted the help of her friend Francine, who offered to be Darron's governess after losing her job in a war plant because of returning servicemen — a significant issue facing working women after the war).

Powers and Abilities[]

Miss Fury was a skilled athlete, acrobat, climber, and fighter. She was also a smart amateur detective and very wealthy. Her panther suit was supposedly enchanted by a witch doctor and also had claws. She sometimes used the spiked heels on her costume as weapons in addition to using a whip.


The female cast of the series often drew media attention for their skimpy outfits.

Public Domain Appearances[]

  • The Saint #6
  • Miss Fury #1-8
  • Black Fury/Miss Fury Comic Strip


  • Miss Fury has been identified as the first female superhero created and drawn by a woman cartoonist.
  • Even though Christian groups attacked the strip, it was still a common sight for American servicemen to paint Miss Fury on the sides of their planes.
  • Of special note regarding Miss Fury's powers is how seldom she used them. In the collection's nearly 200 strips, Marla donned the costume only a handful of times, heeding the warning of her friend — the Brazilian albino Indian and world traveler called Albino Jo — that "with every favor gained through black magic, got two misfortunes."
  • It was rare at the time for a heroine to be depicted as a single mother, which allowed only if she adopted the child.

See Also[]