Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sideline Sundays: Steelers' Sultry Sidekicks

Kicking off this season of Sideline Sundays (since Steeler Sunday's concluded last week with the conclusion of the American Football/Gridiron season and our favorite Steelers from Pittsburgh), the best transition to this new featurette is highlighting the gal friday's of our men of Steel, Steel Sterling and Sarge Steel. The first to appear was Sarge's secretary back in his mid-60's self-titled comics run, Bess Forbes:

There was a palpable chemistry between the two characters, a simmering deep romantic tension boiling just under the surface. Alas, Sarge's line of work and wandering eye prevented him from setltling down..and Bess knew it.
Bess took great pleasure in jerking her employer's chains, to get a rise from him . Generally he was a smooth operator, even when facing a daunting opponent during his regular fencing matches. Ah but a picture of some hot foreign babe and he was like butter. Still, they never stood a chance next to Ms. Forbes.Notice how she veigns disinterest when enticing him with the latest dish of the day, while slyly glancing his way.


Eventually, it stood to reason that she would be used as a bargaining chip as in Sarge's File 115, when she was kidnapped by the mean mad man-and-madame duo of P.O.W. (more on them another day). She proved more an asset than a liability to Mr. Steel helping him bring down the fairer foe of the two. And the experience shaped her perception in a way that she seemed to finally understand Sarge's steel veneer and seek his tender yet manly embrace.



While Sarge was a polished ladies' man, his contemporary Steel Sterling, while a lady magnetic, was a bit clueless when it came to the fairer sex. Of these, Gayla Gaynor ranked the top as far as endurance in seeking to claim her man. Here we see her in the early days, looking like a porcupine dressed in pearls as she channels her own inner Mary Tyler Moore. And her sharp quills really sting Sterling's steel hide in a way no other woman's has. Either she had serious mood swings, or this is a different Gayla than the next Gayla...


Thankfully Ms. Gaynor..and her fashion sense...finally arrived in the mid-80's when the object of her affection was still fighting the fine fight. And she is noticably distressed as Steel's lack of settling down and just picking her. These were in the early days of his own comic's run before he gained a veritable fan club of femine wiles drowning him in copious amounts of estrogen. She could sure have quite the extensive internal monologue while in the midst of a conversation, although she could not mask her true feelings if she wanted to.

What exactly IS up with this girl? Now she's a blonde? In Blue Ribbon Comics #4, she had pationately kissed Steel and he had exclaimed internally that she is a "woman of fire". It appears that fire is not enough to capture Steel's full and undivided attention as another pursuer named Rita attempts to conquers Sterling...himself on a quest to attain stardom in Hollywood during a cross-country tour with his gal pals and Young Steelers.

Were we to have a true "VS" comparison between these two ladies..hands down the winner would be Bess Forbes. She had it all...style, substance, and flair. She didn't discourage competion, she invited it! She didn't allow the times to change her appearance and attributes to accomodate her man of steel...she stayed true to herself and was the coolest of cool gal fridays in our book. Gayla was an also-ran. Try a red dye job next time.