Thursday, May 9, 2013

Joan Crawford And The Pirates

"The Dragon Lady" of  Milt Caniff's "Terry And The Pirates" is actually based on Joan Crawford.

When "Terry And The Pirates" began, Milt Caniff's art looked much the same as it had in "Dumb Dora". The new girl character ( Normandy Drake ) was similar to Dumb Dora in appearence.

TERRY AND THE PIRATES strip for 5-18-35.

But as he continued working on the strip the style changed somewhat and began to take on the look it is remembered for today.

"The Dragon Lady" was introduced as an oriental villianess who was the head of a gang of Chinese pirates.

There were other stooges, but this could well be a reference to the familiar Three. It's the right period.

During the second World War, the Dragon Lady helped fight the Japanese in China and became an ally of the United States.

The Dragon Lady continued to be a part of the strip after the war. Eventually the strip passed into other hands after Milt Caniff started another strip, "Steve Canyon".

One of the inspirations of the Dragon Lady was a real-life Chinese woman pirate named Lo Hon-Cho.

But Milt Caniff said that he modeled his comic strip character on Joan Crawford, seen here in a picture with him and a picture he drew of the Dragon Lady.

Here are a couple of drawings Caniff gave to Joan Crawford.

Joan Crawford site:

Joan Crawford and Terry And The Pirates:

Terry And The Pirates:

Terry And The Pirates Go To War:


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