Who's Merry the Girl of a Thousand Gimmicks

Who's This? The Golden Age teenage heroine on page 10 of Who's Who vol.XV.
The facts: Way back in 1948, in Star Spangled Comics #81, Star Spangled Kid was given an adoptive sister who soon started wearing a costume and under the name Merry (uhm, that was actually her first name, so playing fast and loose with the secret identity), helped him fight crime in a handful of stories, before replacing him with her own short-lived strip. She was apparently the mother of Infinity Inc.'s Brainwave Jr., which is really yucky if you know the original Brainwave who's his father, and was said to have died.
How you could have heard of her: Young Justice (the series from almost 15 years, not the recent cartoon series) brought her back and made her a part of Old Justice, former Golden Age sidekicks who take an interest in the younger team. Geoff Johns used her in his Black Reign storyline, while Grant Morrison's 7 Soldiers of Victory features a character called Gimmix, apparently Merry's estranged daughter.
Example story: Star Spangled Comics #90 (1949), reprinted in Adventure Comics #416 (1972)
This story is loaded with gimmicks since both protagonist and antagonist use them, so what better tale to choose? (Also, the easiest to find because it's been reprinted, thank you all-female hero reprint issue of Adventure Comics!) In "The Duel of Gimmicks", Merry basically creates her own villain by inspiring a gold thief to use gimmicks too. What's amazing about our girl Merry is that instead of some utility belt, she hides most of her gimmicks in her cape. Not in a backpack under her cape, mind you. Literally inside the cape, which appears to work like a D&D magic item.
Gimmicks, puns, is there anything Merry can't make in her fight against crime? Well, the main thief manages to escape and he decides to escalate his operations by making his own gimmicks. Aw bless, Merry made a difference! She figures that because he stole a gold depository once, he's likely to attack the Golden Jubilee Exhibit because GOLD, and she's right (this isn't exactly a Joker or Penguin level mystery). But he's come prepared!
Merry has a "Glitter gun" which sounds girly, sure, but the self-proclaimed "Gimmick Guy" (what, no Who's Who entry?) is kind of beating her on the girlie-meter. An explosive doll?! (Don't worry, that was a dummy of someone in the Royal Family, if I understand the exhibit correctly).
See? Now he's using gimmick perfume, while Merry is using what is still a GUN, and mangled comic book science too, and earlier, a baseball mitt, all of which are usually the purview of male heroes. And now for the winning gimmick:
I don't know what makes me more speechless. The very idea of a mule kick on a stick, or wondering where in the cape she kept it. Though captured, Gimmick Guy escapes again with the help of a fake arm he leaves in a policeman's handcuffs. She tracks him down again, at the Golden Grotto Dining Patio (for some reason, I don't think there would be a lot of gold there), but he steals her cape. Oh noes!
Ha ha, she knew that would happen so she stuffed it full of backfiring gimmicks! (Obviously.) So he defeats himself by using her stash. More or less. It gives her a chance to show what's up her considerably short sleeve (a rocket firecracker) and get her vest pocket net out as well.
It was in the papers and everything. You know where I think she REALLY hides most of her gimmicks? In the borders between panels. Because she rarely seems to reach for anything (the mitt up top was a rare exception), they just sort of appear in her hands. Villains never think of looking there. The cape is just an access way.

DC Heroes RPG anecdote: One of my players in the early 90s played a male version of Merry without knowing it. His character, Jack of All Trades, had several Omni-Gadgets, but the twist was that I had to make up flash cards with each of these gadgets (one per Power and Skill, essentially) and he would pull like 5 of them at random at the start of each game. Those were the "gimmicks" he had access to during that session. I don't think we even thought of Merry as a close parallel back then, though I don't think it would have deterred him. I like heroes who surprise you with new tricks every time you see them.

Who else? I'm gonna stay in the Golden Age for our next target, if you don't mind.



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