Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
Tomboy: say her name and the underworld trembles!

Tomboy: say her name and the underworld trembles!

To most people, Janie Jackson is an unremarkable tween girl. “A perfect little lady,” sweet but shy, maybe a little on the timid side.

To readers of Captain Flash in 1954, she was far more. Whenever crime rears its ugly head, Janie Jackson turns into her other identity, Tomboy, and woe to the forces of evil! Wonder why those hoodlums look so concerned? Well take a look at Tomboy in action.

Or take a look at her first appearance, overcoming a gunman holding off the entire police force.Later in that debut story, archfoe the Claw has her thrown out of an airplane. Not a problem for Tomboy!The Claw figures Tomboy’s obvious death (all together: “Dumbass!”) means he can firebomb the waterfront without interference. Instead, Tomboy closes the bomb bay doors and the entire gang burns to death in the plane. The Punisher only wishes he was this hardcore.I encountered Tomboy in Men of Mystery 45, one of a series of collections showcasing public-domain superheroes, or in this case superheroines. It included Tomboy’s origin alongside such less memorable characters as Pat Patriot, Miss USA and multiple Fiction House jungle queens (having struck gold with Sheena, Fiction House went back to that well repeatedly). Though “origin” isn’t the right word. Like a lot of older characters she doesn’t get one. We never learn how she got “her trained body” or who trained her, or why she fights crime, other than Dad being a cop.

It’s a little surprising given that Captain Flash gets an origin in #1 (you can read all four issues online here). Then again, what possible origin could explain a young girl without super-powers tearing into the underworld like the Dark Knight himself? Better to just roll with it.

When I mentioned the story in an online comics group, a couple of members said Tomboy isn’t as obscure as I thought, turning up in the book Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen for instance. So possibly y’all already know everything I’ve said here. But if not, you do now.



  1. Edo Bosnar

    Never heard of Tomboy, but now you’ve got me intrigued. And now that I’ve downloaded a few of those files, I see that the main Captain Flash features – with all of that art by Mike Sekowsky – look interesting as well.

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