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Red Tornado Prologue: Ma Hunkle

When I told two of my friends that my next series would feature Red Tornado, both of them started to ask, "Are you going to..." I cut them off and said, "Of course, of course... I know what you're talking about."

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Do you? Do you know that the first Red Tornado was a crime-fighting mother whose super power was cooking a meal large enough to feed the Justice Society of America? Well, it was, and before I can talk about my favorite red android, we absolutely must meet... Ma Hunkel...

Title: All-American Comics #3

Cover Date: June 1939

Sale Date: April 25, 1939

Writer: Sheldon Mayer

Artist: Sheldon Mayer

Editor: Maxwell Charles Gaines

 

Abigail “Ma” Hunkel debuted in All-American Comics #3 as a supporting character for Scribbly, the Boy Cartoonist. When Huey Hunkel taunts Scribbly Jibbet…

Then, when a neighborhood bully takes Sisty’s (Huey’s sister) doll and his father castigates the young girl…

 

Title: All-American Comics #20

Cover Date: November 1940

Sale Date: September 19, 1940

Writer: Sheldon Mayer

Artist: Sheldon Mayer

Editor: Maxwell Charles Gaines

 

In All-American Comics #20, when Sisty and her friend, Dinky (Scribbly’s brother), are kidnapped by a gang of racketeers, Ma Hunkel is frustrated by the attitude of the police. Scribbly says…

I betcha if th’ Green Lantern wus on th’ job we’d have th’ kids back in a minute!

Then…

Later, a mysterious figure comes to the rescue of Sisty and Dinky..

 

Title: All-American Comics #21

Cover Date: December 1940

Sale Date: October 22, 1940

Writer: Sheldon Mayer

Artist: Sheldon Mayer

Editor: Maxwell Charles Gaines

 

In All-American Comics #21, the police want to take responsibility for the children’s rescue, but…

As if we didn’t suspect it, the final panel tells us that the Red Tornado is indeed Ma Hunkel…

 

The character was a hit, and in All-American Comics #23 (Feb. 1941), the Red Tornado (Ma Hunkel) began sharing top billing with Scribbly…

So popular was the character that she also appeared in the very first meeting of the Justice Society of America in All-Star Comics #3…

She missed her chance to join the JSA since she tore the seat of her long johns climbing into the building, but she continued to make appearances in their adventures and was eventually made an honorary member.

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In All-American Comics #24 (March 1941), Dinky and Sisty became "the Cyclone Twins," sidekicks to the Red Tornado…

For perspective, All-American Comics #24 was sold in good company. At the time it hit the stands, so did Action Comics #34, Adventure Comics #60, Detective Comics #49, More Fun Comics #65, and Flash Comics #15.

This version of the Red Tornado appeared with Scribbly in All-American Comics through #59 (July 1944) and in an undetermined number of adventures with the Justice Society of America.

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Ma Hunkel's legacy is not forgotten. Post-Crisis, she was revived in JSA #55 (February 2004.) Emerging from the Witness Protection Program, where she’d been since 1950, she became caretaker of the team’s headquarters.

Ma Hunkel’s daughter and the son-in-law formerly known as “Dinky,” returned in the pages of Young Justice. Her granddaughter, Maxine, joined the JSA in Justice Society of America #1 (February 2007) and in #3 became known as Cyclone.

Now that you know who “Cyclone” is supposed to be, you’re prepared to see the Black Adam movie when it’s released in October (2022.)

However, are you prepared for who you might call the “real” Red Tornado? I hope so, because his/its series shifts into full gear next week!

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