Lady Luck

Created by Will Eisner and Chuck Mazoujian

NAME + ALIASES:
Brenda Banks

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Bickford a.k.a. Bruce a.k.a. Fred J. Banks (father), unnamed mother, Gen. Banks (uncle)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS: None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
The Spirit Section,
2 June 1940

APPEARANCES:

  • The Spirit Section (June 2, 1940–Nov. 3, 1946 [#1-336 whole])
  • Smash Comics #42-85 (April 1943–Oct. 1949)
  • Lady Luck #86–90 (Dec. 1949–Aug. 1950)
  • Lady Luck #1-2 (1980), reprints published by Ken Pierce

+ History

Left: Cover of Lady Luck #86 (December 1949) . Right: Lady Luck was sometimes a “Good Girl.” From Smash #79 (1948).
Giraffe Tentoes, from Smash #81 (1949).
Art by Klaus Nordling.

Lady Luck was Quality’s first female costumed hero, and is owned by the estate of Will Eisner. Her strip began in the first edition of the Sunday Spirit Section on June 2, 1940. Chuck Mazoujian created Lady Luck’s look, upon a request from Eisner for a lady crime fighter, and he always signed the strip “Ford Davis.” Mazoujian said that he wrote the first two or three Lady Luck stories and after that, Toni Blum took over writing. He praised her writing: “Most of Toni’s stories were pretty interesting, so I didn’t have any urge to change them.” (Alter Ego #48) However, Will Eisner historian Cat Yronwode stated that Eisner created her but she was “never drawn or written by him.” She and Eisner credited Dick French with the writing. (Alter Ego #48, Lady Luck #2, 1980) Maurice Horn’s book also states that Eisner wrote the first few stories.

The availability of original “Lady Luck” stories is a bit spotty in comparison with other Quality heroes. “Lady Luck” was reprinted in Smash Comics, and in two volumes by Ken Pierce (1980). Collectively, these sources help us paint a fairly thorough portrait of the heroine. Lady Luck’s early adventures revolved around the socialite lives of Brenda Banks and her father, Bickford Banks (“Bruce” in Smash #69). Allotted only four pages per week, there wasn’t a lot of room for nuanced characterization.


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

DC

Lady Luck made an unexpected appearance in Phantom Stranger #6 (May 2013). This is strange because the character has always been owned (to anyone's knowledge) by the estate of Will Eisner. The story was written by DC's Editor in Chief, Dan DiDio. The digital edition does not include an indicia, so I'm unsure whether her ownership is mentioned.

lady luck
Lady Luck deals the devil's game in Phantom Stranger #6 (2013). Art by Zander Cannon, Gene Ha, and Dan Davis.

In this story, the Phantom Stranger ventures into Hell in search of his mortal family. He meets a group of card-playing demons—Belial, Suge and Ruskoff, all sons of Trigon. Their dealer is Lady Luck, an unspeaking and mysterious woman whose visage sometimes changes to suggest death. 

This is Lady Luck's only appearance in a DC comic. 

+ Powers

Lady Luck had no super-powers, but she carried a pistol, especially in her early adventures. She was a keen detective who relied on her wits and her mastery of jujutsu.