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April Kane and the Dragon Lady by Milton…

April Kane and the Dragon Lady (1942)

by Milton Caniff

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This reviewer appears to know more about 'Terry and the Pirates' than I ever have. http://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com/2007/05/april-kane-and-dragon-lady.html

I can believe that this story is an adaptation of an adventure published earlier in the comic strip because this book came out after the USA entered World War II, but the Japanese characters never have their nationality named. I admit that my first assumption was that 'the Invader' meant British and Americans and what they/we did to China.

April Kane's admiration of the Dragon Lady is understandable. She's smart, brave, loyal to her people, a patriot, and competent. On the other hand, the Dragon Lady is not inclined to be merciful to her enemies, The reason she fears Big Stoop casts a cruel light on her character. The conversation she has with Pat Ryan regarding saving the women and children annoyed me because she didn't mention the children at all in her reply. Lack of selfishness? Dragon Lady, a mother who would rather die with her man than live to rear their children strikes me as pretty darn selfish. (Yeah, I'm thinking of you, Padme Amidala!)

There's plenty of adventure, danger, death-defying feats, near-escapes, and thrills to entertain the reader, although the racisim is a drawback. I'm glad that at least one of the villains isn't Asian and he is a monster. I wish that Pat and Terry's brave and loyal male Chinese employee and friend didn't have 'Connie' for a nickname. I could do without his somewhat comic appearance, too. Still, it's a pretty good read. I wouldn't mind seeing the original story.

Tucked away in my copy is a 1990 Gasoline Alley Sunday strip in which Uncle Walt remembers some comic strip women he found attractive over the years. The Dragon Lady was the only one who got a panel to herself. After reading this book, I'm not surprised. ( )
  JalenV | Apr 27, 2012 |
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What drew them all together was a letter.
He stared open-mouthed at the pointed face, the long, sleek black hair, the slanting eyes, the small mouth.

'Wh-wh--!' he spluttered. 'YOU?'

The ghost of a smile, a mirthless smile, twisted the corners of the woman's mouth.

' The Dragon Lady ,' she said in the low, musical voice Terry well remembered, 'is grateful.' (chapter one)
[Pat Ryan suggests that perhaps April and the women and children among the Dragon Lady's followers might be slipped away from the mortal danger they're all in. She shakes her head.]

'Perhaps, Handsome One,' she said slowly, 'but you forget one thing.'

'What's that?'

'The Chinese woman's man is her life! If the man is doomed, she considers it high honor to share his greatest adventure. Our women are simply not well enough educated to be selfish!' (chapter eleven)
'Is Mist' Deeth Clispin Number T'ree!' he told Big Stoop, the towering one who stood at his side. 'Connie know face from picture in newsypaper!' Connie's voice sank to a whisper. 'Him act secret -- like aflaid of guards!' (chapter fourteen)
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