The Dragon Lady


Also found in: Acronyms.
Enlarge picture
Dragon Lady. From Terry and the Pirates #3 © 1947 Harvey Comics. ART BY MILTON CANIFF.

The Dragon Lady

(pop culture)
T erry and the Pirates,Milton Caniff's popular and long-running adventure comic strip that debuted in the Chicago Tribune in 1934, is host to many villainous threats, most notably a femme fatale bar none, the Dragon Lady. The strip was based on “wide-awake American boy” Terry Lee and his adult sidekick, “twofisted adventurer” journalist Pat Ryan, who arrive in China in search of a mine that had belonged to Terry's grandfather. Accompanied by their interpreter and guide “Connie,” the duo embark on various misadventures throughout the vast Far East. The Dragon Lady, the head of a band of pirates who operate along China's coast, has been called one of comics' all-time greatest female villains. Fans of the strip immediately recognize the complex and unpredictable relationship the Asian temptress held with the strip's hero. In true fiendish fashion, the exotic bombshell attempted to murder Terry—but she often seduced him, humiliated him, attempted to outwit him, and, interestingly, helped him through the trials and tribulations of puberty. Although the Dragon Lady joined other villains as a stereotypical Asian foil, other references more accurately reflect America's emergence in World War II. Prohibited by the Tribune syndicate from mentioning the Japanese by name, Caniff referred to them as “the invaders,” and they soon became the strip's formidable foes. An overtly patriotic Terry joined the U.S. Army, and the Dragon Lady and her pirates were depicted as Chinese guerillas. The popularity of the strip's exotic characters led to a weekly radio show of the same name, running intermittently from 1937 to 1948, with Agnes Moorehead voicing the show's first Dragon Lady. The Terry and the Pirates movie serial was released in 1940, with Sheila Darcy as the Dragon Lady. The 1952 live-action television series featured Gloria Saunders in the Dragon Lady's role. During this period, Whitman Publishing's Little Big Books published a book line based on the characters, and Dell and Charlton both published comic books. Caniff left the strip in December 1946, but it continued under the creative hand of Associated Press artist George Wunder for another twenty-seven years. In 1986, when graphic-novel publisher NBM's “Flying Buttress” imprint published a twelve-volume set of the comic strip, Caniff's Terry became the first major run of an American strip reprinted in its entirety in book form. In 1995, along with several other newspaper comics, Terry was featured in a commemorative series of U.S. postage stamps, forever solidifying the strip—and its heroes and villains—in popular culture.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is from her roles on the black-and-white screen that people take images of the Dragon Lady.
As the mobile, it is also Ellis' responsibility to sit in on mission briefings and to perform the pre- and post-flight inspection on the Dragon Lady.
I think having someone call me the Dragon Lady didn't faze me at all because my family had prepared me, in a way.
Through sheer force of character she was the virtual ruler of China for almost fifty years, and in later life people nicknamed her Old Buddha or the Dragon Lady.
If they accept that the Dragon Lady means every word, they will conclude that there is no future for people like them in regulated financial services.
And for those inclined to the dragon lady look, they can also be very, very long.
well, perhaps even of the Empress XiXi the Dragon Lady who spent China's entire navy budget building her Summer Palace lake with a great marble boat in winter you can walk on the ice around it watching where other tourists far out on the lake are whirled around on sleds like babies in prams while the faultlines in the ice boom through your legs like guns
It is here that Alexis Carlson, affectionately known as the Dragon Lady, shows her K-6 students that with computers they can perform magin every day.
He found fame and 30 million readers with Terry and the Pirates (1934-1946), a strip drawn for the Chicago Tribune-New York Daily News Syndicate and remembered especially for Terry's encounters with the Dragon Lady, beautiful, seductively cunning, and Chinese.
He did the calculations, and the Dragon Lady was satisfied.