1.  Madame Fatal holds the distinction of being the first male cross-dressing hero in comics.  (Mainstream comics, at least.) crack1

2.  She first appeared in Quality Comics’ Crack Comics #1 (May, 1940).

3.   The Madame may sound like a femme fatale, but the character instead appeared as an elderly woman who couldn’t do anybody harm.  (Book by its cover, y’know.)

4.  In reality, the Madame was a (supposedly straight) actor/millionaire named Richard Stanton.  His daughter was kidnapped and his wife subsequently died of grief; when the police couldn’t locate the killer, he assumed this unassuming disguise and tracked down the kidnapper himself.

5.  Unfortunately, the kidnapper had passed the daughter onto another villain and the Madame spent her  career fruitlessly trying to track her down.

6.  This may come as a surprise, but the Madame is not held in especially high esteem among aficionados; Cracked.com even voted her #7 on their list of “crappiest comic superheroes.”

7.  On occasion, Madame Fatal was helped by Stanton’s pet parrot, Hamlet, who could recite Shakespeare; he would inadvertently repeat something which just happened to give the Madame the clue she was looking for.  (Sure, they let dogs on the police force, but parrots?  No!!!)

8.  The Madame was no pushover; Stanton may have made her look weak and non-threatening, but he was at his “physical peak” and could thrash any number of do-badders.   (Next time be nice to that old lady toddling across the street.)

9.  Amazingly, she lasted through 22 issues of Crack Comics.  (The Golden Age of comics is full of surprises.)

10.  DC Comics bought all the Quality Comics stable in 1956, including Madame Fatal, but they never really made use of her.  But it might be interesting to see what they would do with the character now…