Casino Royale Contributor on Thrilling Comics Woman in Red, at Auction
Woman in Red artist co-creator George Mandel had become a novelist by the 1950s, and worked on a script draft of 1967 Bond film Casino Royale
The Woman in Red first appeared in Thrilling Comics #2 (cover-dated March 1940) from publisher Standard/Better Nedor. Created by writer Richard E. Hughes and artist George Mandel, the character is considered one of the earliest female superheroes, with her first appearance Thrilling Comics #2 released over a year and a half before the debut of Wonder Woman in All-Star Comics #8. Interestingly, co-creator Mandel would become much better known as an important novelist of the 1950s and 1960s, and also contributed to an early script draft of 1967 Bond film Casino Royale. This copy of Thrilling Comics #2, graded CGC VG 4.0 Cream to off-white pages, is up for auction in the 2023 February 23 The Thrillingly Exciting Heroes of Nedor Comics Showcase Auction #40219 at Heritage Auctions. There are several other issues of Thrilling Comics featuring the character available as well.
The character was an undercover police officer named Peggy Allen who assumed the persona of the Woman in Red to hide her identity on special assignments. She did not have superpowers, but was an outstanding detective and shown to have advanced scientific knowledge as well. The character appeared in numerous issues of Thrilling Comics, and the first two issues of America's Best Comics.
George Mandel (1920-2021) was a cartoonist, editor and author. He is best remembered for his 1952 book Flee the Angry Strangers, considered an early example of a Beat Movement novel, and Mandel is also regarded as a mentor to several early Beat Generation authors via editing anthologies of their work. He was briefly credited as a Mad magazine contributor in the late 1950s. As a comic book artist, Mandel contributed to publishers including Standard/Better/Nedor, Novelty/Premium/Curtis, MLJ, Marvel, Harvey, Ace Periodicals, Lev Gleason and Charlton during the early Golden Age. Mandel also contributed to an early draft of 1967 Bond film Casino Royale, via his longtime association with Catch-22 author Joseph Heller.
Heller had been brought in by producer Charles K. Fledman, after the death of screenwriter Ben Hecht. Heller in turn brought in his longtime friend Mandel. They had previously collaborated on at least one play together in 1952, and in 1963 Heller wrote a screenplay for Mandel's book The Breakwater, which was intended as a Tony Curtis vehicle. The script apparently went unproduced, with Heller ultimately providing the script for the 1964 Tony Curtis-starring film Sex and the Single Girl. According to author Jeremy Duns, who has examined the existing Heller/Mandel treatment, many rewrites later some glimpses of that early draft made it to the finished film, but the final product was dramatically changed. IMDB lists four credited and seven uncredited writing credits for the film.
Interestingly, the Woman in Red,occasionally used Bond-like gadgetry, such as a "tear-gas fountain pen" in Thrilling Comics #4, and special bullets capable of pentrating bullet proof vests in Thrilling Comics #5. This copy of Thrilling Comics #2 graded CGC VG 4.0 Cream to off-white pages, is up for auction in the 2023 February 23 The Thrillingly Exciting Heroes of Nedor Comics Showcase Auction #40219 at Heritage Auctions. Prospective bidders who are new to Heritage Auctions to check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.