Monday, March 17

Of Shamrock, Guinness, and St. Patrick's Day

I'm awfully busy on this St. Patrick's Day, but couldn't let the holiday pass without recognizing it in C&T fashion. What that means this year is putting the spotlight on one of Marvel's most identifiable Irish characters -- the lucky lass Shamrock.

Shamrock debuted during the 1982 limited series Contest of Champions (notable as Marvel's first limited series), in which powerful figures capture Earth's heroes and employ them in a personal game. Each contestant, the Grandmaster and an (at first) unknown hooded adversary, chose from among the gathered superheroes a team of 12 to seek hidden quarters of a golden globe.

The teams included international characters including Captain Britain, the Israeli Sabra, the Saudi Arabian Knight, the West German Blitzkrieg, the French Peregrine, the Canadian Sasquatch, and so on, along with more familiar American heroes. In this first appearance Shamrock was established to have probability-altering powers that gave her "good luck." That's not stereotypical or anything.

The 12 contestants for each side were split into teams of three, all of which included a powerhouse, a street-level brawler, and a character who could fly. As fate (and scripter Bill Mantlo) would have it, Shamrock paired off against.... C&T fave Captain America!

The "Struggle in the Jungle" begins in Contest of Champions #3, as Shamrock meets fellow pawns Collective Man, who is basically a low-rent communist version of Jamie Madrox, and Storm of the X-Men.

Not long into the contest, Shamrock encounters Captain America swinging through the trees in search of the prize they must seek, and makes her move. Ever the gentleman, Steve tries to save the mysterious lass from certain doom:


Cap and Shamrock sitting in a tree....

Given that the python in question is rougly the size of the one slaughtered by Conan the Barbarian, that's an appropriate reaction.

Soon after, Cap's teammate Blitzkrieg notes that they both have ongoing trouble with the female of the species:

Things are looking up, however, when Cap spots the prize!

But, much to Steve's despair, luck be a lady:

Although she defeated Cap that day, Shamrock soon left the superhero game. As real identity Molly Fitzgerald, she alternately went on to become an elementary school teacher, a superhero again, an unwitting assassin, and once her "luck" powers declined.... Europe's most sought-after hairdresser. Huh.

As you enjoy the holiday, just remember -- Shamrock's good luck may be hard to come by, but Guinness makes you strong. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Bonus mp3:

Tony Furtado Band - Oaktown Ceili (Irish Medley #2) [6-15-2001]
Tony Furtado Band - Irish Medley #3 [6-15-2001]
Tony Furtado Band - Irish Medley #4 [6-15-2001]

Huzzah for Tony Furtado!


Anonymous The Mild Mannered Secretary said...

What the hell? Her power of luck goes away and she becomes a hairdresser??

I hope none of her clients were ever told that while she was performing anything involving chemically altering one's hair.

Thanks for a good laugh!

4:31 PM

Blogger Rich said...


Take that, Vidal Sassoon.

4:33 PM

Blogger The Blot said...

Man, when I was a little kid I loved the Contest of Champions mini-series. Now the Contest of Champions II mini-series I could have seriously done without.

6:10 PM


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