The Gimmick Girl + Gimmix
Created by Otto Binder and Winslow Mortimer
NAME + ALIASES:
Meredith "Merry" Creamer Pemberton
"Flyfoot" Craemer (father, deceased), Henry King (Brain Wave, ex-husband, deceased), Henry King, Jr. (Brainwave II, son), Jacqueline (daughter, deceased), Sylvester Sr. and Gloria Pemberton (adoptive parents, deceased), Sylvester Pemberton Jr. (Skyman, adoptive brother, deceased)
As Merry: Star Spangled Comics #81 (June 1948)
In costume: Star Spangled Comics #82 (July 1948)
Merry first appeared as the adoptive sister of the Star-Spangled Kid, but quickly ousted him from his feature in Star Spangled Comics with issue #84 (Sept. 1948). The character faded into obscurity until 1984 when Roy Thomas cast her as the mother of his new legacy hero, Brainwave Jr. (Infinity, Inc. #3).
After noticing a wound on Sylvester's forehead, Mr. Pemberton sent his son to a psychoanalyst. The professional concluded that it would be best if he had a sibling, and perhaps they could adopt one! Away to the orphanage they went and returned with Merry Craemer, the new addition to the family. She cramped Sylvester's (and the Kid's) style, being ever-present.
When the adoption notice hit the papers, some crooks recognized her as the daughter of "Flyfoot" Craemer, a "human fly" acrobat. Some blackmailers attempted to coerce Flyfoot into using Merry for ransom, but her father defied them and took a fatal bullet for her in the end. Later, Merry deduced that her adopted brother was the Star-Spangled Kid. (#81)
When the Star Spangled Kid garnered the ire of the Great Presto, Merry was eager to help round him up. Sylvester refused her, so she adopted her own costume and trailed after them. Although she was captured, she managed to tamper with the villain's trick guns so that when the Kid caught up to him, they were ineffective. (#82)
In Star's next adventure, he and Stripesy were pursuing the Rope and Pat fell several stories to the street, breaking his leg. Sylvester went out again that night and Merry followed him, and dazzled the villain into submission with tricks of her own invention, like the wind siren, a punching jack-in-the-box, and chemical bubbles. (#83)
The conclusion of the story promised that next time, "Merry sets out to scoop the Star-Spangled Kid." In fact Merry took over Star-Spangled Kid's strip with Star Spangled Comics #84 (Sept. 1948); Stripesy's last Golden Age appearance was #83, and Sylvester bid adieu in the introduction of #84, setting off on a deep-sea fishing trip with his father (which was "not for a girl"). On her own, Merry handily defeated the Rope again. (#84)
The next episode was subtitled "featuring Merry the Girl with 1,000 Gimmicks!" and found her on vacation at a dude ranch. She made quick friends with movie actor cowboy Hal Henty, whose star horse was the target of kidnappers. She took them down using balloons to distract them, but gave the credit to Henty in the end. (#85)
Her tour of the West continued with her father as chaperon, but Merry went off on her own and met Little Fawn, a Navajo girl adept with a bow and arrow. Merry helped defend her family from greedy cattle ranchers. (#86) In issue #87 the title of the strip changed to just "Merry" and it made no effort to include the Star-Spangled Kid, though Sylvester Pemberton Sr. was still present. She foiled the Three Daredevils (#87), pink Martians (#89), and in her final adventure, the Gimmick Guy (#90)
In one particularly odd case involved William, a girl who was forced to live as a boy by her grandfather! He forbade her to wear dresses and enrolled her an an all-boys academy. Things were righted by Merry, who stopped William's vengeful brother and encouraged William to don her grandmother's dress, making her grandfather soften towards her. (#88) Note: Some accounts spell her name "Mary" which is incorrect.
Merry was reputed to have shared one Golden Age adventure with the Justice Society. (Starman v.2 #62)
At some point after 1949, under unknown circumstances, Merry fell in love with — the JSA's arch foe called the Brain Wave. She was instrumental in his reformation and they were married. Their union (and his reformation) were unsuccessful. Merry allegedly suffered a "complete mental breakdown." (Young Justice #16) She abandoned her children Jacqueline and Henry Jr., and was believed to have committed suicide. In truth, she remained underground for decades.
Merry herself eventually resurfaced as a member of Old Justice. This group was created by a subcommittee led by U.S. Senator Neptune Perkins (D-Hawaii, a teen super-hero himself). Their mission was to address concerns about the dangers of adventuring and teenage metahumans. He recruited Merry in their mission but in truth, Old Justice had been manipulated into creating chaos among metahumans by ex-wife of Lex Luthor, the Contessa. (Young Justice #16-19)
The magician called Klarion cast a spell to reverse all the heroes' ages, and Merry joined her brother's successor, Courtney Whitmore, Stargirl. (Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1) To try to reverse the spell, Merry and Doiby Dickles headed to the planet Myrg (in a spaceship designed by Pat Dugan), where they hoped to acquire a "de-aging gun." It was not a smooth ride; they were joined by the now-adult "Starwoman" and the Junior JSA. Merry accused Courtney of stealing her brother's (the Star-Spangled Kid's) cosmic converter belt. (Sins of Youth: Starwoman and the Junior JSA #1)
The got the gun but it failed to reverse Klarion's spell. In the end, Klarion agreed to reverse is age spell when he was betrayed by his partner, the Contessa. Afterwards, the members of Old Justice conceded that heroes both young and old were responsible for their own actions. (Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1)
After her son Henry (Brainwave) was ravaged by the Ultra-Humanite and Mister Mind, she finally revealed herself and stepped in to care for her son. (Hawkman v.4 #25)
Merry's previously-unknown daughter, Jacqueline, surfaced saying she'd been estranged from her mother as well. She had red hair and made several references to meetings with other Golden Age heroes. Though she appeared young, though her purported age of 26 was questionable. "Jackie" took to adventuring as Gimmix; she liked to attend super-hero conventions, and joined up with the Vigilante's newest band of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. She was slaughtered along with all its members by the ancient Sheeda race, after defeating the Miracle Mesa Monster. (Seven Soldiers #0, Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #2)
Merry invented a battery of her own weapons including wire web, bolo-type octopus, a bulletproof catcher's mitt, a spark gun, squirt gun, rocket firecrackers, pocket net, a wind siren, a punching jack-in-the-box and extending mule-kick, and balloons and chemical bubbles.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- Star Spangled Comics #81-90 (1948–49)
- Starman v.2 #62
- Young Justice #16–20
- Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1–2
- Star Spangled Comics #81-90 (June 1948–Mar. 1949)