Grapplers (comics)

Grapplers
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Marvel Two-in-One #54 (Aug 1979)
Created by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, and John Byrne
In-story information
Type of business Professional wrestling
Owner(s) Auntie Freeze
Employee(s) Battleaxe
Butterball
Cowgirl
Gladiatrix
Magilla
Poundcakes
Sushi
Vavavoom

The Grapplers are a fictional organization in the Marvel Comics universe. It was a loosely-organized band of female wrestlers, most of whom gained superhuman strength after their first published appearances, through the group known as Power Broker, Inc.

Contents

Publication history

The Grapplers first appeared in Marvel Two-in-One #54-56 (August-October 1979), and were created by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, and John Byrne.

The team subsequently appears in Dazzler #13 (March 1982), Marvel Two-in-One #96 (February 1983), Thing #33 (March 1986), #35-36 (May-June 1986), Captain America #389-391 (August-September 1991), and Thunderbolts #21 (December 1998).

The Grapplers received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #5.

History

The original four Grapplers were initially drafted by the Roxxon Oil Company to invade Project: Pegasus, along with Thundra. They were given specially designed costumes to heighten their formidable prowess at physical combat. However, Quasar and Giant-Man eventually defeated the quartet and gave them over to authorities.

They later attacked Dazzler while they were all incarcerated at Ryker's Island in attempt to get vengeance after the Klaw's seeming death at her hands. After getting beaten to near death, Dazzler was able to defeat the Grapplers with a light blast.

The Grapplers then escaped prison and planned to attack the Thing with several other super-villains, though the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and various other super-heroes foiled their plans. The Grapplers decided to halt their illegal activities and become legitimate wrestlers. They soon branched out, and several new members joined their ranks. Soon after, Titania was slain by the Scourge of the Underworld. Investigating her death, Letha also soon met her demise at the Scourge's hands. Screaming Mimi later joined the Thunderbolts, while Poundcakes became a freelance mercenary.

Letha and Titania were resurrected years later by the Hood, alongside several other victims of the Scourge.[1]

The Grapplers then resurfaced, consisting of Letha, Titania (now called Lascivious), Poundcakes, and a new Screaming Mimi. Together, they battled their old teammate Songbird, but were defeated and arrested.[2]

Original members

The original line-up bears superficial resemblance to the Female Furies, from Jack Kirby's New Gods.

Titania

Titania (Davida DeVito) was the field leader of the original Grapplers. She wielded an energy rod which enabled her to blast long-range bursts. When the Grapplers were imprisoned, Titania became the leader of the women's wing. While she was crafty, she was also a very sore loser, and the other Grapplers were worried for their reputation after Titania's defeat at the hands of Battleaxe. After the Grapplers attempted to go legitimate as professional wrestlers, Titania was killed by the Scourge of the Underworld posing as a new recruit, Golddigger. She is not to be confused with the more recent Titania, who took her name around the time of her death. Titania, along with Letha, was revived by The Hood during Dark Reign, taking on the new name Lascivious.

Letha

Letha (Hellen Feliciano) was a blonde bombshell who specialized in acrobatic wrestling. She also used specialized leather belts and straps, though she most often battle in hand-to-hand combat. While the other Grapplers were notable for their strong, feminist personalities, Letha instead had a very feminine personality, often flirting with the enemies or showing concern over fashion. After Titania was slain by the Scourge of the Underworld, Letha joined Firebrand and several other super-villains as they plotted a way to stop the vigilante. However, Letha and the others were soon shot to death by the Scourge themselves. Letha, along with Titania, was revived by The Hood during Dark Reign.

Poundcakes

Poundcakes (Marian Pouncy) is an ex-convict who joined the Grapplers despite her record. She was given seismic boots by Roxxon, which enables her to create shockwaves and tremors by stomping the ground. Slightly overweight, Poundcakes was the strongest member of the Grapplers. After Titania and Letha had been killed by the Scourge of the Underworld, Poundcakes became a freelance mercenary. She battled Captain America several times and eventually joined the Femizons, though her stay with Superia was short-lived. Poundcakes then proceeded to return to her extortion gig, selling contraband to Atlantean forces. She was later apprehended by the Avengers. Most recently, she has been seen in The Bar With No Name, with several other villains.

Screaming Mimi

Screaming Mimi (Mimi Schwartz/Melissa Gold) met Poundcakes in prison and soon after, was invited to join the Grapplers. Roxxon operated on Screaming Mimi's vocal cords, giving her the ability to drive a person to insanity with her screams. The only Grappler who is not capable of superhuman strength, Screaming Mimi proved useful on several missions. Soon after Titania and Letha were killed, Screaming Mimi joined the Masters of Evil and eventually turned over a new leaf, calling herself Songbird and joining the Thunderbolts.

Later recruits

Auntie Freeze

Auntie Freeze (Ann Fraley) is formerly a professional wrestler and the founder of the Grapplers. Each of the four original Grapplers were protégés of Auntie Freeze, and despite her promotion, the Grapplers were unable to gain popularity. She was then contacted by Roxxon, who fitted the four girls to become mercenaries. She later came up with the idea to merge with the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation and have the girls become legitimate wrestlers to put their past behind them, though the original four did not stick with the idea.

Battleaxe

Battleaxe (Anita Ehren) is wrestler who uses a pair of axes as her weapon of choice. Among the new recruits, Battleaxe was the only one to succeed in defeating an original member of the Grapplers, Titania. After Titania's murder, Battleaxe blamed the Thing and later battled him in the ring herself. She defeated him, but discovered he allowed her to win and she declared the battle void. Later, she joined the Femizons and battled Captain America, as well as the BAD Girls, Inc.. Most recently, she was seen battling Ms. Marvel, though she was quickly defeated.

Butterball

Butterball (Vivian Dolan) is an overweight wrestler who uses her massive body as a weapon. Her favorite move is to bodyslam her opponents. Presumably, she continues to wrestle with the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. He first appeared in The Thing vol. 1 #33 (March 1986), and was created by Mike Carlin and Ron Wilson.

Dolan was a normal woman until given superhuman abilities by the Power Broker. She became known as Butterball and joined the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. There, she met Auntie Freeze, who introduced Butterball to the Grapplers. As a member of the Grapplers, Butterball witnessed and participated in several fierce competitions. After Titania's defeat by Battleaxe, Butterball tried to calm her enraged teammate. Soon after, Titania was shot to death by Scourge. Suspecting the Thing, Butterball and the others immediately attacked. Butterball used her favorite move on him, which involved slamming her whole body into his torso. Sharon Ventura soon intervened, and cleared the Thing of any suspection, though the killer was still at large. Butterball is presumably still working with the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, though the Grapplers have since disbanded.

Butterball has superhuman strength and durability. In battle, she uses her enormous body as a weapon, throwing herself at her opponents.

Cowgirl

Cowgirl (Deb Lowry) is a cowboy-themed wrestler. She briefly participated in the battle with the Thing, and presumably continues to wrestle with the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. She first appeared in The Thing vol. 1 #33 (March 1986), and was created by Mike Carlin and Ron Wilson.

Lowry was given superhuman abilities by the Power Broker. Entering the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, she was trained by Auntie Freeze and given membership to the Grapplers. She witnessed Titania's defeat against Battleaxe, and was among the several women who tried to calm her down. After the Thing was accused of killing Titania minutes later, Cowgirl joined her teammates in assaulting him. However, they were soon stopped by Sharon Ventura, who cleared the Thing of any suspicion. It is presumed Cowgirl continues to work with the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation.

Cowgirl has superhuman strength and durability.

Gladiatrix

Gladiatrix (Robbin Braxton) is a professional wrestler. Unlike the other new recruits, Gladiatrix chose to use her massive strength for the good of mankind, though she did serve briefly as an agent of Superia's Femizons. She participated in the Civil War and was commended for her duties as a super-hero. At one point, she tried to join the Avengers, but was inevitably rejected.

Magilla

Magilla (Sandy Stalmaster) is a wrestler who is notable for her excess body hair. She participated in the battle with the Thing, and later joined in the battle with Sharon Ventura after the Power Broker told the wrestlers they would die without their medicine. She presumably continues to wrestle with the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation.

Sushi

Sushi (Susan Hayakawa) is a Japanese wrestler who presumably uses Karate as her fighting style. She briefly battled the Thing alongside the other Grapplers.

Vavavoom

Vavavoom (Dawn Middlebury) is a wrestler known for her beauty. While the other Grapplers are known for their muscles, Vavavoom is quite petite and the most conventionally attractive of the group.

References

  1. ^ Punisher #5
  2. ^ Women of Marvel #2

External links


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