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Cutey Bunny

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Army Surplus Komikz #1 © 1982 Joshua Quagmire. COVER ART BY JOSHUA QUAGMIRE.


In The Great Women Superheroes (1996), historian and comic-book artist Trina Robbins commented on the uniqueness of heroines who grace the pages of self-published comics. The superheroines who emerge from the pages of these small-press comics tend to be more original than the bad girl clones or the superteam members put out by larger publishers.


Nothing could be truer for Cutey Bunny. Writer and artist Joshua Quagmire introduced the world's first African-American rabbit superheroine, whose name is a parody of the Japanese manga heroine Cutey Honey, in 1982, when she made her debut in Quagmire's self-published Army Surplus Komikz #1. Cutey Bunny is really Kelly O'Hare, a tough-talking army colonel who works as a military recruiter. After stumbling upon an ancient Egyptian amulet, she is magically transformed into the flying super-rabbit. Her mentor is the Egyptian solar deity Ra-Harahkte, who gives the hero her Solar Scarab amulet, which funnels his solar energy, giving her the powers of superstrength and flight. He also acts as general checker-upper on the crime-busting cottontail, who distains the god's interference in her superhero career. Her signature expression: Gosharooty (second only to Jeepers and Golly wolly).


Bunny is the queen of superhero costumes. She originally had three different outfits encoded in her amulet: An Aunt Samantha superpatriot outfit made of revealing stars and stripes; a Roller Bunny outfit, complete with motorized skates; and a Rocket Bunny space suit accessorized by rockets, a protective force shield, and ample supply of oxygen. None of these were acceptable to the ever-serious Ra, who promptly converted them to an Egyptian get-up by issue #4, which Bunny dismissed in favor of her standard leotard, headdress, boots, and white vest. In body-flattering attire, Bunny battled all sorts of comical supervillains during her short-lived run, including the sinister super-spy fox Vicky and the X-Critters (Cycat, Vermin, Zephyr, Clummox, and Night Toddler), ending her day in her downtown Peoria apartment.


Described in a May 1983 issue of The Comics Journal as containing a good, irreverent sense of comics history, with numerous in-jokes, catchphrases, and cameo appearances, Cutey Bunny drew a cult fan base that appreciated Quagmire's unique take on the funny-animal genre. —GM

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