20 most upbeat superhero stories

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Cover of Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #1 (Image via Marvel

5. Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!

Now, if you’re looking for superheroes that have undergone a serious transformation, then Patsy Walker is your girl. Believe it or not, she actually started out as a character in a series of successful teen humor comics for twenty years. When Patsy finally graduated from high school, her title transitioned into a working-girl romance sort of story.

It wasn’t until 1975, however, that anyone raised the idea of Patsy Walker as a superhero in Amazing Adventures vol. 2, #13. She started hanging out with none other than the Avengers, where she eventually took on a passed-down suit and the name “Hellcat”.

What follows is a lot of standard comic book villain-fighting and cosmic adventuring. Patsy even manages to marry Daimon Hellstrom, the actual son of actual Satan. Eventually, that means she dies and becomes trapped in Hell as a psychic gladiator. You know, standard superhero stuff.

But, none of that is the most upbeat subject matter in Patsy Walker’s canon. Instead, you’re best off tracking down her appearances, first in She-Hulk’s recent title series and, eventually, Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! takes our hero back to her earlier roots. A down on her luck Patsy is unfortunately fired by her friend, She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters. She is now job searching in New York City. Patsy also has to dodge both superhuman villains and her own mother, who has decided to resurrect the awkward romance comics of Patsy’s childhood.

All of this drama turns out to be great fun in the hands of writer Kate Leth and artist Brittney Williams. They’ve created a warm, funny superhero story that’s sure to take the edge off the more grim offerings from Marvel. Though the series was canceled after its 17th issue, that’s more than enough for a few reading sessions.