John Romita’s early sketch for MS. MARVEL.
Mary Skrenes was Steve Gerber’s muse—the inspiration for Howard the Duck’s go-go dancing girlfriend, Beverly Switzler—and writing partner. Her sensibility was every bit as skewed as his. When Marvel asked her to take a crack at conceptualizing a superheroine with the name of Ms. Marvel, she turned in a proposal about Loretta Petta, a petite, dyslexic waitress who’d moved from a trailer park to the big city. “When she would get pissed—in the first issue, some- body robbed her diner—she would get super-adrenaline strength,” Skrenes recalled. “They didn’t want her to be tiny and dyslexic; they wanted her to be statuesque. Stan just didn’t like it.”
A different version of Ms. Marvel would eventually see the light of day, written by Gerry Conway: Carol Danvers, a security agent at Cape Kennedy Space Center, was a bystander during a battle between Captain Marvel and his Kree enemy; when an exploding piece of Kree technology radiated her, she gained the strength of ten men and “the knowledge and instincts of a Kree warrior.” She left her security job to edit WOMAN magazine for the DAILY BUGLE’s J. Jonah Jameson.
(Text from the forthcoming MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY;