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Milton Caniff began Terry and the Pirates in 1934. It began as an action-adventure strip, with the young Terry and barrel-chested journaliast Pat Ryan seeking a gold mine that "belongs" to a relative of Terry's in the "Orient." They have myriad adventures, battling with and against numerous grotesque Asian stereotypes.
Most wonderful was the Dragon Lady, template for so many Western male fantasies. She was villain, at first, but also sexy and flirtatious and strong and wily. She even once taught Terry how to dance.
Caniff was inspired by books about women pirates. During WWII the Dragon Lady would become an ally, working against the Japanese.