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Real Name: Bertha; last name unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human;
    citizen of the United States of America

Occupation: Ticket seller at the Gem Theater 

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Iron Fist (Daniel Rand), Dave "D.W." Griffith, Max Griffith, Mimi Jenks, Misty Knight, Mangler, Power Man (Luke Cage), Power Man (Erik Josten), Jennie Royce, Mr. Snifkins, Claire Temple, Thunderbolt (William Carver)

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Gem Movie Theater on West 42nd Street in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan, New York

First Appearance: Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#2 (August, 1972)

Powers/Abilities: Bertha possesses no known superhuman abilities. A determined, seemingly unflappable woman, Bertha doesn't bat an eye when confronted with superhuman fights Cage got indirectly involved in during his stay at the Gem Theater. Bertha has an obvious fondness for candy and tawdry romance novels and often indulges in both vices during work hours.

Height: 5'5" (by approximation)
Weight: 190 lbs. (by approximation; her weight may have fluctuated between 130-230 lbs.)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

(Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#2 (fb) - BTS) - At an unrevealed point, Bertha started working at the Gem Movie Theater on West Forty-Second Street in the heart of Times Square. She was hired by the theater's owner Max Griffith to operate the ticket booth and also met his nephew, aspiring movie director Dave "D.W." Griffith.

(Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#2) - Bertha wasn't too impressed when Luke Cage showed up at her booth, inquiring about the office space for rent above the theater. Looking up from the romance novel she was reading, she directed Luke, who she called "hon" and "dearie," to the theater manager's office on the third floor, telling him to make sure to mention Bertha had sent him.

(Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#10 - BTS) - Manning her booth, Bertha noticed that four unsavory looking men had gone up to Power Man's offices and stayed there, even though Cage was out.

(Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#10) - Correctly suspecting their presence would lead to trouble, Bertha immediately rushed out of her booth when Cage returned to the Gem later that evening. Bertha quickly filled Luke in, who thanked her for keeping an eye out for him.

(Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#14 - BTS) - When Luke's girlfriend, Dr. Claire Temple, came to the Gem Theater looking for Power Man, Bertha bluntly told her she'd seen him leave with Mimi Jenks, a former fling of his. This upset Claire more than she let on.

(Power Man I#17) - Hoping to clear his head, Power Man decided to head into town. As he left the Gem, he asked Bertha to tell anyone who might come and ask for him that he was out to the island on business for the rest of the night. Not even  looking up from her romance rag and while putting another piece of candy in her mouth, Bertha told him she'd do that. Watching him walk away, she added "though why anyone'd be looking for you while I'm around... That, I'll never know."

(Power Man I#21) - Without giving it a second thought, Berta sold a ticket to Erik Josten who had come to the Gem Theater to challenge Luke Cage for the right to use the codename Power Man. The super-villain felt it belonged to him, after all he was the first one to use it. Once inside, Josten began tearing up the place, causing all the moviegoers to rush out. Alerted by the panic, Luke Cage went in and eventually beat the villain into submission, proving he was indeed worthy of the codename Power Man.

(Power Man I#34) - After she had unwittingly sent up the super-villain Mangler who proceeded to wreck Power Man's office, Cage bitterly complained to Bertha about her screening policy. She replied that, given Times Square's usual disreputable clientele, it was hard for her to pick the straights from the weirdos.

(Power Man I#35) - When Power Man returned to the Gem Theater following a date with Claire Temple, he was immediately accosted by D.W. Griffith who was eager to screen his first student film for Cage. From her booth, Bertha mockingly commented D.W. should get a license before showing a dog like that. D.W. laughed it off, claiming she had no taste for art before baffling Cage with the description of his film: as a study in insensitivity, influenced in part by Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

(Power Man I#37) - Bertha warmly greeted Luke and his girlfriend Claire when they came back to the Gem after a pleasant evening stroll. None of them were aware Chemistro had secretly gained access to the theater to change Power Man's offices to glass.

(Power Man I#41) - Bertha, polishing off a box of bonbons and fully engrossed in her romance magazine, didn't even look up when Power Man and his ally Thunderbolt (William Carver) walked by her on their way to Cage's offices.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#73) - Bertha was manning the booth at the Gem Theater during John Wayne festival. She witnessed local street pimp Solace entering the building looking to hire Power Man and Iron Fist after the Galadorian Space Knight Rom had shot and killed his favorite girl Polly (actually a disguised Dire Wraith).

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#91) - When Power Man and Iron Fist returned to the Gem Theater, Bertha informed them their secretary Jennie Royce had called to inform them she had signed up a new client. Bertha noted that Royce sarcastically added "that is, if they weren't too busy".

Comments: Created by Archie Goodwin (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks)

Interestingly enough, Bertha's entire career in comics so far has consisted of one panel cameos, yet those little moments were apparently enough for several writers to keep bringing her back... For more of the same. But despite her limited airtime, she somehow got a distinct, slightly sarcastic personality, which is quite the feat in itself.

Bertha's appearance changed considerably in her most recent appearances. She's gone from well beyond pleasantly plump to what appears to be a normal size... Proving that one doesn't need to be overweight to have a name that is commonly associated with obese women.

Profile by Norvo.

Bertha should not be confused with

images: (without ads)
Luke Cage Power Man I#2, p12, pan4 (main image)
Power Man I#17, p5, pan2 (doesn't know why Cage wants other women)
Power Man I#21, p9, pans6&7 (sells the other Power Man a ticket)
Power Man I#35, p8, pan1 (teases DW Wright about his movie)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#91, p7, pan4 (trimmed down and testy)

Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#2 (August, 1972) - Archie Goodwin (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#10 (June, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero For Hire I#14 (October, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), Billy Graham (pencils & inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Power Man I#17 (February, 1974) - Len Wein (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Power Man I#21 (October, 1974) - Tony Isabella (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Vinnie Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Power Man I#34 (August, 1976) - Don McGregor (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Frank Springer (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Power Man I#35 (September, 1976) - Don McGregor & Marv Wolfman (writers), Marie Severin (pencils), Frank Giaocoia (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Power Man I#37 (November, 1976) - Marv Wolfman (writer, editor), Ron Wilson (pencils), Aubrey Bradford (inks)
Power Man I#41 (March, 1977) - Marv Wolfman (writer & editor), Lee Elias (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#73 (September, 1981) - Mary Jo Duffy (writer), Greg La Rocque (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Dennis O'Neil (editor)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#91 (March, 1983) - Steven Grant (writer), Greg La Rocque (pencils & inks), Denis O'Neil (editor)

Last updated: 12/28/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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