Tetsuko is the titular character of the webcomic Tetsuko written and illustrated by David C. Matthews.
Tetsuko Breckenridge was born in Japan, to American parents. Her father, James, had been sent to Japan to head the Asian branch of his company. James and his wife, Patricia, soon fell in love with the people and culture of Japan, and when their daughter was born, they gave her a Japanese first name.
According to the Japanese-English Character Dictionary by Andrew Nelson, there are 13 kanji (the Chinese characters the Japanese adopted for their written language) that can be read "tetsu". The one her parents chose to write "Tetsuko" (Nelson #931, defined as "clear") was used in words that carried a "philosophical" meaning, as in tetsugaku "philosophy" and tetsugakusha "philosopher". But since Tetsuko was somewhat of a tomboy as a child, people tried writing her name with the kanji for "iron"(Nelson #4844), and her parents were sometimes exasperated enough at having to correct this "misspelling" that they toyed with changing her name to something in American English. Ironically, after her "transformation" Tetsuko began adopting the "incorrect" kanjiherself, so that "tetsu-ko" indeed wound up meaning "Iron Girl". ("-ko" [Nelson #1264] as the third syllable in three-syllable female names such as Rumiko and Etsuko is more correctly translated "child", but since this is a female name, the translation of "-ko" as "girl" is not unreasonable.)
The family lived in Japan for the first ten years of Tetsuko's life; but when her parents were killed in a tragic accident she was sent to America to live with her maternal grandparents.
As a college student, Tetsuko saw a notice on the student union bulletin board from a Dr. Sonya Gannon, who was seeking a "girl Friday" to handle secretarial duties for her as well as being a lab assistant. Although advised against it by her friends (who characterized Dr. Gannon as "gorgeous but strange"), Tetsuko answered the ad. She found herself liking the doctor, whom she knew only from the fact that Sonya was a professor at one of the classes she took. Sonya and Tetsuko became fast friends, and Tetsuko soon found out that Sonya's true work went much deeper (and much more secret) than being a "mere" college professor. It was from an incident that happened as a result of her association with Sonya, in fact, that Tetsuko was to gain her amazing strength and muscularity.
Powers & Abilities Edit
Tetsuko possesses superhuman strength, about at the level of Marvel Comics' "Incredible Hulk". She also has a quirky form of invulnerability: she can withstand almost any force (bullets, explosions, falls, etc.) without injury IF she has time to "brace" herself for it. Visually, this will look like Tetsuko is tightening all her muscles at once, although Sonya theorizes the effect is as much mental as physiological. In any event, Tetsuko has quickly learned to react almost instinctively to any threatening sound or movement, and the sound of a gun being cocked will be enough time for her to brace herself for the shot. Needless to say, she and Sonya take great pains to hide the fact that Tetsuko's invulnerability isn't "full-time": she'd have no defense against, say, a sniper with a telescopic sight if she can't hear the gun being cocked (or maybe see the flash of light off the scope's lenses, etc.)
Tetsuko cannot fly (although she can jump great distances, but she usually hates traveling that way). She does not possess any sight or hearing enhancements (telescopic, heat, or X-ray vision, or superhearing).
The Ultimate Collection of Tetsuko