Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Girls! Girls! Girls!


One of the strange trends which struck the Golden Age Timely heroes in their waning years before cancellation was the sudden appearance in nearly all the comics of a comely girl.


In the case of The Human Torch it was a lass dubbed Sun Girl.


Sun Girl showed up as Torch's new partner and also was featured in three issues of her own comic before disappearing for several decades.

The girl on this cover is the villainous Lavender.
Captain America lost Bucky (who got shot, but not fatally -- it's damn hard to kill that kid) but gained Golden Girl.


Golden Girl was in fact Betsy Ross, a longtime cast member of the Cap storyline created by Cap's very own fathers Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.


Namor, the Sub-Mariner found his time shared with another "Sub-Mariner", this one a statuesque young woman named Namora.


Namora it turns out was Namor's cousin and had all the same powers as he did. She also was awarded a three-issue run at the same time as she was co-starring with her cousin in his comic.




The question though is why all of sudden did all these dames show up in the pages of what had been for a very long time exclusively man country.




Well girls seemed to be a target audience for Timely in 1948 with titles like Millie the Model, Margie, Nellie, Rusty, Tessie the Typist, Hedy DeVine, Patsy Walker and several more in their line-up.


The Blonde Phantom had recently taken over the classic superhero series All Winners.


Venus by Bill Everett debuted the same year. 


So maybe it's just Martin Goodman's tendency to jump on very trend with dominating gusto. Also in 1948 the critics of comics were finding footing and comics were being famously burned here and there across these United States by kids prompted by adults who objected to the lurid content. A publisher's organization called the "Association of Comic Magazine Publishers" was put together to stem the tide of criticism from parents groups and experts like the wily Dr.Wertham who was starting his campaign against comics in Collier's magazine.


Maybe the idea of teenage sidekicks just struck everyone as dopey, so off they went to the hospital and limbo while the rugged male heroes got to pal around with a beautiful girl on the side.

It's hard to say, but just as quick as they came they went, but then so did the superheroes.

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3 comments:

  1. Interesting similarities between the look of the Blonde Phantom – and the original Ms. Marvel costume which came along in 1977…Granted one is an evening gown while the Carol Danvers outfit is decidedly skimpier – but there are similarities none the less…

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    1. Noted. The tummy was apparently exempt after a fashion from the censors. A way to show skin without setting off the alarms. I was frankly annoyed at Ms.Marvel's design as it seemed obviously sexist, even then. I was glad when the costume was made sleeker and covered here a bit more. It didn't hurt her sexuality at all. The same is also true of Power Girl, but her cut out was in a different place.

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  2. I tweeted about these super hero women the other week: I would like to see a series with Namora, Sun Girl and the Blonde Phantom- post WW2 and perhaps LA Noir style.

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