Gutsy Broads, Unite

miss_fury

 

I have worked as a designer for most of my life. You learn a lot about people this way. Sometimes you work with high-maintenance clients with whom you roll your eyes and try to give them the logo or billboard or brochure that is in their little minds. I am the hands that create what they are envisioning.

It has its moments, though. I enjoy meeting interesting people and I have lots of great stories to tell my children and grandchildren. As I wake up each morning, I approach my computer with a sense of adventure…which comic will I be working on today? Will it bring a smile or will it cause me to interrupt Dean and say, “Oh, my gosh, get over here, you have to see this!”?

Today is one of those days. I’m now working on the restoration of Miss Fury and am becoming more acquainted with Tarpé Mills’s style. She loves to show a lot of skin, and the babes are always in furs and hats that look fresh off the runways of Paris. Her art is drawn very traditionally—no surprises, no ah-ha moments. But her storytelling is drawing me in more and more. What a gutsy storyteller: women pulled through car windows by their hair, Nazi swastikas branded to their foreheads…young children being told if they don’t stop whimpering they’ll get their heads bashed in.

No wonder she passed herself off as a male artist…in those days people would run if they knew these stories came from a woman. I wonder now if my mom ever read these strips or ones like them. Did she pump her fist and say, “YES,” as the female villain was knocked down a few pegs, or is this just wishful thinking on my part? I hope she did. I hope that, after the dishes were done and all eight of us kids were tucked in bed, she poured herself a cup a tea and sat with a newspaper and read about women in fancy duds attending fancy parties.

As I work each day bringing life back to this strip, I think of that generation and how this was a huge part of their entertainment. I hope by bringing this strip to the audience of today, they will appreciate what it must have been like to anxiously wait every day for the paper to arrive. This is my pleasure and this is the story I tell to my children: slow down and learn from the craftsmen—and women—of yesterday. Slowly turn the pages and when you come across something that makes you stop and take notice, share it with a friend.

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This full-color collection featuring the best Miss Fury strips from the 1940s will be on sale in April, edited by and with a biographic introduction by the one-and-only Trina Robbins.

 

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