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her name change, Messick’s romantic style betrayed her gender, and her long-living strip, Brenda Starr, was first rejected by Captain Joseph Patterson, publisher of the New York Daily News, who said he had tried a woman cartoonist once before and she hadn’t worked out. Finally convinced to add Brenda Starr to his syndicate in 1940, Patterson, who had terrible taste in cartoons (All the comic strips in the Daily News, with the exception of Brenda Starr, were ugly), vowed that as long as he lived the Daily News would not print the strip –and indeed, the readhaired heroine did not appear in the News until after Patterson’s death. While Tarpe Mills and Gladys Parker put themselves into their strips, Dale Messick put her strip into herself. She related so much to her own character that she dyed her hair red and named her daughter Starr. By the 1940s, those toddlers from early 20th century comics had grown into teenagers. Newspapers and comic books featured cute teenage girls in bobby socks and rolled-up jeans, many of them drawn by women. One of the most popular teen comics was Hilda Terry’s nationally syndicated strip, Teena. The strip, which debuted on the auspicious date of December 7, 1941, had been running successfully for eight years when, in 1949, Terry sent a letter to the prestigious –and all-male– National Cartoonists Society, requesting they allow women into their organization. However, when the names of Terry and cartoonist Barbara Shermund came up for membership in 1950, they were rejected by the majority, who gave as an excuse that if they allowed women into their group, the men wouldn’t be able to curse. This decision caused a major conflict within the organization, and finally a second vote resulted in membership for Terry and Shermund. Immediately, Terry nominated Gladys Parker and other women cartoonists for membership in the NCS, thus breaking the gender barrier. By the end of the 1940s, the GIs had all come home and gotten ANN BREWSTER The Shy Type, comic book title unknown

DALE MESSICK photo, 1939 DALE MESSICK Brenda Starr, newspaper strip, circa 1960

32 · ARTECONTEXTO · DOSSIER

(please note: this was erroneously captioned “1933” by Messick when she was already in her 90s)

Profile for ARTEHOY Publicaciones y Gestion SL

ARTECONTEXTO Nº10.  

Dossier: COMIC WORLD / MUNDO CÓMIC 2006

ARTECONTEXTO Nº10.  

Dossier: COMIC WORLD / MUNDO CÓMIC 2006

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