Monday, 16 April 2018

Dale Messick

"Featuring a worthy female counterpart to male heroes in adventure strips, Brenda Starr marked a milestone among strips by women."
Martha Kennedy

Before Dale Messick (1906-2005) created "Brenda Starr" - which first appeared in June 1940 -, women drawing comics were restricted to subjects such as cute children and animals (via) as the comics industry was a masculine domain (via). Messick became the most important female cartoonist of the 20th century (via). Her strip "Brenda Starr" ran for 71 years (via) and became a US-American icon (via).
"(...) comic historians will hopefully revisit Dale Messick's massive output and recognize how it spoke to many female - and male - readers." Alisia Grace Chase (2008)
Dale Messick was born Dalia Messick and changed her name into a male pseudonym after encountering discrimination against women in the newspaper cartooning business (Hinton 2016 and via). Messick was influenced by Nell Brinkley (1886-1944) who "chronicled in her daily columns the new American woman of the twentieth century, a woman who went to work, played an important part in the First World War, got the vote, removed her corsets, and became a flapper, smoking and drinking with the boys" (Robbins 2004).

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- Chase, A. G. (2008). "Draw Like a Girl". The Necessity of Old-School Feminist Interventions in the World of Comics and Graphic Novels. In A. M. Kokoli (ed.) Feminism Reframed. Reflections on Art and Difference (61-84). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
- Hinton, L. (2016). "Wondering about the Wonder Women of Contemporary American Poetry". In L. Hinton (ed.) Jayne Cortez, Adrienne Rich, and the Feminist Superhero. Voice, Vision, Politics, and Performance in U.S. Contemporary Women's Poetics (1-44). Lanham, Boulder, New York & London: Lexington Books.
- Robbins, T. The day of the girl. Nell Brinkley and the New Woman. In A. Heilmann & M. Beetham (2004) New Woman Hybridities. Femininity, feminism and international consumer culture, 1880-1930 (179-189). London & New York: Routledge.
- photograph via