Favorite Female Characters in Literature # 11: Millie the Model.
Millie is the frontrunner for all the "models" in comics, but rest assured that this blog goes out to all the pretty ladies in the pretty clothes. I grew up reading a lot of these comics, and there were a LOT of them to read. Millie herself had HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of issues of her various titles, and there were a huge wealth of other models with stacks of comics. I wish this was still a genre. Stories of pretty ladies having simple adventures. Not every story needs to have explosions and blood.
Millie sure does look good for how long she's been around. We have to go all the way back to 1945 in order to find her first appearance. Good thing beauty is eternal.
One of my all-time favorite logo designs.
Two bits of "wisdom" on the very same page, where we learn that learning to make herself more attractive is one of THE most important things in a woman's life, and then three panels later Millie's father makes the sad realization that no man can win against two women. Poor ol' guy. Oddly, the closest superhero equivalent that I can think of to the "models" comics is the old Fawcett comics with the Marvel Family. Not that the exploits are the same... just the pacing and the basic humor of the stories... stories that are more based on the quirks of human characters rather than who can shoot the most lasers from their ears, or punch the most ninjas in a phone booth.
The model comics always had fashion pages for clothes or hairstyles, etc. Many of them were reader submitted. Even during the course of a story there would be captions such as "Millie's fabulous frock submitted by Mr. Anton Lavey of San Francisco, California." Okay... I made that particular one up, but you get the picture. I so wish that today's comics would benefit from reader's submissions. I get a little sick of how often superheroes just hang out in their costumes. Can't you throw on a damn shirt? Reader submissions would take care of that shit, straight up.
The Millie comic books had a lot of different looks over the decades they were published, as did Millie herself.
This is one of my favorite covers, with Millie, Chili, Jill and Toni vamping it up. The "mod" period is one of the great periods for the model comics.
Millie pops back up in the Marvel Universe from time to time. Here's an appearance from Defenders # 65, where she's catching up with her old friend, Patsy Walker. Patsy, of course, managed to have a looooong career as a model in the comics, and then managed a jump into superhero comics as Hellcat. I'd personally love to do something similar with Millie. I did a bit of it already with Chili, Millie's rival.
Another version of Millie, this one from "15-Love" ... where Millie is a teen tennis star.
My own love for Millie is well documented, of course. I had a blast when Marvel contacted me to do the "Models Inc" comic... and I put in as many of the models as possible.
I made sure to use Jill Jerold. She wasn't only a fun character in the model comics, but was also the first black character that I can remember in comics that DIDN'T have "Black" as part of her name.
I also put Millie into a story in Age of Sentry, the book that Jeff Parker and I worked on together. Soooo much fun. This image is from the cover, illustrated by the amazing Dave Bullock.
The interior art for the Sentry story was by my #1 supergal, Colleen Coover.
Colleen and I also collaborated on another Millie story, this one with all our favorite Marvel women (well... a LOT of them) including the Enchantress, who is being her usual naughty self. Millie and the others team up with Thor to end her sexy evil schemes.
That's Millie, magically disguised as Thor. Hey... they got the same hair, right?
A quick cover gallery section. I could post a million of these things
Going to have a little fun, here, and reprint a few panels from one of my favorite Millie comics, and one of my favorite team-ups in Marvel Comics history... the time that Millie teamed up with Jack Kirby to pose for monster comics. Here you can see the models talking about Jack, and how SCARY he must be, if he draws all these comics. And then a panel where, gulp, Millie is assigned to pose for him. You can also see that scheming Millie already hatching a plan to get that job for herself.
Millie wisely decides to get the HELL out of there, but, as the story unfolds, she can't escape her fate.
So, it's off to Jack Kirby's house. Probably a house of horrors! I like how Millie envisions Jack as being a robot. Kind of fitting, really, as Jack could draw up to six million pages a day. Obviously a robot.
Millie gets a little scare, but it turns out that Jack is a pretty nice guy. It also turns out that he reads poetry. It also turns out, strangely, that he doesn't look much like Jack Kirby at all. I love this time period of comics (this was published in 1962, when Marvel's big explosion just starting to really take form) because Stan Lee and the members of Marvel's bullpen were always popping up in the comics. Had a sense of fun to them. Not sure why they couldn't make Jack look like Jack, here... though. This story was published in Millie the Model # 107. I dropped in the cover up there in the cover gallery.
You can't (or at least SHOULDN'T) talk about Millie and the other models without talking about Dan DeCarlo (left) and Stan Goldberg. These two guys did about a hundred million pages of the material. Take a bow, you two big damn ink-studs. Not many guys can say they made their living by drawing pretty girls. I'll be talking about these two in an upcoming post, and one of the other projects these fellows illustrated.
An example of Stan's original art. I own PILES of his original art (not this one, unfortunately) including an original Millie cover. It used to be that his pages were fairly cheap. It's changing, though, as collectors begin to give him the respect he deserves.
Wanted to drop in this fake cover by Shane Foley… a fun piece where he imagines a team-up with Millie and the FF. I wish it had really happened.
With Valentine's Day just a few days away, peeking out from under the blankets, it seemed like this would be a fitting image to close the post on America's favorite model, Millie Collins. Thanks for all the laughs, pretty lady.
THE “FAVORITE” LIST SO FAR…
#25: Scarlet Witch
#24: Chance Falconer
#21: Jean Grey
#20: Kitty Pryde
#19: Janet van Dyne
#18: Mary Jane Watson
#17: Hermione Granger
#15: Modesty Blaise
#14: Black Widow
#13: Sue Storm
#11: Millie (the Model) Collins
——- DOWN BELOW IS JUST A REHASH OF WHY I’M DOING THIS LIST ———
I’ve been thinking about women, lately. Women characters in comics. Women creators in comics. Female characters in literature. And pretty girls riding around on bicycles or walking along the sidewalk, etc, etc. Because of this, I’ve decided to make An Entirely Useless List. Why is it entirely useless? Because it’s my top 25 female characters from comics and literature, and such lists change at whim and at a breakneck pace. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to quantify favorites… the term favorite is far too malleable. A list of my best friends from high school, for instance, would not include anyone with whom I’m currently in contact. Times change. Still… I’m making the list. Why? I suppose I just like thinking about women.