Fact Gap.

Link to today’s strip

In hours and hours and hours of searching I couldn’t find a single instance of a woman in comics being paid less simply because she was a woman. The only time I saw it addressed directly was in a question and answer session 2007 from with Ramona Fradon, who worked for DC from the 50’s to the 80’s. She neglected to answer.

Stroud: What was the page rate at the time and did they pay you the same as your male counterparts?
RF: When I quit in 1980 to draw Brenda Starr, I think I was getting $75 a page.

But earlier in the interview she had this to say about her editors.

Stroud: Which editors did you work with? Were they easy to get along with?
RF: I worked with Murray Boltinoff, George Kashdan, Joe Orlando and Nelson Bridwell. Nelson was the only one who you might say was difficult. He was very exacting and protective of his story lines. He designed a lot of the characters and didn’t want any deviation. I preferred inventing my own characters, but these were kind of mythological archetypes and I suppose they had to be what they were.

Neither Marie Severin nor Fradon ever tried to claim sexism made their editors hostile to them. Marie Severin who worked for DC said in an interview :

Everybody was very nice to me at DC. They didn’t seem to question the fact that I was a woman doing the work. I mean it may have amused them, but they didn’t discriminate against me at all. I have no complaints at all about the way I was treated.

Some second party sources blamed gender on women being passed over for promotions or gigs, but nothing like an editor coming right out docking someone’s pay on the basis of their genitalia. There were women EDITORS, like Rae Herman and Dorothy Woolfolk, the woman who invented Kryptonite!

I also cannot find any evidence of a woman being forced by an editor to obscure her gender. Here’s a quote from an interview with Trina Robbins, a female comics writer and also historian, who wrote a book “Pretty In Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013.” She actually researched the sexism that went on in comics.

For so much of the history of entertainment media, you’ve had women who wrote under pseudonyms or male names to get things published. Going back and digging through the history, how do you even start to try to unearth female creators when there was little attention paid to them or possibly hiding their identity under a different name?

The fact is that that’s not really true. Some women did change their names, but not the majority of them at all. It’s funny, it’s a myth that people think women had such a hard time they had to give themselves male names in order to sell their strips. Well, no. Some of them changed their names: June Tarpe Mills removed the June and called herself Tarpe Mills and said in an interview before she drew “Miss Fury” that she felt the boys who read it would not like it if these exciting and virile — she used the word virile! — heroes were drawn by a woman. But of course once she started doing “Miss Fury” there were newspaper articles about her, everybody knew who she was and they knew it was a woman, and they even knew she looked like the character she drew. There’s even one newspaper article from the New York Daily News titled “Meet The Real Miss Fury: It’s All Done With Mirrors!” It was no secret.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

24 responses to “Fact Gap.

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    “Yep, the comic book industry sure was hard, being a woman. And Jewish. And a communist sympathizer. And left-handed. Did you notice I only have one leg?”

  2. Tom Batiuk’s much (self)-praised research methods: “Watch me pull something award-winning out of my ass!”

    Stellar, absolutely stellar work CBH. You’ve gone above and beyond.

    • billytheskink

      I can’t blame TB too much for making stuff up for this strip, though. It’s not like he has any opportunities to observe a comic editor’s behavior.

      • Epicus Doomus

        That’s the line of the day. Aside from the creative force every single person in the Funkyverse version of the “entertainment business” is a cheap money-grubbing amoral grouch, which says more about BatHack than I want to ponder right now.

  3. Scott G Matheson

    Alice Cobb was an editor for Dell Comics in the 1950s.

    • comicbookharriet

      Another person to do some reading on! Thanks. These ladies are fascinating and learning about them is the silver lining of this arc.

  4. billytheskink

    All heads turned except for Ruby’s editor’s, he had no neck!

  5. Gerard Plourde

    COMICBOOKHARRIET is truly setting a standard for correcting TomBa’s factual shortcomings.

    What’s startling about this arc is the fact that he’s making these mistakes about comics, the subject that appears to be his passion. Admittedly, it’s not being written about The Flash, his area of expertise. But the level of sloppiness here is just about as bad as if not worse than the Butter Brinkel arc, which just hit a new low in contrived and implausible occurrences.

    • spacemanspiff85

      He’s bragged before about how his writing method of “not doing any research at all” is superior to other writers who actually do research. Because apparently pulling it all out of your ass is better writing?

  6. Epicus Doomus

    With just a little thought and planning he COULD have done a minor mega-arc about the challenges female comic book artists and/or color-in-ers face. But a) Mindy isn’t a comic book artist at all and b) she isn’t facing any gender-based hurdles either. Thus Ruby is nothing more than a conduit for more Batiuksturbation focused on what he thinks the comic book business was like a million years ago, a topic he apparently finds endlessly fascinating yet cannot make interesting to anyone else.

    I mean how does this wrap up? “Gee, I’m sure glad I don’t have to face the challenges you faced back in ’51, Ruby!”…”It’s a whole new world today, Mindy!”…whoop-dee-damn-doo. As others have already pointed out he WILL claim that he “addressed gender inequality in the (sigh) comic book business” but this nonsense isn’t addressing anything at all, it’s just another load of weird random crap and ancient cliches.

    • He’s just trolling for awards now. The fact that he’s addressing a problem that never really existed shows he really doesn’t care about anything in this arc, other than it catches some award committee’s eye and they nominate him for some prize.

      Compare and contrast with the level of detail he lovingly threw into his story about Pete and Dullard visiting the Flash Museum.

      • Epicus Doomus

        IMO it’s even worse than that. I think he does these idiotic stories to give himself something to mention during his annual puff-piece interview in the Canton Daily Bugle’s “Lifestyles” Sunday supplement. “And after I tackled the Arbuckle scandal, I set my sights on gender inequality in the workplace and how that’s changed over the decades”. He knows no one actually reads FW, thus when he claims that the strip “addresses” these things it’s just accepted as fact, as who’s gonna know the difference?

      • Charles

        I don’t know if he’s trolling for awards with this particular storyline. I think he’s just priming the pump so that when he thinks he has something worthy of awards he’ll have cred as a “serious artist” whose work needs to be taken seriously. He doesn’t want a “woman in comics” award, he wants a “this man has something important to say” award, and he knows that if he squeezes out tripe (by his own reckoning) that will never happen. So he writes stories about PTSD and teaching girls in Afghanistan and dying of cancer and crap thinking that will work.

        He’s apparently unable to see that his approach is obvious and facile, or he’s not a good enough writer to make it any better than that. And that’s why he’s not the serious artist that he wishes beyond reason that he could be.

  7. Paul Jones

    Let’s not forget his universal excuse for shoddy plotting, being one gigaparsec from reality, bias insertion, ignorance and stupidity: cop the same greasy smile that Les does when you wanna punch his head clean off too and say “It’s called writing.”

  8. Count of Tower Grove


  9. I just stopped in to say from top to bottom, the crew at SoSF does yeoman work every day on every post and today’s post is no exception. Every post is doctorally researched and we are all the better for it. I hesitate to refer to you collectively as staff, but to the crew of SoSF I say thank you for a daily education. Well done!

  10. Maxine of Arc

    CBH! CBH! CBH!

  11. billytheskink

    Flying in the face of this strip is the fact that I am 99.9% sure that our Comic Book Harriet makes a lot more coin than the Batiukverse’s Comic Book Harry…

  12. jp

    The faux-feminism leaves a sour taste because every one of the female characters in the strip is an insufferable nitwit.

    • Professor Fate

      Yes this – this very much — women’s roles in the stirp are either mothering their man babies – serving hot chocolate or milk and cookies while they read comic books or looking on in rapt adoration as their former boss is insufferable. It’s that or they are burdens the male characters must bear. Feminist this strip ain’t.

  13. Professor Fate

    Actually since in his prior strips he’s made working in the comic book industry ‘back in the day’ an unredeemed exploitive nightmare that one wonders why anyone of any gender would want to work there.
    And yes once again the Author is portraying creative work as a dreary slog though hell.
    And again I find the passivity of Molly to be utterly infuriating – all this happened years and years ago – what have you been doing since then? Have you been wandering from art gallery to art gallery on the off chance they are showing comic book art and then telling some stranger your tale of woe? I suppose it beats skulking in your one room apartment in New York for decades after your acting career ended sheesh but not by much.