Tag Archives: photo album corners

Herstory of Herassment.

Link to today’s strip

Stuckfunkian commenter Scott Lovrine guessed last week that Ruby Lith may be based on Ramona Fradon, who worked on Aquaman and Metamorpho. The visual resemblance is very strong both in the past and currently. But from my research Ramona didn’t time in ‘the bullpen.’

I believe that Marie Severin and I were the only women drawing superheroes at the time [50’s]. It’s funny that she was drawing Sub-Mariner while I was drawing Aquaman. People always used to ask me if I knew her, but I didn’t meet her until years later, at a convention. I didn’t work in a bullpen like Marie did so, aside from being uncomfortable with male fantasies and the violent subject matter. I never really experienced what it was like being the only woman working in a man’s world.

Marie, who did work in an office with men, talked more about feeling slightly isolated or left out rather than harassed. The only story I could find her recounting was a male college blowing on the back of her neck.

In that case, comics have always been a rather male dominated field, and you, like Ramona [Fradon] are one of the two reigning queens. How many other women were there at Marvel at the time doing art, and did you ever have any problems with “the Bullpen” or anything like that?

MS: Not really, the guys, they say that women gossip, well networking is male gossip, and they “networked” all the time. But, just like we wouldn’t want a guy when we were sitting around talking about somebody’s shoes, or a certain eyeliner, they weren’t interested in having a woman around, and sure, I’d have lunch with them once in a while, but the conversations were always male; it was just normal. So, you’re sort of out of it. I didn’t have any real problems.

But that brings us to Lily Renee. If Batiuk wants to claim that Ruby Lith is based on any one woman, Lily Renee is the option that closest fits his ‘narrative’. And she also has a physical resemblance.

Lily Renee worked in the 40’s as a penciler and inker for Fiction House. She was Jewish, from Vienna, and had immigrated alone, at the age of 14, first to England then the United States to escape the Nazis. When her parents joined her a couple years later she took up a job in comics to help support her family. The men in the office teased her, tried to teach her dirty words in English, and drew nudes in the margins of the work she was supposed to ink. But she wasn’t the only woman working in the office. There were many women working for Fiction House at the time, and she was on good terms with most of them. She would regularly go out for lunch with Fran Hopper, and at one point, she lived with artist Ruth Atkinson for about a year.

Unlike Batiuk’s fantasy Ruby Lith though, Lily just did it for the money, and after leaving the comics industry in 1949, went to work on other things; illustrating children’s books, writing plays, and working in fashion.

So, big surprise, sometimes it was uncomfortable being a woman in a office predominated by men. Sometimes the women were ‘left out’, sometimes the women were teased. Sometimes it led to much drama that weren’t black-and-white cases of sexual harassment. The inker Violet Barclay, by her own admission, flirted with men in the office leading to acrimonious feelings and love triangles.

Barclay’s complicated relationship with benefactor Mike Sekowsky — who bestowed expensive gifts on her even after his marriage to Joanne Latta — caused friction in the Timely bullpen, which she left in 1949. As she later described the office environment,

“Mike was a very good human being. Everybody at Timely liked Mike. Nobody like me because they thought I was doing a number on him. Which was true. World War II was on and there were no men around, so I just killed time with him. Everybody, Dave Gantz especially, picked up on that. … [Mike] once tried to get me fired over my fling with [Timely artist] George Klein. Mike went to Stan Lee and said, ‘Stan, I want her fired, and if she doesn’t get fired, I’m going to quit’. Well, you couldn’t ever tell Stan Lee what to do. Stan said, ‘Well, Mike, it’s been nice knowing you’.”

Not all sexual harassers got off scott free either. Toni Blum, who worked for Quality Comics in the 40’s, was treated respectfully there except for an incident between two male artists, wherein one punched another in the face. As historian Denis Kitchen wrote, “[George] Tuska, like [Will] Eisner, had a crush on office mate Toni Blum but was too shy to make his move. The actual provocation that inflamed Tuska, Eisner privately said, was [Bob] Powell’s loud assertion that he ‘could f**k [Toni Blum] anytime’ he wanted. After decking Powell, Tuska stood over his prostrate coworker and in a voice Eisner described as Lon Chaney Jr. in Of Mice and Men said, ‘You shouldn’t ought to have said that, Bob.'”

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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.

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Please, peas?

Link to today’s strip

So was Sunday a one-off as usual, or was Batiuk just really hungry so we’re going to get weeks of unrelated food strips? Or are we in for an entire week examining Les and Cayla’s weird aromantic relationship?

Yes, a black and white and sepia flashback, with old timey scrapbook corners, really takes me back to 2011. Makes me remember when Cayla didn’t look like someone dipped Cindy in chocolate.

Why is Bill Nye surprised someone is grilling hot dogs at a picnic? He is asking Les this, when the only possible alternative interpretation of the scene is that Les is about to skewer his wife with a hot poker. For a science teacher those are some top notch observation skills. I imagine he wanders about asking similar questions.

Enters his classroom. “So, you’re the students who are working on your science projects in my science class today?”

Standing in the lunch line. “So, you’re the the school cook, who cooks and serves the food to the students?”

Entering his bedroom. “So, you’re the man who’s been sleeping with my wife?”

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Clock Him NOW!

Some of the possible signs and symptoms of CTE may include…cognitive impairment…

from The Mayo Clinic page on CTE

Not only may Batiuk have finally succeeded in making me feel empathy for Bull…I think I’m experiencing a little “cognitive impairment” myself. Or maybe TB is the one who’s losing it. Back in 2011 he spent a week crafting a retcon in which Bull had only been pretending to physically abuse Les so that the other bullies would leave him alone. I think Les may have done Bull’s homework for him, or tutored him, or some shit, in return…I really don’t remember or care. Neither can I remember (help me out here, billytheskink) if Linda was part of the gang in Act I, or did she not show up until they all were adults in Act II. She didn’t know Bull and Les in high school? All the confusion even has Les scratching his head.

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Diplame-a

Well, with today’s strip, Wally has officially beaten Summer across the Kent State graduation stage. And so has Buddy. And Kay Kyser too. Sheesh…

Wait, Kent State? I thought Wally was taking classes at a community college. Granted, I have an uncle who calls Kent a community college. He went to Miami (the Ohio one) though, so his opinion is a little biased.

Also, be sure to check the throw-away panels today for a rare glimpse at Becky’s left arm back when it was still attached.

Thanks for reading my two weeks covering TB’s flotsam. SOSF hall-of-famer and hall-of-namer beckoningchasm will take the helm tomorrow.

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Cousin Effect

So long Atomik Komix! Not sad to see you go.

Today’s strip moves us on to the greener pastures of… *sigh* Montoni’s.

Yep, nephew cousin Wally is having one of those newfangled January college graduations. He is also too cheap to spring for (recently-increased) postage it would seem, having Rache hand-deliver invitations and putting the savings toward paying Wally Jr’s ransom.

Meanwhile, uncle cousin Funky is wistfully wondering when Wally, who began high school the year after Funky graduated from college, became an adult. Probably sometime during the the time he joined the military, became a POW, got married, volunteered with a minesweeping organization, adopted a child, had another child, became a POW again, spent over a decade in captivity, came back to the US, got a job at Montoni’s, started going to college, got a service dog, got married, and qualified to graduate from college.

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The HoRRRRRRor, the HoRRRRRRor

Gerard Plourde
October 30, 2018 at 1:25 am
…I have no idea what “RRRRRRRRRR” is supposed to represent. A turboprop airplane? A siren? A lawnmower?

Other readers of this blog have suggested it could be a tornado alarm or a pirate…but at any rate, because this is Act III Funky Winkerbean, the big reveal is a few days away. WhateveRRRRR it is, it’s got both parties, the non-hand-shaking locals and the GI’s, scrambling for cover. While we wait for the inevitable anticlimax, your typophile host would like to point out that the RRRRRR sound effect appears to be typeset in ITC Pioneer, most famously used in posters for the blaxploitation film classic Shaft.

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