Funny GirlsGuffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics

Funny GirlsGuffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics

Michelle Ann Abate

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9781496820730

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

Funny Girls: Guffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics is the first full-length critical study to examine the important cadre of young female protagonists that permeated US newspapers strips and comics books during the first half of the twentieth century.Many of the earliest, most successful, and most influential titles from this era featured elementary-aged girls as their central characters, such as Little Orphan Annie, Nancy, and Little Lulu. Far from embodying a now-forgotten facet of twentieth century print culture, these figures remain icons ofUS popular and material culture. Recognizing the cadre of Funny Girls who played such a significant role in the popular appeal and commercial success of American comics during the first half of the twentieth century challenges longstanding perceptions about the gender dynamics operating during this era.In addition, they provide information about a wide range of socio-political issues, including the popular perceptions about children, mainstream representations of girlhood, and changing national attitudes regarding youth and youth culture.Finally, but just as importantly, strips like Little Lulu, Little Orphan Annie, and Nancy also shed light on another major phenomenon within comics:branding, licensing, and merchandising. In discussing these are other issues, Funny Girls gives much needed attention to an influential, but long neglected, aspect of comics history in the United States.