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Funny GirlsGuffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics$
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Michelle Ann Abate

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496820730

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496820730.001.0001

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“Then I Could Have a Real Papa and Mama like Other Kids”

“Then I Could Have a Real Papa and Mama like Other Kids”

Little Orphan Annie, the Orphan Girl Formula, and the Nanny State

(p.15) Chapter 1 “Then I Could Have a Real Papa and Mama like Other Kids”
Funny Girls

Michelle Ann Abate

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter One spotlights a fundamental, but under-examined, aspect of Harold Gray's popular newspaper strip: Little Orphan Annie as an orphan girl story.When Gray's eleven-year-old moppet made her debut in 1924, many of the most popular novels, poems, and films in the United States featured orphan girls as their protagonists.Given this situation, the comic's original audience would have immediately recognized Annie as participating in this phenomenon.Accordingly, this chapter demonstrates that, far from an incidental detail about the original historical context for Little Orphan Annie, the formula for orphan girl stories serves as both a creative starting point for the comic and its critical end point.Placing Little Orphan Annie back in the context of the orphan girl story-and tracing the way in which this phenomenon operates in Gray's strip-yields new insights about the strip's connection with popular culture, the factors fueling its success, and its primary artistic kinships.

Keywords:   Little Orphan Annie, Newspaper comics, Harold Gray, Orphan girl stories, Gender and Girlhood, US popular culture

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