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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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From Battling Adult Authority to Battling the Opposite Sex

From Battling Adult Authority to Battling the Opposite Sex

Little Lulu as Gag Panel and Comic Book

(p.63) Chapter 3 From Battling Adult Authority to Battling the Opposite Sex
Funny Girls

Michelle Ann Abate

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter Three examines Marjorie Henderson's Buell's Little Lulu.When the now iconic figure moved from The Saturday Evening Post where she had resided since the 1930s to comic books during the 1950s, her character underwent numerous transformations.One compelling but formerly overlooked change is the nature of Lulu's rebellion.In the single-panel gag comics, the young girl was overwhelmingly targeting adults with her antics.Meanwhile, in the comic books, her sworn enemy is the gang of neighborhood boys. This modification from Little Lulu engaging in intergenerational conflicts during the pre-war era to intragenerational ones during the postwar period forms a compelling and previously unexplored facet to the literary, artistic, and cultural alterations that took place to this character across different print formats.The shift from plots that pitted children against adults in the 1930s to ones that pitted girls against boys in the 1950s reflects larger shifts in American culture regarding the gendering of children and the sexual segregation of childhood.

Keywords:   Marjorie Henderson Buell, Little Lulu, Gender, Battle of the sexes, Childhood, PostwarUS culture

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