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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 the Top, Stupid!”

“From the Top, Stupid!”

The Li’l Tomboy Comic Book Series, Female Juvenile Delinquency, and the Comics Code

(p.114) Chapter 5 “From the Top, Stupid!”
Funny Girls

Michelle Ann Abate

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter Five explores the rich and interesting but critically neglected Li'l Tomboy comic book series.Released by Charlton Comics from 1956 through 1960, the series did far more than simply challenge traditional female gender roles in the 1950s; it also challenged the newly established Comics Code.In numerous issues, the title character engages in behaviors that could easily be regarded as delinquent:she commits petty theft, intentionally destroys private property, and sasses adult authority figures, including police officers.Moreover, Li'l Tomboy engages in these activities not simply under the watchful eye of the Comics Code Authority, but, astoundingly, with their official seal of approval.During a time when the censors employed by the Authority office were at their most powerful and restrictive, Li'l Tomboy engaged in antics that far exceeded those that had been forbidden in other publications.Accordingly, this chapter tells the story of how, with the creation of Li'l Tomboy, Charlton Publications demonstrated that postwar gender conformity could be resisted and, even more significantly, so too could the Comics Code.

Keywords:   Li'l Tomboy, Juvenile delinquency, The Comics Code, PostwarUS culture, Gender and Girlhood, Fredric Wertham

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