COMIC #302: Miss America Magazine Vol. 1 #2
DATE: November 1944
PUBLISHER: Miss America Publishing Corp.
CONTENTS: Letter from the editor by Jean Goodman; “The Mystery Of The Shocker!” (Miss America story), drawn by Pauline Loth; “Miss America’s Own Fashions”; “Don’t Be A Pin-Up Girl” by Helene Wanderman; “$1,000 Miss America Prize Contest Announcement”; “Hear The Bluebells Ring…”, written by Maxine Shore, illustrated by Louise Alston; “Are You Having Date Problems?” by Jane Withers as told to May Mann; “Janie’s Awakening” by Frank Martin Webber; “A Wallflower Blooms…” by Dorothy Day; “An Almost Girl…” by Tess Lawrence; “Are You Lonesome?” by John F. Oliven, M.D.; “Big Sister” by Sergeant Margaret J. Taggs; “For Girls Only” by Nina Wilcox Putnam; “Dear Betty Ann” by Victoria Allen Dunford; “Your Voice And You” by Susan Larkin; “Tricky Tests For Teens” by Martin Panzer; “Happy Sitting” by Lorna Ellis, illustrated by Mary Gibson; “Charm Rou-Teens” by Mary M. Ahern; “Beauty Isn’t Everything” by Vera Lawson; “It’s Fun To Act” by Karen Van Lissel; “Hollywood’s Younger Set” by Trudy Smith; “Patsy Walker”, drawn by Ruth Atkinson; “Patsy Walker’s Dream Clothes”. Cover featuring Dolores Conlon. Editor: Bessie H. Little. Art director: Melvin D. Blum. Junior advisory editor: Annette Blackman. Fashion editor: Pauline O’Sullivan. Hollywood representative: May Mann. Supervising editor: Jean Goodman.
CANONICAL STATUS: Partial canon (Miss America story).
This might be where we jump the shark.
Timely published an issue of Miss America earlier this year, making her their first female headliner. After a months-long hiatus, they’ve brought it back, and it’ll run on a consistent monthly basis for years (through its own new imprint). Except it’s been… retooled. Miss America Comics is now Miss America Magazine.
With Bessie Little as editor, Miss America Magazine is primarily a magazine for teenage girls, with fashion tips, beauty tips, etc., and photo covers featuring teenage models. It still has two comic stories: a Miss America story drawn by Pauline Loth, and the debut of Patsy Walker drawn by Ruth Atkinson (more on that later). As for the rest… well, read the contents. Pretty soon, they’ll drop the comics entirely; Miss America the character will live on in other titles, and Miss America the magazine will be about clothes.
Ruth Atkinson’s Patsy Walker debuts here. Patsy Walker, one of the best-known of Timely’s teen characters, will soon graduate to her own titles. Decades later, she’ll show up in the Marvel Universe and become the superheroine Hellcat. (In the Marvel Universe, her teen comics are just comics, created by her mother.) This story also debuts Patsy’s rival Hedy Wolfe and her love interest Buzz Baxter (who will become the supervillain Mad Dog). In this first story, Patsy and Hedy vie for the attentions of a pop singer whose name, I swear to god, is Swoon Strong. I expected something more Archie-like; this actually felt more like a Leave It To Beaver-style depiction of pleasant, harmless suburbia. And it was kitschy enough that I actually enjoyed it. Atkinson, a veteran of Fiction House comics, will continue to draw Patsy Walker.
As for Miss America, she fights the Shocker, a supervillain who got his powers from electric eels.
I wish I had more to say about the non-comic material, but… it’s what you’d expect. It’s kitschy and insulting and hilariously dated, but not much stood out. I did learn the slang term T.O.T.E., which means “tough on the eyes”. And I learned that if you fake a headache to get out of a date with a boy in order to go on a date with a more attractive boy, you may lose both.
I might need an intervention.
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