Were comics always boy-centric super-fights? Nope! Back in the 50s there were plenty of comics ostensibly meant for girls only, like romance books. But as we'll see, some of these romance books had one foot in the girly camp and one foot inching towards what we call today "the male gaze".
What two things make this splash page special? Just follow the eye line of our dopey-looking dance student here and I think you'll grasp the full, jutting, bosomy impact of what aficionados would later term "headlights."
One wonderful September afternoon Claire took a walk in the woods, where she met a horrifying monster from outer space with a sinus condition.
Suddenly a tree almost fell on her! How do you not notice a tree falling on top of you until it's almost crushed you, but are saved by a flying tackle from an unidentified man? Get your eyes checked, girl!
Claire and her tackling woodsman Dion share a tender moment on the forest floor. Dion spends most of that moment staring directly at Claire's bosom. He'd post "no trespassing" signs on his private property, but that would severely limit the number of girls wandering through his woods! You can't just tackle them on the streets, you know!
"Hey baby, lots of things start out crude, but once they're refined they become useful tools for our industrial civilization! Like oil!" Your seduction talk needs some refinement too, Dion. On the other hand, it did get her to reveal where she works. Stalking ahoy!
Uh oh, Mister Oily Woodsman here has wormed his way into Claire's mind AND into her dance-instruction job, and all the hands-on-hips chest protrusions in the world won't stop him from getting what he wants!
Have comics always been used as tools to fetishize the female body and contort it into unrealistic positions that better highlight our society's particular physical obsessions? Well, I dunno about "always", but since 1951? Definitely.
Claire is hired to turn Dion from a rough-tough tree cutting man to a classy gentleman. STEP ONE: do not drop trees on ladies
Aw, turns out Claire's hunky millionaire client is engaged to somebody else and Claire's budding diamond in the rough will never be hers, no matter how much lipstick she applies using a comically huge compact.
Uh oh, looks like Dion's intended is "a gold-digger from way back!" She's only after Dion's money! Will Claire's strapless green number hold up under the strain?
PSSST; I THINK SHE'S EVIL
It's time for a summit meeting of the gams as Doris and Claire lounge around, smoke cigarettes, jut cleavage, and generally sex up the joint. Gam away, gals!
How can Claire continue to dance with this poor wealthy sap who's about to be torn away from her by the evil Doris? It's too much for any woman to bear! How can she go on??
Here Doris sports what fashionable women are wearing in loungewear this season, an elegant embroidered negligee paired with some kind of enormous hairy thing, possibly assembled from stuffed animals won at the county fair; the perfect ensemble for telephoning your rival to ensure she will be present for your greatest triumph, nothing can go wrong now, ha ha ha.
What's this? Yes! It's the Emergency Telegram Interrupting The Wedding! The best way to interrupt a wedding, hands down; it certainly beats Uncle Bob puking in the corner or the famous "My Home Planet Needs Me" gambit. Dion's wiped out! The great crash of '51 bankrupted Amalgamated Tree-Dropping Incorporated and Dion's flat busted! Watch the caterer start packing up, grumbling about his deposit.
OH NO YOU DIDN'T says Doris, hurling the bouquet right in Dion's broke-ass face and stomping out of the wedding in a huff, humiliating herself and her family for generations to come. And for what? The telegram was a fake! That means Claire is free to marry Dion, the tree-dropping, two-left-feet fake-telegram gambit cad who is, after all, still rich! A happy ending, I guess.
Remember gals, keep yourself honest, clean, forthright, supported and uplifted with minimum padding and form-fit comfort and unafraid to just put 'em out there, and you can't lose! And fellas; don't drop trees on ladies. The end.
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