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Tag Archive: June Tarpe Mills


    

As part of its San Diego Comic-Con announcements, Dynamite Entertainment released the cover art accompanying the return of the original superheroine in her next series coming this Fall.  Dynamite is publishing its third solo Miss Fury series.  Billy Tucci will be writing the story with artwork by Emma Kubert.

True to June Tarpe Mills’ original newspaper strip, the series is set during World War II, where Marla Drake aka Miss Fury takes on the Nazis.  You don’t know Miss Fury?  Check out this great anthology series we reviewed previously here at borg.com.  Dynamite gave us our pick for best comic book series of 2013 with its first Miss Fury series, and she returned in another solo title, and again as part of the team-up in Masks 2.

Tucci confirmed that Mills’ original cast of characters will return.  Taking readers “from the warring skies above New York City and into the heart of Hitler’s Third Reich,” the series will be delivered “in the spirit of an all-female Inglourious Basterds. 

    

Tucci is scheduled to appear at San Diego Comic-Con this week as part of the Dynamite Entertainment “Diamond Previews Premiere Publisher Panel,” from 1:00 -2 p.m. on Friday, July 20, in Room 4 at the San Diego Convention Center.

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Miss Fury first anthology cover

Miss Fury was ahead of her time.  The superhero moniker and nickname of Marla Drake, she was less a femme fatale, cast aside by the males that shared the comic page as with other contemporary tales, instead planted in the center of the action.  She was a true heroine, who, while maintaining her sex appeal and motherly nature (adopting a child during the series run), she was a strategic thinker and always the most cunning person in the room, despite male dominated conventions of the 1940s.  In fact, despite some handsome and well-intentioned male friends and companions, it’s the women of the series that are the most interesting, with oafish and blumbering men left for the supporting roles.

June Tarpé Mills was ahead of her time.  Serving as story writer and artist for the popular nearly decade running Miss Fury comic strip, she created the first costumed super-heroine when Superman and Batman were just getting their footholds in the fantasy realm.  Her character drawing is incredible and modern readers might compare her comic art style with modern-day Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang, her compositions with Alex Ross, and her glamour with Adam Hughes.  All of these comparisons are accurate and compliment each of these artists.  Mills’ story arcs collected in Tarpé Mills & Miss Fury: Sensational Sundays 1944 – 1949 anthology hardcover from IDW Publishing are intriguing and compelling–so much so that you could overlook the detailed “costuming” of Mills’ men and women.  But what you would miss.  Men were dressed appropriately in snappy suits, her women sport a historical catalog of designs, fabrics, colors, and styles, as well as a variety of 1940s hairdos.  Miss Fury might as well be a sourcebook for clothing historians.

Mills accomplished something many modern comic book readers beg for–less costumed character stories (i.e. Batman stories) and more secret identity doing the detective work out of the costume (i.e. Bruce Wayne stories).  In fact, you will hardly see Marla Drake appear in her catsuit in the pages of Miss Fury.  And it won’t bother you one bit.

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Miss Fury #1 Alex Ross incentive cover

Miss Fury was the one of the first female superheroes, created 42 years ago this month by June Tarpé Mills (1915-1988)–one of the few early female comic book creators.  Written and drawn by Mills, Miss Fury is also the first female superhero created by a woman.  Original Miss Fury works were signed merely Tarpé Mills–to mask the fact that the work was created by a woman.  Mills’ stylish socialite Marla Drake was provided glamorous images by Mills in the pages of Miss Fury, with classy costumes for the character.  Appearing just months after The Cat–which would become the Catwoman over time, Miss Fury also wore a catsuit to fight crime.

Mills original photo

June Tarpé Mills–with cat.

Mills’ characters gave similar inspiration to the war effort in World War II as Captain America and Superman.  Mills herself would be an excellent subject of study for comic book historians.

Miss Fury most recently has appeared in the recent Masks series from Dynamite Comics and this Wednesday Dynamite releases a standalone series starring Miss Fury with Miss Fury #1.  Just as the original pages of Miss Fury inspired Allied troops during World War II with planes named after the characters from the series, Dynamite’s new series also brings the Nazi menace back in a story with time-out-of-joint elements that will factor into Miss Fury’s reality.  Miss Fury is being pulled from time period to time period–from 2013 to 1943 and back again–and someone or some thing has changed the course of history.  The artwork provided by Jack Herbert is lavish and stylish in ways original artist Mills may have approved of.  Just check out this image of the sophisticated Marla Drake–the wealthiest woman in Manhattan in 1943 (and high-end thief): Continue reading