Out of This World posts that features more Katy Keene paper dolls and Patsy Walker and Millie the Model paper dolls].
Earlier this year I found Linda's 'The Paper Collector' blog while searching for information on Torchy Brown, a newspaper comic strip drawn by the first African American female comic artist, Jackie Ormes. Linda had a feature about Torchy Brown on one of her other blogs, in which she had posted scans of a Torchy Brown strip and the accompanying Torchy Brown paper dolls. Kind of out of the corner of my eye I noticed that paper dolls have a very enthusiastic following, just like comic books. And here was an instance where the two disciplines meet - comix scholars and paper doll students. I would be interested to know just when this association between the two began. The Torchy Brown strip featured in Linda's post is from the early 50s. I looked through comics I suspected might have paper dolls. Sure enough I came up with some (well I knew I'd seen them in there before). Some examples:
This is Patsy Walker 49 published by Atlas in November 1953. It has just one page with a paper doll. It says it's #16 (in a series?), and the clothing design appears to have been sent in by a reader.
Here's Patsy Walker in Miss America 86 from September 1957, again published by Atlas. The cover is one of the many from this period that depict 1950s suburban and small town life by the superb Al Hartley. Only one page with a paper doll on again.
Archie's Pals 'n' Gals 21 from Summer 1962 has a couple of pages with Veronica paper dolls. Are these drawn by Jon D'Agostino?
Patsy Walker 104 (Marvel, December 1962) has another great Al Hartley cover plus no less than three pages of paper dolls. Al seems to have left off the tabs from the outfits, either by design or forgetfulness - which, we'll never know. If I ever get to interview Stan Lee I have more pressing issues to ask him about, but more out of idle curiosity I might just ask him (in my dreams!). So paper doll collectors, where there's Patsy there's dolls, at least from the mid-50s through the mid-60s, as we shall see.
This one definitely is drawn by Jon D'Agostino. It's Charlton's My Little Margie 49 from September 1963, and it has just one page with a Margie cut-out doll. Note the continuing theme of reader-generated designs.
Patsy Walker 119 (Feb 1965) and Patsy & Hedy 99 (Apr 1965) each have two pages of paper dolls, but it seems that Al Hartley's tab-less outfits have persisted even though he's no longer the artist. But where does Katy Keene come into all this? Well I'm pretty sure paper dolls can be found in Katy Keene comics but I don't have proof. This is because every time I try to obtain a Katy Keene comic on eBay I get outbid or the Buy It Now price is more than I'm willing to pay. Katy Keene has a following. Katy Keene is popular. Katy Keene was published by Archie and drawn in irresistible fashion by Bill Woggon. It turns out though that, quite by accident, I do have one example in my collection. My copy of Laugh 114 (September 1960) has a 6 page Katy Keene story. So here it is - not too many panels with Katy in but enough to get a taste of Bill Woggon's unique artwork. Katy is a doe-eyed, dark-haired, perfect beauty drawn in a way that is confusingly pleasing to the eye, hence Woggon's popularity and the cost of Katy Keene books. This is, I would say, a kind of good girl art, a topic I would like to explore on another occasion, as a I feel a clear definition of the term is long overdue.
Even though there are no paper dolls with this one, the story itself uses outfits designed and sent in by readers, as do the other books sampled in this post. Thus ends my first real excursion into the world of paper dolls through the portal of comics, with a diversion into Katy Keene, as a special thanks to Linda for giving me permission previously to use her Torchy Brown scan for my presentation and article. It's also mine and my wife Sheila's 27th wedding anniversary today, and she's often told me how she used to play endlessly with paper dolls when she was a girl in the 50s. So it's nice for me to contact something from my spouse's childhood experience. Just to finish, the most recent comic that I'm aware of with, in this case, spoof paper dolls is Dexter's Laboratory 17 published by DC in January 2001. I just sold my son's collection of these and forgot to scan the cover of this one before it went, but there's a complete cover gallery in the GCD, in which you can view the one I'm referring to.