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Funny Girls - Guffaws Guts and Gender in Classic American Comics - cover

Funny Girls - Guffaws Guts and Gender in Classic American Comics

Michelle Ann Abate

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

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Summary

For several generations, comics were regarded as a boy's club--created  by, for, and about men and boys. In the twenty-first century, however,  comics have seen a rise of female creators, characters, and readers.Throughout the first half of the  twentieth century, the medium was enjoyed equally by both sexes, and  girls were the protagonists of some of the earliest, most successful,  and most influential comics. In Funny Girls: Guffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics,  Michelle Ann Abate examines the important but long-overlooked cadre of  young female protagonists in US comics during the first half of the  twentieth century. She treats characters ranging from Little Orphan  Annie and Nancy to Little Lulu, Little Audrey of the Harvey Girls, and  Li'l Tomboy--a group that collectively forms a tradition of funny girls  in American comics.Abate demonstrates the massive popularity  these funny girls enjoyed, revealing their unexplored narrative  richness, aesthetic complexity, and critical possibility. Much of the  humor in these comics arose from questioning gender roles, challenging  social manners, and defying the status quo. Further, they embodied  powerful points of collection about both the construction and  intersection of race, class, gender, and age, as well as popular  perceptions about children, representations of girlhood, and changing  attitudes regarding youth. Finally, but just as importantly, these  strips shed light on another major phenomenon within comics: branding,  licensing, and merchandising. Collectively, these comics did far more  than provide amusement--they were serious agents for cultural commentary  and sociopolitical change.

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