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FUNNY GIRLS Guffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics

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FUNNY GIRLS Guffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics

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Recommended. By Michelle Ann Abate. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, comics were enjoyed equally by both sexes, and girls were the protagonists of some of the earliest, most successful, and most influential comics. Abate, an associate professor of literature, examines the important but long-overlooked cadre of young female protagonists, 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 offbeat titles enjoyed, revealing their unexplored narrative richness, aesthetic complexity, and critical possibility.

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Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, comics were enjoyed equally by both sexes, and girls were the protagonists of some of the earliest, most successful, and most influential comics. Abate, an associate professor of literature, examines the important but long-overlooked cadre of young female protagonists, 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 offbeat titles 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 revealed the 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.

Michelle Ann Abate, Columbus, Ohio, is associate professor of literature for children and young adults at The Ohio State University. She is co-editor with Gwen Athene Tarbox of Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults: A Collection of Critical Essays, published by University Press of Mississippi, and author of four books of literary criticism about children's and young adult literature.

For several generations, comics were regarded as a boy's club--created by, for, and about men and boys from roughly the seventies to the 2000s. But in the twenty-first century, comics have seen a rise of female creators, characters, and readers. Now go back to the roots of comics, when there were titles for all ages and both girls and boys, to discover the wonderful and often surprisingly liberal messages they were quietly putting out to young readers.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Item Code FUNNG
Publisher University of Mississippi Press
Publish Date 2018
ISBN 9781496820730
Binding Soft Cover
Dimensions 6x9
# Pages 202pg
Color Text/b&w
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