sexta-feira, 8 de abril de 2005

Morre Dale Messick

Sobre a morte de uma das maiores cartunistas americanas de todos os tempos. Antes e durante a II Guerra muitas mulheres faziam quadrinhos, depois foram sendo expulsas do meio e esquecidas. Hoje, os caras escrevem a história dos quadrinhos nos EUA, sem sequer citá-las.

Dale Messick, 98, Creator of 'Brenda Starr' Strip, Dies

Published: April 8, 2005

ale Messick, a pioneering newspaper cartoonist who fought her way to the top of a man's profession by creating Brenda Starr, the glamorous red-haired journalist who fought her way to the top of a man's profession, died on Tuesday in Sonoma County, Calif. She was 98.

She died after a long decline that began with a stroke in 1998, her daughter, Starr Rohrman, told The Associated Press. She had been caring for her mother at her home in Penngrove, Calif.

Ms. Messick was born on April 11, 1906; Brenda Starr was born in June 1940. An impossibly glamorous redhead, her appearance was inspired by Rita Hayworth; her first name came from the most famous debutante of the day, Brenda Frazier, and her last name was chosen because she was the star reporter on The Flash.

The Brenda Starr comic strip was a symphony of décolletage, good legs precariously balanced on high-heeled shoes, and Dior-like clothing that no woman would be likely to wear to a newspaper office.

During the war she was an ace reporter, chasing spies and other malefactors in cities and in jungles, fighting off sharks, giant squids and other ravenous animals, but selling war bonds, too. Her red hair was always attractively coiffed; her eyes always glistened with tiny starbursts.

She found time for romance with her mystery man, Basil St. John, a lean, square-jawed hunk who wore an eye patch and whose only other defect was that he was dying of an exotic disease. This frequently sent him to the jungle in search of a rare black orchid whose serum gave him temporary respite. While he was away, Brenda had more suitors than Penelope, but she remained loyal to her true love. Brenda finally married Basil in 1976, whereupon he vanished again on another orchid hunt.

As for Ms. Messick, she was married twice, to Everett George and Oscar Strom, and both marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by her daughter, from her first marriage, and two grandchildren.

Of her heroine's profession, she once explained, "She was already a reporter when the strip started, but she was sick and tired of covering nothing but ice-cream socials. She wanted a job with action, like the men reporters had."

But Ms. Messick knew little about the newspaper business and refused to learn about it, saying it might spoil her imagination.

"Brenda Starr, Reporter" was sometimes criticized by journalists for its outlandish depiction of their profession. In one strip, Brenda brings a typed story to The Flash late at night and hands it to a custodian, who somehow gets it into the next day's paper. On another occasion, she finds herself in an airplane she cannot fly, so she parachutes to safety, somehow landing in front of her editor's window.

And, in perhaps the greatest breach of authenticity, she talks back to her managing editor.

Ms. Messick hired other people to draw cars and other mechanical contraptions, animals and nature scenes. But for four decades, only she drew Brenda Starr's face and body.

Dalia Messick, born in South Bend, Ind., spent two years in the third grade and two years in the eighth grade and did not get her high school diploma until she was 20, and then only at the urging of her parents, Cephas Messick, a sign painter and vocational arts teacher, and Bertha Messick, a milliner; her work inspired some of Brenda's fetching hats.

Ms. Messick changed her name to Dale after she encountered discrimination against women entering the newspaper cartooning business. She told Norma Lee Browning of The Saturday Evening Post: "Brenda is the glamorous girl I wished I was. . . . She's what most women wish they were and what most men wish their women were, too."

She originally thought of her character as a girl bandit, but was talked into making her a reporter by an aide to Joseph Medill Patterson, founder and publisher of The Daily News of New York and head of The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate.

Ms. Messick had started drawing comic strips in school. After leaving school, she studied art for a summer in Chicago and worked for greeting card companies there and in New York, continuing to work on her comic strips at night. None were published until "Brenda Starr" was accepted by the syndicate.

After Brenda Starr appeared, Ms. Messick dyed her hair red to match Brenda's. "I am Brenda Starr," she would say to interviewers.

"Brenda Starr" was twice adapted for the screen, first as a 1945 serial with Joan Woodbury, and later as a feature movie starring Brooke Shields. Shot in 1986, it was not released until 1992, when it opened to dismal notices. Ms. Messick warned everyone she met not to see it.

However, over the years, there were Brenda Starr dolls and even a postage stamp with Brenda's likeness on it, part of a series on 20 classic comic characters.

At its height, "Brenda Starr" appeared in 250 papers and is still syndicated by Tribune Media Services. Ms. Messick retired from drawing the strip in the mid-1980's, and it was passed on to other artists, all women. She said she did not like the way later versions of Brenda Starr looked.

In the 1990's, she developed a new comic character called "Granny Glamour," who appeared in a single-panel cartoon in a publication for the elderly in California.

In her 80's, she boasted of juggling three boyfriends simultaneously.

"All three wouldn't make one good man," she told an interviewer, "but at my age, you can't be too choosy."

Fonte: The New York Times

Dale Messick, creator of Brenda Starr comic strip, dead at age 98

Associated Press
Posted April 7 2005, 3:06 PM EDT

PENNGROVE, Calif. -- Dale Messick, whose long-running comic strip Brenda Starr, Reporter'' gave her entry into the male world of the funny pages, has died at age 98.

Messick, whose strip ran in 250 newspapers at its peak in the 1950s, died Tuesday, said her daughter, Starr Rohrman, who had been caring for her mother in Sonoma County.

Messick _ who jettisoned her given name Dalia to further her career _ once said Brenda had everything I didn't have.'' But she charmed acquaintances with spunk and style worthy of her redheaded creation.

Mixing hot copy with high fashion, Brenda plunged from one thrilling adventure to another, sassing her tough-talking editor, Mr. Livwright, and sometimes filing her copy with the only person left in the newsroom, the cleaning woman. As World War II raged Brenda did her part, parachuting into action _ every red hair in place.

Most comics, the main characters are heroes, guys, and they don't write for women,'' Messick told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. I was a woman so I was writing for women and I think that's what put her over.''

Brenda would later come under fire for being too preoccupied with her looks and her men, and too far removed from the routine of real newspaperwomen: city council meetings and supermarket openings.

I used to get letters from girl reporters saying that their lives were nowhere near as exciting as Brenda's,'' Messick told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1986. I told them that if I made Brenda's life like theirs, nobody would read it.''

Young women looked at Brenda and dreamed of adventure. Young men liked the strip, too, and quite a few, thinking they were dealing with one of the boys, asked Dale'' for private sketches of Brenda in sexier poses than a family newspaper could bear. Messick obliged once by sending back a saucy picture of Brenda in a barrel going over Niagara Falls. Attached was a note: Is this daring enough?''

Born in South Bend, Ind., on April 11, 1906, Messick studied art and got a job at one greeting card company and then another, working on her strips at night.

Her break came when her work came to the attention of publisher Joseph M. Patterson. Patterson, reputed to be no fan of women cartoonists, wouldn't take the slot for daily publication but it began running in the Sunday comics in 1940.

The name came from a '30s debutante; she borrowed the figure and flowing red hair from film star Rita Hayworth. The love of Brenda's life was the mysterious Basil St. John, a man with an eyepatch and a mysterious illness that could be cured only with a serum taken from black orchids growing in the Amazon jungle.

The orchids were fantasy, but Basil was based on a real-life assistant artist Messick hired to help do lettering. I was intrigued with him. He was so handsome,'' she said. But the real-life artist couldn't letter and was fired.

Basil courted Brenda for three decades. When they finally married in the 1970s, President Ford sent congratulations.

Messick retired from the strip in 1985. It is still running, now written by Mary Schmich and drawn by June Brigman.

Messick thought the modern Brenda had lost some of her oomph. And she had nothing good to say about the various movie versions of Brenda, particularly the 1986 bomb with Brooke Shields and Timothy Dalton.

Messick received the National Cartoonist Society's Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. In old age, Messick moved to Northern California to be near her daughter and two grandchildren, Curt and Laura. She joked about writing her autobiography, Still Stripping at 80'' _ never completed but retitled a decade later to Still Stripping at 90.'' She did write a single-panel strip Granny Glamour'' until age 92.

Messick had a stroke in 1998, her daughter said. She just went into a decline after that. She couldn't draw anymore,'' Rohrman said.

South Florida

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