. . . Brenda Starr

. . .

so much the lesse charity unto man

Resentment toward PETA seems to be widening; myself, I thought they went as low as they could go with the "Laura Palmer" campaign and then just broke out their lounge chairs and stayed there. There's something so pure about using a sexually enticing naked dead woman to publicize animal rights... I bet the PETA folks were really teed off that Hustler came up with the model-in-a-hamburger-grinder idea first: "The Other White Meat."

American politics isn't built of coalitions but of flash cards; we're willing to abandon any previously maintained sense of morality to scramble to the new high ground of focus. But when it comes to violent imagery, give me frustrated lust over self-righteousness any time....

Your rabbit's happier
"Brenda Starr" panel by Fradon & Schmich

. . .

It's the BEST cup of COFFEE I've had in a LONG time.

The most underpraised comic strip of the 1980s and early 1990s was "Brenda Starr." Artist Ramona Fradon adapted the scratchy legacy of the strip's creator, Dale Messick, into a unique and surprisingly flexible look of thrift-shop fantasy -- like a Poverty Row serial version of MGM Technicolor soap -- entirely appropriate to the scripts of Linda Sutter and, later, Mary Schmich, which fused the conventions of romance, adventure, and gag-a-day sit-com comics into a high-camp (and glacially paced) original.

In 1996, June Brigman took over as artist. I still haven't cottoned to her super-clean Barbie-ish style, and her increasing reliance on recycled panel art casts a defeatist tone over the whole enterprise -- read a week or two at one sitting and it starts to seem like "Red Meat." And Schmich's storyline of last fall and winter suffered from a wooziness that seemed part too-old-hat (meeting the lovable homeless people) and part too-current-events (a biological warfare twist unfortunately coincided with the anthrax scare).

But the current storyline is a return to full hoot, dragging Starr back to her glamour girl roots (with a fashion editor whose critical eye reminds me as much of Dale Messick as of Helen Gurley-Brown or Diana Vreeland) and rewarding her (and our) dogged persistence by finally dishing her a full night alone with one of those dangerous hunks:

"Why don't you come back after work? We'll TALK some more."
Hurrah for Production Code codewords!
  They're like coffee From the Fradon years

. . .

More scoop on La Starr: From exotic Chicago, land of Mary Schmich, our esteemed colleague Stumpshaker has supplied new insight into fashion editor Ms. Cozmo's reaction to Brenda's nom-de-mode: "Intelligentsia? Sounds about as sexy as a bag of coffee."   Support local business


Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
Public domain work remains in the public domain.
All other material: Copyright 2015 Ray Davis.