Retro comic: Millie the Model #128


October 9, 2012 by shepla

Pre-1970s girls’ comics are fascinating. Take this Millie the Model comic from May 1965. Millie and her photographer boyfriend Clicker get engaged.

Millie: “Oh, Clicker darling, I’m so happy I can’t even speak!”

And to her rival Chili: “I hope that you’ll become engaged soon too, Chili dear–so that you can be as happy as I!”

Then Millie learns that wardrobe mistress Agnes was once engaged when she was a model, and it didn’t work out. Mr. Hanover (who runs the agency Millie works at), relays to story to Millie, explaining, “It seems Agnes found that romance and a modeling career just didn’t mix!” Millie gets all freaked out about being engaged because she can’t imagine giving up modeling, and then Clicker gets all weirdly possessive, insisting that he should be the only photographer who takes pictures of his fiancée.

Of course Millie and Clicker make up, and when they’re at dinner a throng of fans stop by their table to congratulate the couple on their engagement. One woman remarks to Millie, “We’re sorry you’ll be giving up modeling–but you’ll probably be happier as a housewife!” Millie’s thought balloon: “What made them think I’ll be giving up modeling?”

The next day Millie decides to have a talk with Clicker to tell him she wants to keep modeling even when she’s married. Chili and fellow model Toni tell her she’s not ready for marriage–and meanwhile, Mr. Hanover tells Clicker the same thing. Millie overhears the conversation and runs to Clicker, thrilled that he feels the same way she does. Millie: “I love you too much to marry you until I’m ready to devote every minute of my life to just being Mrs. Clicker Holbrook–and nothing else!”

How amazing is it that marriage was supposed to be a woman’s sole occupation?! It blows my mind.


9 thoughts on “Retro comic: Millie the Model #128

  1. chris says:

    It seems like even in the mid 60s in a medium that certainly was anything but “cutting edge,” Millie was having some trouble accepting the housewife role. Her initial, gut, instinct was that she still wanted to model, even when she was married. I think the friction between what women were supposed to want, and what they actually did want, has been present well before the feminist explosion of the 60s and 70s, and it’s fascinating to see a hint of that here.

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  3. shepla says:

    Yeah, Millie doesn’t even bring up the idea of being married and still modeling to Clicker like she planned to–she just accepts that if she’s married she’ll be totally devoted to being a housewife. If that’s a girl’s fate after being married why was marriage such desirable goal?

  4. Beth Kawasaki says:

    I met artist Stan Goldberg and his wife at NYCC. They were incredibly kind and so enthusiastic about comics.

  5. Stephen C. says:

    When was this issue of Millie published? Just curious. Old romance comics are pretty fascinating, probably because they seem more out of touch with today’s prevailing attitudes than old comics in any other genre. Are you familiar with John Lustig’s Last Kiss? He purchased the rights to Charlton’s romance comics back in the ’90s and publishes them with new humorous dialogue. Judging from his site, he seems to have settled into mining them for single panel cartoons, but he used to do multi-panel strips and briefly published a comic book with full stories as well.
    A number of other publishers got into the act for a while, including Marvel, publisher of Millie, who rewrote a bunch of their old romance stories in a comic called Marvel Romance Redux maybe ten years ago.

    • shepla says:

      Hi Stephen, it’s from May 1965. I agree–that’s why I LOVE old romance comics. It’s like reading about a story happening in an alien world. I need to check out Last Kiss! On my list! (Or maybe you should write a guest post!! I will reward you with old Millie comics.)

      • Stephen C. says:

        Thanks very much, shepla, but I’m not sure what I would say about it other than I thought it was hilarious. I did post the link to the Last Kiss website above so you and anyone else who’s interested can check it out for yourselves.

  6. timrollpickering says:

    Millie’s series don’t have the best guides online so I don’t know for sure how they covered this but it was about the following year her best friend and co-model Toni Turner got married. Did Toni drop out of modelling & the series or did she hang around and show you could be both married and a career woman? I think she’s still around after the wedding annual but I’m not exactly sure when that fits into Millie continuity.

    (And it’s no doubt complicated by the switch back to comedy from issue #154 onwards. Or that Millie’s “continuity” sometimes exhibited features of the pre-Marvel Age, with key moments in her history often retold in very different ways – there are at least two different versions of how she started at the Hannover agency – and big events happening to characters and then never getting mentioned again.)

    • timrollpickering says:

      I’ve since been able to check and the annual is the penultimate issue of the “soap” era, coming out the same month as #153. The letterspages were answered in character by Millie who stated that one can easily be both a model and married and that Toni was planning to stay in the job for at least a year after marriage. I’ve no idea if #154 was what we now call a reboot and whether Toni was shown as married in the later comedy era.

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