Friday, February 14, 2014

Brenda Starr: A Dream Come True

This is my own personal geeky triumph.  For YEARS, I collected Brenda Starr Reporter comic strips.  My Grandmother would save the comics section from the Washington Star for me every weekend.  She'd fold them, then stack them up daily on top of the fridge next to the toaster, for my weekend visits.  I was regaled by Brenda's adventures with her Mystery Man, Basil St. John.  The Washington Star folded and I lost touch with Brenda.  As a young adult, I started making trips to the library.  I discovered microfiche!!!  Sound ancient?  It is.  Really.  I found Brenda in the P.G. Journal, then the Chicago Tribune.  What followed was complete insanity.  Every AWS day, every other Tuesday off (Government speak for: Alternative Work Schedule - a day off), I would go to the library and print out a ton of Brendas.  It took YEARS to compile everything.  But, I did it.  I shrank them down, lined them up, taped them to pages, then bound them together as spirals.  Before I knew it, I had almost all of Brenda's adventures from 1948 - 1995.  The 40s were a little harder to find, but I got some good stuff!!!  I went to a convention.  I met Ramona Fradon who drew Brenda for 15 years and even worked with the comic goddess herself --- Dale Messick!!!!  Well, I do things obsessively.  I'll binge on creativity.  And, I binged on the Dale Messick/Ramona Fradon years of the Brenda Starr strips I'd collected.  I put them together in cute little spirals, created covers and marketed them --- to myself!!!!  I have four beautiful Brenda Starr volumes.  And, I just wanted to say --- Yahoo!!!  At last!!!  A dream come true!!!!  (Can't you see how happy I am?)

And, Brenda is still being commemorated.  Effanbee and Tonner Dolls has an entire line of Brenda dolls.  There's a chapter movie in 1945 starring Joan Woodbury.  Then, there's a movie in 1976 with Jill St. John as our glamorous red head.  And then, one in 1986 (though released in 1992) with the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Brooke Shields.  Plus, the books just keep coming.  Brenda paper dolls.  Brenda's first have been adventures reprinted:  Brenda's dailies (Even though it skipped stories!!!).  And, now --- Brenda comic books in bondage!!!  Shriek!  Gasp!  Clutch!  (Well, not really in bondage.  The covers were just re-drawn that way with beautiful new covers of "good girls in bad situations" before the comics codes during the Jack Kamen Period - pre-comics code.)  All I can say is --- bring on more Brenda Starr!!!

And, here's more!!!


John Mulholland said...

Terrific stuff! Never knew that there was another guy out there who saved comic strips. Mine was the Heart Of Juliet Jones, dailies and Sundays. Thank you for sharing your passion, and the complexity of saving newspaper comics. I'm gay, natch, and perhaps it's a gay thing?

Victor Hodge said...

It very well could be a gay thing! :-). Haw!!! I have loved Brenda Starr forever. I wish her strip could have ended on a higher note. I wish she and Basil would have gotten back together and their final adventure would have been to be reunited with their daughter, Starr Twinkle. Brenda helped so many others find happiness with a make over, marriage bliss and riding off into the sunset. Dale Messick would have done the same.

Karrie simone said...

Wow, I wish there was a way to buy your compilations, been looking for 1974 through the Frandon stuff for years.

Karrie simone said...

Do you sell these been looking for a complelation like this for years('74-the Frandon years I recall fondly.