Mopsy could easily be the most unique comics in my collection. Not only is the series drawn by one of the few female comic artists of the time (Gladys Parker) but its also published by the small St. John publishing (where Lily Renee’ and Matt Barker were also working).
The different look of Mopsy compared to traditional, male drawn good girl art was honed years earlier drawing the Flapper Fanny comic strip. The Mopsy comic strip started in 1939 and rather incredibly, according to “Meet the Artists” Parker “got the idea for Mopsy when the cartoonist Rube Goldberg said my hair looked like a mop.”
Engineers and business theorists might recognize the name Rube Goldberg – a Rube Goldberg machine is a common term still used today to describe any process that has become unnecessarily complex in its design. (Goldberg’s cartoons became well known for depicting devices that performed simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways).
Mopsy was one of St. John’s longer lasting titles, and unlike many comics of the time, Parker was producing original stories for the comic books rather than relying on reprinted comic strips.
The newspaper article mentions Parker was married to WWII veteran and artist, Stookie Allen. She also displayed a penchant for fashion (clearly shown in her witty, low dialog artwork). She designed her own clothing line, is credited in the 1940 movie Private Affairs with lead star Nancy Kelly’s gown and published popular paper dolls in her comics. Parker is pictured here with actress Dorothy Lamour. By the end of the 1940s, Mopsy was published in 300 newspapers.
Issues #12, #14 (the cover of which was reprinted in 1955 on TV Teen’s #8) , #15* and #16* were all published in 1953. Interestingly #14 is printed in the 7″ 1/4th size, while #15* and #16* are in the wider, traditional Golden Age 7″ 3/4 size – suggesting St. John’s might have been experimenting with different printers.
* Sold copy