Sunday, August 26, 2012

Number 1216: Bad blondes 2 — more blondes, more bad

Women usually fell into one of three categories in crime comic books: victims, gun molls, or ruthless criminals. These three stories, featuring blondes, fall into the criminal category.

Kathryn Kelly, wife of George “Machine Gun” Kelly, was said to have promoted her husband’s criminal career, much like a publicist or agent. She was arrested right along with him. The story, “Machine Gun Kelly,” is from Avon's All True Detective Cases #3 (1954), reprinted from Famous Gangsters #2 (1951). Kathryn goes from blonde to redhead in this story, but that's no big thing...I've been married to a blonde, brunette and redhead, and they're all the same woman.

Betty-Jane Watson, a tigress with some sharp claws, is hot but hostile. This busty gal busts out of prison. Her tale is told in Prison Break #4 (1952), drawn by Mort Lawrence.

“Angel Face,” aka Connie Farrar, has a face that appears innocent, but she's no angel, she's a devil who murders men when it suits her purposes. She's featured in Underworld True Crime (called Underworld in the indicia) #2, 1948.

These blondes may have more fun, but the guys with them, fun at all.

I showed more bad blondes in Pappy's #1114.


Brian Barnes said...

I love these stories so much, not just for the sensationalism, but the built in 50s attitude where the more sexually attractive the woman (i.e., they're having sex, and she likes it!) the more likely just looking at her will drag any good man to danger and death. It's a look into an America that was showing it's first cracks in the 50s that would eventually lead to the counter culture.

Nothing is more revealing than second story, page 4, panel 1: "Why can't our society protect girls like this?"

Why isn't everybody acting like society wants them to act? We have gender roles for a reason! This will only lead to trouble!

Pappy said...

Brian, I agree with your assessment that all of this was leading up to the counterculture. The '50s was an era before birth control pills or legal abortions, so women who liked sex were “sluts” or wanted to snag a man with a pregnancy. That attitude dies hard, and is still how some people think.

In crime comics or movies how many guys have been lured to their dooms by sex? As for me, I could use a good sexual lure-to-my-doom, but at my age I am more likely to meet my doom another more boring way.

Kirk said...

Unless I'm going blind, you didn't name the artist for the Machine Gun Kelly story, but it reminded me of the pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. No, I don't think Lichtenstein drew the story. It's just that I'm sure I've seen paintings by him (I should warn you I'm no art expert) done by him in just that style, which makes me think Lichtenstein must have used that unknown artist for inspiration at one time. Unless it's just a "house style". Whatever, I find it rather striking, the kind of style that gives "lurid" a good name.

Pappy said...

Kirk, I don't know who the artist(s) on “Machine Gun Kelly” and am past playing guessing games.

As for fine artists ripping off poor working-class comic book artists, that topic has been covered elsewhere. It wasn't unusual for comic book artists to rip off each other, so I'm not sure where the argument is except that the fine art goes for millions, and the comic book artist got paid by the page. I think that would cause feelings of being misused and abused with the comic book artists affected!

Darci said...

Kirk, Pappy,
The GCD notes the Machine Gun Kelly story is reprinted from Famous Gangsters #2 (Dec 1951), where Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. IDs the artist as Leonard Starr.