"Mopsy Modes" from Mopsy #19 (St. John, September 1953), pencils and inks by Gladys Parker
Mopsy! She's the sexy-sweet heartthrob of a generation! But sadly, this current generation has mostly forgotten all about her.
Cover of Mopsy #19 (St. John, September 1953), pencils and inks by Gladys Parker
A glamour-girl pin-up style humor cartoon (in the vein of, say, the much more well-known Fritzi Ritz, before her brillo-haired niece took over the strip), Mopsy was created by one of the important (albeit few) female cartoonists of the Golden Age, Gladys Parker, who based the character on herself when Rube Goldberg once told her that her hair looked like a mop. Note the resemblance:
National Cartoonist Society bio of Gladys Parker, with art by Gladys Parker
Mopsy began as a single-panel comic and Sunday color gag strip in 1939, and made the leap to comic books when several of the strips were reprinted in St. John's Pageant of Comics #1 (September 1947). She eventually eventually graduated to her own comic book in 1947 featuring reprints and new stories, plus features, jokes, and paper dolls reprinted from the Sunday strip. Some of these stories were later reprinted in Charlton's 1950s series TV Teens, but they're still difficult to find!
Strip from Mopsy #19 (St. John, September 1953), pencils and inks by Gladys Parker
Classy and never crude, Mopsy nevertheless skimmed the edge of sexy good-girl art with her frequent moments in bathing suits and lingerie, but the female-drawn strip never crossed the line into pure cheesecake.
Mopsy was always sexy and elegant. Her fashions were shall we say to die for. It's no wonder Parker was an accomplished prolific fashion designer as well:
Even when it titillated and teased, the Mopsy strip was all in good fun, and always beautifully drawn.
Sadly mostly forgotten today, Gladys Parker's Mopsy is a delight, and it oughta be collected in a trade paperback somewhere. I'm looking at you, Fantagraphics, Drawn + Quarterly, or Yoe! Books. Get together a lovely remastered collection, get Trina Robbins (whose artwork is noticeably influence by Parker) to edit or do an introduction, and reintroduce the world to Mopsy. I'll be first in line to buy it.
Mopsy mass-market paperback collection (Berkley Books, 1955), pencils and inks by Gladys Parker
More About Mopsy:
- Gladys Parker at Lambiek Comiclopedia
- Gladys Parker on Wikipedia
- Mopsy on ComicVine
- Mopsy on Don Markstein's Toonopedia
- Mopsy on Pinterest
- Original art of a Mopsy gag panel
- A lengthy Mopsy post, with several scans, from Collectors Society Message Boards
- Short video of Mopsy art (with Italian text and anachronistic Depression-era soundtrack)