No tears but plenty of roses for a strong lady :thmbup:
Dale Messick, 98, Creator of 'Brenda Starr' Strip, Dies
By RICHARD SEVERO - Published: April 8, 2005 (New York Times)
Dale Messick, a pioneering newspaper cartoonist who fought her way to the top of a man's profession by creating Brenda Starr, the glamorous red-haired journalist who fought her way to the top of a man's profession, died on Tuesday in Sonoma County, Calif. She was 98.
She died after a long decline that began with a stroke in 1998, her daughter, Starr Rohrman, told The Associated Press. She had been caring for her mother at her home in Penngrove, Calif.
Ms. Messick was born on April 11, 1906; Brenda Starr was born in June 1940. An impossibly glamorous redhead, her appearance was inspired by Rita Hayworth; her first name came from the most famous debutante of the day, Brenda Frazier, and her last name was chosen because she was the star reporter on The Flash.
The Brenda Starr comic strip was a symphony of décolletage, good legs precariously balanced on high-heeled shoes, and Dior-like clothing that no woman would be likely to wear to a newspaper office.
During the war she was an ace reporter, chasing spies and other malefactors in cities and in jungles, fighting off sharks, giant squids and other ravenous animals, but selling war bonds, too. Her red hair was always attractively coiffed; her eyes always glistened with tiny starbursts.
She found time for romance with her mystery man, Basil St. John, a lean, square-jawed hunk who wore an eye patch and whose only other defect was that he was dying of an exotic disease. This frequently sent him to the jungle in search of a rare black orchid whose serum gave him temporary respite. While he was away, Brenda had more suitors than Penelope, but she remained loyal to her true love. Brenda finally married Basil in 1976, whereupon he vanished again on another orchid hunt.
As for Ms. Messick, she was married twice, to Everett George and Oscar Strom, and both marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by her daughter, from her first marriage, and two grandchildren.
Of her heroine's profession, she once explained, "She was already a reporter when the strip started, but she was sick and tired of covering nothing but ice-cream socials. She wanted a job with action, like the men reporters had."
But Ms. Messick knew little about the newspaper business and refused to learn about it, saying it might spoil her imagination.
"Brenda Starr, Reporter" was sometimes criticized by journalists for its outlandish depiction of their profession. In one strip, Brenda brings a typed story to The Flash late at night and hands it to a custodian, who somehow gets it into the next day's paper. On another occasion, she finds herself in an airplane she cannot fly, so she parachutes to safety, somehow landing in front of her editor's window.
And, in perhaps the greatest breach of authenticity, she talks back to her managing editor.
Ms. Messick hired other people to draw cars and other mechanical contraptions, animals and nature scenes. But for four decades, only she drew Brenda Starr's face and body.
Dalia Messick, born in South Bend, Ind., spent two years in the third grade and two years in the eighth grade and did not get her high school diploma until she was 20, and then only at the urging of her parents, Cephas Messick, a sign painter and vocational arts teacher, and Bertha Messick, a milliner; her work inspired some of Brenda's fetching hats.
Ms. Messick changed her name to Dale after she encountered discrimination against women entering the newspaper cartooning business. She told Norma Lee Browning of The Saturday Evening Post: "Brenda is the glamorous girl I wished I was. . . . She's what most women wish they were and what most men wish their women were, too."
She originally thought of her character as a girl bandit, but was talked into making her a reporter by an aide to Joseph Medill Patterson, founder and publisher of The Daily News of New York and head of The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate.
Ms. Messick had started drawing comic strips in school. After leaving school, she studied art for a summer in Chicago and worked for greeting card companies there and in New York, continuing to work on her comic strips at night. None were published until "Brenda Starr" was accepted by the syndicate.
After Brenda Starr appeared, Ms. Messick dyed her hair red to match Brenda's. "I am Brenda Starr," she would say to interviewers.
"Brenda Starr" was twice adapted for the screen, first as a 1945 serial with Joan Woodbury, and later as a feature movie starring Brooke Shields. Shot in 1986, it was not released until 1992, when it opened to dismal notices. Ms. Messick warned everyone she met not to see it.
However, over the years, there were Brenda Starr dolls and even a postage stamp with Brenda's likeness on it, part of a series on 20 classic comic characters.
At its height, "Brenda Starr" appeared in 250 papers and is still syndicated by Tribune Media Services. Ms. Messick retired from drawing the strip in the mid-1980's, and it was passed on to other artists, all women. She said she did not like the way later versions of Brenda Starr looked.
In the 1990's, she developed a new comic character called "Granny Glamour," who appeared in a single-panel cartoon in a publication for the elderly in California.
In her 80's, she boasted of juggling three boyfriends simultaneously.
"All three wouldn't make one good man," she told an interviewer, "but at my age, you can't be too choosy."
(c) Tribune Media Services