New Reviews of Old Comics
Wow. What was I thinking buying this damn thing?
I mean what the hell was Millie the Model supposed to be?
a) Marvel’s answer to Archie
b) Marvel’s attempt to woo female readers
d) No one cares
What’s more surprising?
a) I bought this
b) I read it
c) The title lasted at least 197 issues
d) I haven’t lined the bird cage with it yet
For those uninitiated readers (and I only know as much as I learned in this one, so I’m not an authority by any means) Millie, as the title implies, is a model. A blond fashion model who is more than a little ditzy. Something you don’t see every day, right? She looks a lot like a character from Archie comics and hangs out with a bunch of kids who look so much like Archie characters that Eli Whitney could have invented them. All stories are “by Stan Lee and Stan G” and while I’m not shocked that Stan “The Man” Lee, creator of Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Hulk and countless other comic icons also wrote Millie the Model I’m going to assume he did for the money.
The first story has Millie and her photography boyfriend, Clicker, finishing a shoot when he reveals his surprise; a color TV. This leads to some hi-jinks of Clicker trying to fix the TV reception, being called a Peeping Tom, collared by the cops, Millie making it worse, then making it better by giving Clicker’s new TV away to his landlady to help smooth over that Peeping Tom business. Uh, maybe the next story will be better.
Chili is also a model, but she’s a redhead and apparently Millie’s rival; like a hammer is a rival to a nail apparently, because Millie gets all of the best jobs, best dates and everyone just like her more. Her psychiatrist (and maybe her dad) hypnotizes her into forgetting about Millie altogether. He’s so successful in fact that Chili forgets why she was even there and refuses to pay his bill because she doesn’t have any problems. Moving on.
The last story again has Chili and Millie competing for the same modeling gig, and the judge turns out to be Chili’s cousin. Chili’s cousin also happens to be p-whipped by some large, mean woman wearing an ugly hat, who doesn’t like her husband getting all of this attention from the young, nubile ladies. While Chili tries to charm and flirt with her cousin (was this story set in Appalachia?) Millie charms the wife thinking she will tell her judge husband to pick Millie. The judge winds up picking his wife as the top model (smart man), but Chili doesn’t care as long as Millie didn’t win. Bitch.
There are a couple pin-up pages to wrap up the issue. Ho-hum. Cover to cover I would say I spent about five minutes reading this comic. Was it the worst thing I ever read? No. I did finish it after all. Will I buy another issue of Millie the Model? No. I’m sure I can find better ways to spend a dollar. I do appreciate the wholesome fun in these stories. A comic like this today would probably have Millie and Chili walking around swearing, wearing nothing but thongs, getting drunk and then ripping each other’s hair out when they discover they like the same boy. Or girl. Or both.
Best Ad: There are no less than three body building ads in the issue, including the classic Charles Atlas ad with the cartoon of the wimp getting sand kicked in his face. What is it with body building ads in comic books? They have pictures of Mr. Universe and Mr. USA body builders hawking their books, records or other passive media, urging readers to look like them. I’d be more impressed if there was a true story about a real comic book geek who took one of these courses and actually got into that kind of shape. Yeah, I know he would have to do it by working out ALL THE TIME, which I’m not interested in actually doing (but like the thought of, for about ten seconds), I’d just be impressed that one of our own actually achieved this superior human physique that is always dangled in front of us. And then he’d be the jerk kicking sand in that poor dude’s face. Oh, what a vicious cycle!
This issue also has another piece to my Grit mystery. Toward the back there is a ½ page display ad done in a very poor comic book style where a young lad, Jimmy, asks his dad about making some extra money. The dad suggests the boy follow dear ol’ dad’s path and sell Grit. By selling this weekly paper he can make seven cents clear profit on every copy. Seven cents. Did you read that right? SEVEN CENTS. Even in 1972, seven cents ain’t getting you much. You’d have to sell three issue of Grit to get one Millie the Model mag. In another panel of this ad, Jimmy is selling a copy of Grit for 20 cents! Meaning he has to buy them for 13 cents apiece. What if he doesn’t sell them all? Then he’s stuck with all of these crappy newspapers no one wants. Boy capitalism can be a real bastard. I’m hoping one day I’ll find a really good Grit ad that will explain this whole thing to me. I see how Grit stayed in business; I just don’t see why anyone would get involved with selling it.