Millie the Model
Millie the Model
Millie the Model #40 (Spring 1953).
Cover art by Dan DeCarlo
Publication information Publisher Timely Comics; Atlas Comics; Marvel Comics Format Ongoing series Number of issues Issue #1-207 (Winter 1945 - Dec. 1973) Main character(s) Millie Collins, Chili Storm, Toni Turner Creative team Writer(s) Stan Lee, others Artist(s) Ruth Atkinson, [Mike Sekowsky]], Dan DeCarlo, Stan Goldberg
Millie the Model was Marvel Comics' longest-running humor title, first published by the company's 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and continuing through its 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics, to 1970s Marvel.
The series ran 207 issues (cover-dated Winter 1945 to Dec. 1973), a 28-year span that included one of the first Marvel Comics annuals (in 1962), and spin-offs including A Date with Millie, Life with Millie, Mad About Millie and Modelling with Millie. Initially a humorous career-gal book about New York City model Millie Collins, it very quickly evolved into a broader, more slapsticky comedy — though for a time becoming a romantic adventure series with all the same characters (#113-153, March 1963 - Aug. 1967) before returning to humor.
The premiere issue was penciled and inked by Ruth Atkinson, one of the pioneering women cartoonists in comic books; some sources credit her with creating the character, while others say it was a co-creation with writer and Timely editor-in-chief Stan Lee. Alden Getz also claimed that he created the character when working at Timely. Following this first issue, subsequent early stories were drawn mostly by Timely staffer Mike Sekowsky.
The character's essential look, however, was the work of future Archie Comics great Dan DeCarlo, who would later create Josie and the Pussycats and other Archie icons. DeCarlo's remarkable 10-year run on the series, from #18-93 (June 1949 - Nov. 1959), was succeeded by the team of writer Stan Lee, Marvel's editor-in-chief, and artist Stan Goldberg, a.k.a. "Stan G.", the main Atlas/Marvel colorist at the time. Goldberg mimicked the house style DeCarlo set, and later went on to work with him at Archie, as did occasional Millie artist Henry Scarpelli. Al Hartley and Ogden Whitney provided an occasional cover.
The occasional backup feature included a four-page "Powerhouse Pepper" story by famed cartoonist Basil Wolverton in #9, and work by humorist Harvey Kurtzman in #8, 10-11, 13-14, & 16. Lee and Goldberg had Marvel artist and major industry figure Jack Kirby guest-star in a story in #107 (March 1962), though the image itself did not particularly look Kirby.
Millie became part of the Marvel Universe with Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), which chronicled the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm: Fellow humor-comic stars Patsy Walker and Hedy Wolfe, among the sidewalk crowd outside, talk about wanting to catch a glimpse of celebrity Millie, whom they've heard is on the guest list. Alex Ross depicted her at the ceremony when he revisited the wedding in the 1990s miniseries Marvels.
She reappeared in the 1980s as an older character running her own modeling agency and minding her niece, the titular star of writer-artist Trina Robbins' Misty (Dec. 1985 - May 1986), from Marvel's children's-oriented Star Comics imprint. Millie has also appeared in the superhero comics The Defenders #65 (Nov. 1978); Dazzler #34 (Oct. 1985), along with Chili; The Sensational She-Hulk #60 (Feb. 1994); and in the kitschy flashback series The Age of the Sentry #3 (Jan. 2009).
Mille starred alongside Patsy Walker and Mary Jane Watson in a 23-page story "Un-enchanted Evening", by writer Paul Tobin and artist Colleen Coover, in King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special #1 (Oct. 2008). Millie stars in the four-issue miniseries Models, Inc. (Oct. 2009 - Jan. 2010).
Fictional character biography
Millie Collins worked as a model for the Hanover Agency, where her boyfriend was photographer Clicker (originally Flicker). Her best friend was Toni Turner, and redheaded model Chili Storm her friendly nemesis. (Millie: "Sorry I'm late! I just got back from the beauty parlor!" Chili: "Too bad they didn't have time to take you!")
In other media
A 1986 Off-Broadway musical, Dial "M" For Model by John Epperson, inspired by Millie, was staged at LaMaMa E.T.C. Not a direct adaptation, it featured, for instance, the female impersonator Lypsinka as Mannequin St. Claire, a character based on Chili.
In 2003, Marvel's then-president, Bill Jemas, told the press there were plans to reimagine Millie as a 15-year-old tennis player for a comic-book series called 15 Love, to be targeted at teenaged girls. The possibility of a Millie movie was also mentioned at that time. 15 Love was eventually published in 2011. Written by Andi Watson, it featured Millie Collins' niece, Mill Collins, the lowest-ranking student at the Wayde Tennis Academy, who is about to lose her scholarship and must convince her aunt and others not to give up on her. It is set to run for three issues, with each as a double-sized 56 page story. 
Spin-offs and annuals
- A Date with Millie #1-7 (Oct. 1956 - Aug. 1957)
- A Date with Millie vol. 2, #1-7 (Oct. 1959 - Oct. 1960), continues as
- Life With Millie #8-20 (Dec. 1960 - Dec. 1962), continues as
- Modelling with Millie #21-54 (Feb. 1963 - June 1967)
- Mad about Millie #1-17 (April 1969 - Dec. 1970)
- Mad about Millie Annual #1 (1971)
- Chili, Millie's Rival #1-26 (May 1969 - Dec. 1973)
- Chili, Millie's Rival Special #1 (1971)
- Millie the Model Annual #1-10 (1962–1971), continues as
- Queen-Size Millie the Model #11-12 (1974–1975)
- Atlas Tales: Millie the Model
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
- Millie the Model at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original November 8, 2011
- Independent Heroes from the U.S.A.: Millie the Model - (Note: Erroneously states the comic started with issue #2.)
- McGeehan, Ed (October 3, 1997). "Ink Blots". Column from Comic Artists Professional Society monthly newsletter, via "Cartoon News and Views" (column; ed. Daryl Cagle), MSNBC.com. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080509123725/http://cagle.msnbc.com/prolinks/library/mcGeean/newsviews2.asp. Includes obituary for Ruth Atkinson Ford, giving death date of June 1, 1997.
- The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Jack Kirby
- The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, 23rd ed. ISBN 0-380-77220-5
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