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  • Writer's pictureKelly Sue DeConnick

March 3rd: Tarpé Mills

Author of “Miss Fury,” the First Female Action Hero Created by a Woman

Tarpé Mills, born June Tarpé Mills on February 25, 1912, is recognized as one of the earliest and most significant female artists in the American comic book industry. Her groundbreaking contributions, particularly her creation of Miss Fury, defied gender barriers in the profession.

Before Miss Fury debuted 1941, Mills had already made her mark in the industry creating several action heroes and working on multiple series, but it was Miss Fury that hit. The strip--which predated Wonder Woman's debut by six months--introduced readers to Marla Drake, a socialite who transformed into the titular character to combat villains and embark on thrilling adventures. Tarpé Mills' creation garnered immense popularity, running in full color in Sunday comics for 351 consecutive weeks from 1942 to 1949 and published in over 100 newspapers at its peak. Mills’ innovative approach to storytelling, coupled with a keen focus on fashion in her artwork, set her work apart from that of her male peers.

Despite that, her legacy as the first woman to create a female action hero in comics went largely uncelebrated until her induction into the ComicCon Eisner Hall of Fame on July 19, 2019. 

Tarpé Mills' significance in the history of comic books and her role in paving the way for future generations of women in the industry deserves to be seen and remembered. 

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