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Millie the Model #1-207 (Winter 1945 – Dec. 1973).
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).
Millie Collins worked as a model for the Hanover Modeling Agency, where her boyfriend was photographer Clicker (originally Flicker). At the start of the series her best friend was Toni Turner while later on in the series Toni became less of a regular and Millie’s best friend and confidant was Daisy, the agency's wardrobe assistant. Near the end of the series Millie and Daisy shared an apartment.
Throughout the series redheaded model Chili Storm was Millie’s friendly nemesis. (Millie: "Sorry I'm late! I just got back from the salon!" Chili: "Too bad they didn't have time to take you!" Millie [ringing phone drawn in foreground]: “Oh, there’s the phone.” Chili: “Wow! I’ll bet you can also identify doorbells and auto horns!”). When Millie wasn't around, however, Chili would sometimes speak up for her colleague. Chili starred in her own 1969-1973 spin-off series.
Later in the Millie the Model series, in addition to regular appearances by Millie, Chili, Clicker and Daisy, there were occasional appearances by Mr. Hanover himself; Toni Turner (who was at the time appearing much less regularly than Daisy); Marvin (and colleague), who helped with agency sets and maintenance; Chili's wealthy boyfriend Reginald; and Miss Scrubbley. Very late in the series, Mr. Hanover had an air-headed platinum blonde, Dolly, as his administrative assistant.
The series won an Alley Award for "Best Romance Comic" at the 1968 New York Comic Art Convention. The Millie character was ranked 90th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
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.
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