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Debbie Dean, Career Girl #1 was published in April 1945, followed by #2 in July 1945 by Civil Service Publications, Inc. Interestingly, the only other comics ever published by them was a single issue of Vic Jordan #1 also in April 1945.

Six pages inside Debbie Dean #1 feature a story titled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story.

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Created by Bert Whitman as a smart girl for smart readers, Debbie Dean stood out from much of the slapstick GGA (Good Girl Art) work at the time from Marvel. The book consists of reprints of the syndicated newspaper strip of the same name that began in January of 1942. The strip portrays Debbie as a newspaper reporter, a common occupation for characters of that era. In her investigative role, she gets entangled in various gang and sports corruption mysteries. However, the strip met its demise in 1949 when the censorship board banned it after Whitman used the word “dope” (referring to drugs) in one of the strips.

Whitman, a self-taught artist, ventured into comic books in 1939 after various newspaper stints. He illustrated characters such as Dr. Mortal, Balbo Boy Magician, Navy Jones, and Nyoka the Jungle Girl for publishers like Fox Feature Syndicate Comics and Fawcett. Additionally, Whitman acquired the rights to The Green Hornet and formed Bert Whitman Associates, hiring artists to produce six issues with scripts from the radio show for Helnit Publishing. He later sold The Green Hornet rights to Harvey. Dynamite Entertainment reprinted Whitman’s series in 2010.

Debbie Dean’s investigative prowess led her straight into the heart of trouble, but it wasn’t the villains or the mysteries that did her in – it was a simple word, “dope,” that landed her in hot water with the censorship board. Looks like even in the world of comics, playing with words can be a risky business!

* Sold Copy