Sometimes you run into a comic and wonder why it doesn’t seem to be more in demand. I guess that’s just what makes for a good deal. In this case, we have a cover that celebrates the strong, capable woman in a way that I haven’t seen on a Golden Age comic book from this time.
I realize I covered Famous Funnies in an earlier post, but this particular cover touches on so many Golden Age era themes I thought it deserved its own.
Artist Alexander Kostuk (who also went by Alex Koster) pays homage to cultural icon Rosie the Riveter using one of the first female comic superheroes (because of her invisibility) Scarlet O’Neil. Numbered #110 the book dates from September 1943. This was right in the middle of U.S. involvement in World War II (beginning December 1941 and ending May and September 1945). And there is a story behind the curious torch with “WWW” – Women War Workers.
As it turns out, this was an official logo created for the express purpose of a “Women at Work Cover Promotion.” The Magazine War Guide (part of the U.S. Office of War Information) recommended all magazines participate with their September 1943 publications. The slogan for this campaign was “The More Women at Work the Sooner We Win.”
Norman Rockwell got behind the effort, painting “Liberty Girl’ for the Saturday Evening Post. I was able to find a number of participating magazines (images below). In regard to comics, this appears to be the only one published with the promotion (others stuck to the standard buy war bonds theme with superheroes beating up the enemy). Superman that month was a classic image of him standing strong with the American flag in hand!
History Channel’s video coverage of Rosie the Riveter does a much better job reviewing her role in history than I can here. Suffice to say, all the women who rolled up their sleeves combined with government and private business efforts to employ and recognize their efforts represented an important gender role inflection point in American culture.