Mopsy #14

Mopsy #14

Gladys Parker, a pioneering American cartoonist, fashion designer, and illustrator, left an indelible mark on both the comic strip world and the fashion industry. Born in 1908 in New York City, Parker’s career began in fashion illustration for department stores and magazines.

In 1939, Parker introduced “Mopsy,” a comic strip that quickly garnered acclaim for its sharp humor, endearing characters, and Parker’s distinct artistic flair. Notably, Parker’s earlier work on “Flapper Fanny” honed her style, offering a refreshing departure from traditional, male-drawn “good girl art.”

“Mopsy” centered around the adventures of a stylish young

Mopsy #12

Mopsy #12

woman named Mopsy, drawing inspiration from Parker’s own experiences in fashion. The idea for Mopsy reportedly originated from a remark by cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who likened Parker’s hair to a mop—an anecdote that encapsulates Parker’s whimsical creativity.

Mopsy #15

Mopsy #15

Beyond her comic strip, Parker made significant contributions to fashion, designing her own clothing line and even receiving credit for costume design in the 1940 film “Private Affairs,” starring Nancy Kelly. Additionally, Parker’s popular paper dolls featured in her comics further showcased her versatility and talent. Here Parker is pictured with actress Dorothy Lamour.

“Mopsy” enjoyed widespread success, running for over two decades until 1965. Parker’s work graced the pages of prestigious publications like Vogue and Glamour, as well as comic books from publisher St. John, alongside notable artists like Lily Renee and Matt Baker.

Married to WWII veteran and artist Stookie Allen, Parker’s impact extended far beyond the confines of the comic strip. By the late 1940s, “Mopsy” was syndicated in over 300 newspapers, cementing Parker’s status as a trailblazer in the industry.

Gladys Parker’s legacy continues to inspire, her innovative blend of humor and style leaving an enduring imprint on both comics and fashion. She passed away in 1966, leaving behind a rich and celebrated body of work that continues to captivate audiences to this day.

Intriguingly, issues #12, #14 (whose cover was reprinted in 1955 on TV Teen’s #8), #15, and #16 were all published in 1953. Noteworthy is the differing sizes of #14, printed in the smaller 7 1/4″ format, while #15 and #16 adopted the wider, traditional Golden Age dimensions of 7 3/4″—suggesting St. John’s may have been experimenting with different printers during this period.

As any trendsetter knows, sometimes you must try on a few sizes before finding the perfect fit!

* Sold copy