It seems Miss America is returning to comics this week sporting her classic hairdo, bangs and all.
Look familiar to anyone else?
Now, you may be thinking “but that’s not the same as Bettie Page being in a Marvel Comic,” and you’d be right. But, she may have been in some pre-Marvel comics – including some written by Stan Lee!
The pin-up queen, known for bondage photos and being one of the first Playboy playmates never officially appeared in a Marvel comic according to the Grand Comic Book Database, though she has appeared in comics. Famously in Rocketeer (though cut from the movie) and later in other comics, but was she in Marvel?
In the early 1950s the company-that-would-be-Marvel published a lot of comics that included everything but super-heroes. Cowboys, humor comics, true crime and romance were all the flavor of the day, so to fill-out these comics and appeal to a wide range of audiences, publishers included posed photos for a lot of covers. Cupid #2 in 1950 features a girl who looks a lot like Bettie.
According to her own recollections, Bettie started modeling suggestively in 1950, though it was a bit before she got into the more risqué photo shoots she was more famous for. At the time she took a lot of photos for a lot of purposes, and it’s possible this photo was one of them.
There’s a problem however. That picture was clearly taken at the same time as the cover to Miss America #4 in 1945. Same model, same set, same clothing. So, does this mean Bettie Page appeared in the comic that began with Miss America (who is her spitting image)? Probably not.
Bettie would have been 22 at the time, so she’s old enough to be the girl in the photo, but according to Bettie, the famous bangs did not enter the picture until she met Jerry Tibbs in the fall of 1950. The model in Miss America (identified by the Grand Comic Book Database as “Maggie Long”) is clearly sporting bangs, so this can’t be her – can it?
Well, even if that isn’t Bettie, there’s hope for Marvelites yet!
Look no further than SNAFU #1 in 1955, spotlighted in last-week’s Marvel Mystery Monday.
Bettie sure looks to be the first one on the second row, recognized by Irving Forbush (whistling up top) as one of the best examples of cheesecake out there (the “biggest cheesecake” is a page-sized pin-up of the culinary treat, naturally). The second picture in the first row also looks a lot like her, but it’s that picture in the two-piece, with the distinctive bob, the sly look and those hips that sure seems like the notorious Bettie Page.
Mark Roesler of BettiePage.com (the “official” site of Bettie and her heirs) could neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of any of these pictures. He did say that even when “experts” were sure a picture was of Bettie, she would often shoot them right down, saying she knew a picture of herself when she saw one.
Bettie Page passed away this past December, so we may never know. She will however, always be missed.
Sadly, there is none.
Bettie had the ability to look amazing no matter what she was (or wasn’t) wearing. She could take modeling jobs from much younger models (she was 32 when she was Miss January!). She had an infectious smile and always seemed innocently unaware of just what kind of effect she had on others.
Why hasn’t the character shown up again?
Well, obviously she couldn’t be a copywrited character at Marvel, since she was a real person and never licensed her image (beyond appearing in pictures that were sold to various publishers).
How could the character be brought back?
On the other hand, as a historical figure she could appear in Marvel just as President Obama and Truman Capote.
Plus, if she has a history with Iriving Forbush, all the better!