Thursday, April 20, 2006

Jay V. Jay, "Modish Mitzi", 20's


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Don't you think Mitzi looks an awful lot like Gloria Swanson?


I found this wonderful (ly silly) 20's comic thanks to Holmes! of Barnacle Press blog; a comic by one Jay V. Jay, called Modish Mitzi. According to comic strip historian Allan Holtz this vapid strip ran in the newspapers for fifteen years!

In his March 27, 2006 post Holmes! says:
"You may have heard of Thoroughly Modern Millie, but chances are that you haven't heard of the flapper gal we're presenting today. Perhaps it's due to our girl's reticence to fully embrace her modernity, as evinced by the title of her strip. Instead of being thoroughly modern, our titular Mitzi is merely mod-ish.

Sadly, the same wishy-washiness pervades this strip. Is it a fashion column? Is it a comic? Does it have a continuing plot? All of these queries may be answered in the same weakly voiced affirmative. It's a comic, to be sure, but just barely. There are characters involved in the affair, but they're the slightest slips of individuals, serving more as clothes hangers than protagonists.

But here, who am I to kick? Modish Mitzi is, first and foremost, a fashion feature. To look to it for exemplary qualities of comicking is to miss the point.

If you've an interest in flapper fashions, Mitzi is your gal. She's ready to show you the latest in '20s couture, and her creator "Jay V. Jay" provides the kindness of not letting craft or humor get in the way of the runway."
:D I agree the so-called dialog is underwhelming to say the least. It's all a bit piquant, so not for kids. It tries too hard to be blasé and Oscar Wildish, a sort of "Sex & the City" of its day. But I do genuinely love the art. It's very classy and expressive.

I remember my mother once saying how much fun it would be if someone made a soap opera that was one giant commercial all the way through -- where at every opportunity they would advertise the clothes the characters were wearing, the brand of food they were eating, the car they were driving, etc. Sometimes I think we're getting pretty close to that. It's all been done before, as this comic exemplifies.

Here's a laughable example, a September 01, 1925 strip called "Mitzi Does Enjoy the Play So":
"'Not angry -- only hurt,' says the beautiful leading lady in what one can only term a plaintive manner. Mitzi doesn't hear her. She is thinking that any woman would act well in this smart cape frock for early autumn wear -- she knows quite well she could do it herself.

'Won't you -- sit down?' asks the young man (hidden from view) as the fair lady enters his apartment at midnight. 'She's not appropriately dressed for an unconventional call,' says Mitzi, 'but think how smart that satin dress cape would be at tea, say, at five 'clock in the afternoon.

'This is the end, then -- ' and Mitzi drops tears of pity that one so beautiful, and so beautifully dressed, can come to such a pass at the end of the second act. All will yet be well, though, for a lady with the taste to wear a lace evening gown with a tiny shoulder cape"...
And here the snippet ends, leaving me to my burning curiosity for the fate of such a tasteful, albeit unconventional lady caller.

2 comments:

taarzaan said...

cool find! Piqued my interest fer shur!

Mariana said...

:D Even the comments in this blog are vintag-y!

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