Female only societies in girls' comics

Discuss all the girls comics that have appeared over the years. Excellent titles like Bunty, Misty, Spellbound, Tammy and June, amongst many others, can all be remembered here.

Moderators: AndyB, colcool007

User avatar
Marionette
Posts: 541
Joined: 17 Aug 2012, 23:50
Location: Lost in time and lost in space. And meaning.

Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Marionette »

I'm helping with a project about female-only societies and matriarchies in fiction and it made me wonder if these kinds of thing had turned up in British girls comics much. I couldn't think of any off the top of my head. Americans have the Amazons of Wonder Woman, but I can't think of any British examples.

To be specific, I'm talking about established societies where there are no men, or societies where men have a distinctly subservient role. Not stories where a group of girls are temporarily stuck on a desert island, or like that.
The Tammy Project: Documenting the classic British girls' comic, one serial at a time.

Tammyfan
Posts: 1902
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Tammyfan »

I can't think of anything like that appearing in girls' comics. Maybe the subject was too heavy for them. There may have been serials that used the Amazons as plot material, but I don't know of any examples.

comixminx
Posts: 505
Joined: 09 Jul 2015, 16:41
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by comixminx »

Not as such, but I have noticed before that some of the stories in girls comics do focus on a very female society, just not one that is officially defined as such. For instance in Jinty's story "Children of Edenford", the village school is not described as a girls school, but you only seem to see girls in it. It is a matriarchy under scary headmistress Purity Goodfellow, but it's not *about* that.
jintycomic.wordpress.com/ Excellent and weird stories from the past - with amazing art to boot.

User avatar
colcool007
Mr Valeera
Posts: 3869
Joined: 03 Mar 2006, 18:06
Location: Lost in time, lost in space
Contact:

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by colcool007 »

Not to step on Paw Broon's expertise as he has taught me in this field, but the Silent Three sounds like a good example for you.
I started to say something sensible but my parents took over my brain!

Tammyfan
Posts: 1902
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Tammyfan »

In the older tradition of girls comics, stories have made it seem a girls' world and characters are exclusively female. Males aren't subservient - just absent or on the periphery (or villains). The Four Marys, The Silent Three, Alice in a Strange Land (Jinty), The Slave of Form 3B (Jinty) are but a few. In Jinty's "Land of No Tears" we only see girls oppressed if they are deemed physically imperfect, though presumably it must have been the same for the boys in that world. In the 1980s girls comics started taking the revolutionary step of having more boys feature, such as co-ed schools (The Comp) and boyfriend-themed stories.
Last edited by Tammyfan on 18 Jan 2016, 03:16, edited 1 time in total.

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5350
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Phoenix »

colcool007 wrote:the Silent Three sound like a good example for you.
I don't think this is what Marionette has in mind. The trio would need to be involved in a specific adventure set in a matriarchal society somewhere. Girls' boarding schools will not fulfil the criteria as they will surely have to answer to some higher authority, owners, governors, inspectors, etcetera, some of whom will, as likely as not, be male. The various serials in assorted milieux with Skinflint School somewhere in the title, all of which appeared in Judy, might have been suitable had it not been for the constant presence of their one miserly teacher, the delightfully-named Ebenezer Scrape. I suspect that Marionette will need some serials along the lines of a female Lord Of The Flies, or a society of women controlled by a Cleopatra-type leader.

Tammyfan
Posts: 1902
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Tammyfan »

Phoenix wrote:
colcool007 wrote:I suspect that Marionette will need some serials along the lines of a female Lord Of The Flies, or a society of women controlled by a Cleopatra-type leader.
Purity Goodfellow in "Children of Edenford" was trying something like that. She was starting off with applying in her school and the town of Edenford. Even the policemen were under her power. But she had her sights set on conquering the whole world this way. Her pupils were female, but the people she controlled elsewhere were of both sexes.

There were other would-be female world conquerors in girls' comics. There was Mrs Webb in "The Black Widow", followed by "Spider-Woman". She had her sights set on world domination, but as her cohorts were spiders, not females, I don't think it counts. Mrs Webb would have been a female world ruler, but in charge of a spider-archy, not matriarchy.

The masked woman in "Alice in a Strange Land" could fit the criteria more closely. My memory of the story is a bit rusty, but I think she was a female leader dominating a largely female society.

comixminx
Posts: 505
Joined: 09 Jul 2015, 16:41
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by comixminx »

Tammyfan wrote:
Phoenix wrote:
colcool007 wrote:I suspect that Marionette will need some serials along the lines of a female Lord Of The Flies, or a society of women controlled by a Cleopatra-type leader.
Purity Goodfellow in "Children of Edenford" was trying something like that. She was starting off with applying in her school and the town of Edenford. Even the policemen were under her power. But she had her sights set on conquering the whole world this way. Her pupils were female, but the people she controlled elsewhere were of both sexes.

There were other would-be female world conquerors in girls' comics. There was Mrs Webb in "The Black Widow", followed by "Spider-Woman". She had her sights set on world domination, but as her cohorts were spiders, not females, I don't think it counts. Mrs Webb would have been a female world ruler, but in charge of a spider-archy, not matriarchy.

The masked woman in "Alice in a Strange Land" could fit the criteria more closely. My memory of the story is a bit rusty, but I think she was a female leader dominating a largely female society.
The masked woman in Alice was a Victorian explorer. She had found a society of lost people who were like Mayas or Aztecs; there was a spring that gave immortality if drunk every day. She had drunk the water of immortality and ruled that lost society as a high priestess. There were other men involved though, specifically her father (a very impressive Victorian with a big paunch and mutton chop whiskers), and some macho warriors. She was clearly the top dog but again it was a sort of implicit female society rather than being set up specifically as a matriarchy or female-only world.
jintycomic.wordpress.com/ Excellent and weird stories from the past - with amazing art to boot.

User avatar
philcom55
Posts: 5170
Joined: 14 Jun 2006, 11:56

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by philcom55 »

There was an interesting story about a future matriarchy called 'It's A Woman's World' which appeared in the American comic Mystery in Space - even if it did end with the women happily settling back into their more 'natural' role of domestic servitude! :roll: Off hand I can't think of any British equivalents but I'll see if anything comes to mind.

Incidentally, it wasn't a comic but does anybody remember the serial 'The Worm That Turned' that ran for several weeks in TV's The Two Ronnies, where Diana Dors was Prime Minister and all the men wore dresses?
Attachments
2ron_002.jpg

User avatar
Marionette
Posts: 541
Joined: 17 Aug 2012, 23:50
Location: Lost in time and lost in space. And meaning.

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Marionette »

Thanks for all the suggestions. You're right, The Silent Three and stories like that don't really fit. Nor do stories set in a world that is nominally co-ed but the males always seem to be off-camera.

there are a few female evil masterminds trying to take over the world with their legions of female hench-persons, but unless they actually succeed, they don't really fit either.

I didn't think it was a trope that really appeared in British girls' comics and given the knowledge and brainpower assembled here, it seems I was correct, though I'm surprised that there don't seem to be any at all.

Of course, as Phil points out, the standard plot for female-only societies in popular fiction written by men tends to focus on the lack of men, where girls comics manage quite happily without giving them a second thought.
The Tammy Project: Documenting the classic British girls' comic, one serial at a time.

Tammyfan
Posts: 1902
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Tammyfan »

Even in Wonder Woman men weren't subservient - just banned from Amazon society or the Amazons would lose their immortality and such. But there is a legionnaire called Kono who hails from the planet Sklar, where males actually are subservient and females hold all the positions in power.

A male subservient society appeared in Star Trek Next Generation's 'Angel One'. The Tomorrow People had 'A Man for Emily' where the Tomorrow People encounter a starship with a family where the male is the slave, and kept under control with 'tickle boots' (boots that tickle him and he can't remove). Things get even worse when the daughter, Emily, takes a fancy to John and kidnaps him as their new slave and her future husband!

During the 1950s and '60s Hollywood brought out loads of schlocky films about all-female societies who get their heads completely turned when some beefcake comes along. Among them were 'Fire Maidens from Outer Space' and 'Mesa of Lost Women'.
Last edited by Tammyfan on 18 Jan 2016, 20:54, edited 1 time in total.

Tammyfan
Posts: 1902
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Tammyfan »

philcom55 wrote:There was an interesting story about a future matriarchy called 'It's A Woman's World' which appeared in the American comic Mystery in Space - even if it did end with the women happily settling back into their more 'natural' role of domestic servitude! :roll: Off hand I can't think of any British equivalents but I'll see if anything comes to mind.

Incidentally, it wasn't a comic but does anybody remember the serial 'The Worm That Turned' that ran for several weeks in TV's The Two Ronnies, where Diana Dors was Prime Minister and all the men wore dresses?
And all the men had female names and the women male names? Men were banned from doing male things such as smoking pipes? All said to have started when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and be all in place by 2010, the year the story was set in? Yes, I remember it.
Last edited by Tammyfan on 18 Jan 2016, 22:23, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Marionette
Posts: 541
Joined: 17 Aug 2012, 23:50
Location: Lost in time and lost in space. And meaning.

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Marionette »

Tammyfan wrote: During the 1950s and '60s Hollywood brought out loads of schlocky films about all-female societies who get their heads completely turned when some beefcake comes along. Among them were 'Fire Maidens from Outer Space' and 'Mesa of Lost Women'.
Oh, you have no idea. I started building a list of novels and short stories (largely from the pulp magazines) and eventually had to stop looking because the list had reached such an unwieldy length that I wasn't sure we'd get through them all.

As for the movies, you haven't even mentioned Devil Girl from Mars, Cat Women of the Moon, Bees in Paradise, The Last Man on Planet Earth, Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, Queen of Outer Space, and so many more bad, bad films.

If anyone can suggest any American comics that fit the trope, that would be useful too. There's a wonderfully bad one in Fantastic Worlds where all the men die off in a city in an asteroid, and in a bizarre set of circumstances, where the surviving women don't seem to have any communication devices or space ships, but do have some heavy duty terraforming machines, they sculpt the asteroid into the shape of a woman's face, so any men who happen to be flying their interstellar spacecraft within a mile or two of the asteroid and happen to look out of the window, will see it and come investigate. A foolproof plan, I think you'll agree.
Last edited by Marionette on 18 Jan 2016, 22:31, edited 1 time in total.
The Tammy Project: Documenting the classic British girls' comic, one serial at a time.

Tammyfan
Posts: 1902
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Tammyfan »

Thank goodness the trend in those types of schlocky movies ran out in the end, eh?

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5350
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

Re: Female only societies in girls' comics

Post by Phoenix »

Of course any society made up only of women that have not had access to any kind of immortality potion has its own built-in obsolescence.

Post Reply