Harvey Comics Classics: The Harvey Girls

April 12, 2009 | Trades

Mention the term “girl power” and many people’s minds may drift back a decade or so to five leggy wannabes from England.
A comic book fan’s thoughts may take them back much further than that, to the often innocuous adventures of three little lasses who brought sass, wit and attitude to the funny pages beginning nearly 50 years ago.
The precocious Little Audrey, the obsessive Little Dot and the voracious Little Lotta get polished up and collected in Harvey Comics Classics Vol. 5: The Harvey Girls (Dark Horse Books, $19.95 U.S., 480 pages), the final volume of this wonderful series highlighting some of the excellent work from this now-defunct publisher that brought the world characters like Casper, The Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, and Hot Stuff.
Seemingly far ahead of their time in their portrayal of girls who could do anything the boys could do — including play sports, stop crooks and get into plenty of mischief — these stories hold up very well since their original publication from 1952-62.
The stories featuring the Rubenesque Lotta stand out, in particular, for their messages about being happy with one’s non-conformist self image — something modern comics too often neglect.

(This review first appeared in the Toronto Star)

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