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Girl was a British comic book founded by publisher Marcus Morris (1915-1989), an Oxford graduate and reverend. After Morris’ success with Eagle, Hulton Press allowed him to release a comic book targeted at girls in 1951. The first issue of Girl debuted on 2 November 1951, and ran until 1964, when it was merged with Princess, another comic book for girls. Girl’s most prominent stories were “Kitty Hawke and her All-Girl Air Crew,” which appeared on the first page for a few issues, and “Wendy and Jinx,” which took its place on the first page after “Kitty Hawke” was deemed too masculine. A different version of Girl was released in 1981 (a year before the revival of Eagle), however the 1981 version of Girl contained none of the previous titles seen in the 1951 version.

“Kitty Hawke and her All-Girl Air Crew” was illustrated by Ray Bailey. Initially drawn in full color, the comic was action-oriented, much like “Dan Dare: the Pilot of the Future” at Eagle. The story featured a young woman, Kitty Hawke, the daughter of the owner of Hawke Airplane Company. Kitty and her friends would travel the globe and get into various adventures. While “Dan Dare” was extremely successful, “Kitty Hawke” failed to connect with its audience. Morris received many letters expressing as much, and decided to change the tone of Girls to a more romantic one.

Thus, “Wendy and Jinx,” a comic about schoolgirls at Manor Boarding School and their lighthearted adventures, took the place of “Kitty Hawke” on the cover of Girls in March 1962. Occasionally the two girls (Wendy and Jinx) would solve mysteries, go on vacation, or talk about boy problems. The comic contained no action sequences, and even though Ray Bailey illustrated “Wendy and Jinx,” the art was changed to be softer than “Kitty Hawke.” There were fewer instances of shading (except at night), and lighter colors were used. The primary focus was on the friendship between the two girls, and the comic book did better with “Wendy and Jinx” on the cover.

Although “Kitty Hawke” was banished to the interior of Girls (and eventually canceled), another story about women in airplanes ran in the comic book as well. “Angela Air Hostess” was drawn by Dudley Pout and ran from 1958-1961. The genre was romantic, and the tone was more in line with “Wendy and Jinx.” Other stories in Girls included: “At Work with Janet,” “Belle of the Balet,” and “Vicky.” The magazine employed notable female artist Marjorie Slade and writer Betty Roland.

Girls survived one buyout, but it was unfortunately sold due to declining sales. The failure was attributed to the lack of interest in females consuming comics. Even though Girls may be considered a failure in terms of sales, comics such as “Kitty Hawke” were ahead of their time: featuring women in active roles and depicting them as capable leaders.

— Michael Baker

Further Reading

  • Morris, Sally, and Jan Hallwood. Living With Eagles. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 1998.
  • Tsai, Shu-fen. “Girlhood Modified in “Susan of St. Brides” in Girl Magazine (1954-61).” Dong Hwa Journal of Humanistic Studies, no. 2 (July 2000): 259-72.
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