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[personal profile] strannik01
Earlier this year, I posted a story about Toni Gay and her boyfriend, Butch Dykeman. I mentioned that Toni Gay was originally known as Toni Gayle. She started out as a model who decided to become a detective after her police detective father was injured on the job. Her father, Gregory Gayle, didn't like seeing his daughter be put in harm's way, so he insisted that she stick to modeling - but somehow, she usually wound up solving crimes anyway. She was usually accompanied by Biff, a reformed criminal whom her father hired to be her bodyguard. The two were strictly friends, though if the letters pages were any indications, some fans shipped them anyway.

Back then, I didn't read many of her stories, but I've since read more, and, I have to say, they were actually pretty decent. After World War II, many female protagonists wound up getting dumbed down and subjected to inane romantic plots. But not Toni. In spite of being created in 1947, she was smart, legitimately clever and capable of taking care of herself. Not that her stories were entirely free of sexism and some other tropes that would now seem quaint at best. And there were some stories which were quite facepalm-worthy. But, nonetheless, I do think there is enough substance to Toni Gayle to make her worth remembering.

The following story originally appeared in Young King Cole Volume 3, Issue 4. Writer unknown, art by Janice Valleau.
Crocodiles and quicksands and shirtless men - oh my (11 pages under the cut) )

And, as a special bonus:
A letters page from the same issue (which, as Dr Hermes once said, proves that fans never change) )
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[personal profile] strannik01
Letter columns were not all that widespread during Golden Age. Most of the publishers either didn't have them or had them very sporadically. Out of all the defunct publishers, Novelty Press is one of the few that had letter columns in most of the titles it published. Looking at them, one gets a very interesting perspective on what kind of people read comics during the Golden Age and what sorts of things they wanted in their comics. And so, I would like to post a small sample of the letter pages that I've come across during the course of my research.

This letter column is one of the earliest Novelty Press letters pages I found. It was originally published in Target Comics #2 (Volume 2), which was originally published

A reader gives his thoughts on the political subtext of one of the features and another offers insight into the title's international readership. )

The next letter column was published in Blue Bolt Comics #2 (Volume 2). It was released in July 1941.

Readers praise realistic heroes and complain about characters that are too fantastic )

The next letter column appeared in Target Comics #5 (Volume 2), which was published in October 1941. In the previous issue, the readers were asked whether of not Spacehawk should be canceled.

And the readers responded )

In the next letter column, we jump forward to November 1947. It appeared in Young King Cole #4 (Volume 3).

Here, we see some Golden Age shipping and a reader explains why he likes Toni Gayle so much )

And finally, we have a page from Guns Against Gangsters #1 (Volume 2), which was published in the fall of 1949.

The editor lectures readers about gun control and a female reader explains why Toni Gayle is such a great role model. )

Tune in next time as I delve into the days of the original scans_daily and repost the first appearance of the weirdest Golden Age patriotic hero of them all - Yankee Doodle Jones.

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