Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Millie the Model by Ken Bald and Pete Riss

The run of early Timely-era Millie the Model available nowadays to consult is incomplete; issue 1 is reportedly by other hands than these (Ruth Atkinson, for one). As of the next issue I've seen after this run, #20 (Oct/49), Stan Lee has a credit line on each story and the art is obviously by Dan DeCarlo; DeCarlo will continue on the feature close to the end of the Fifties, and Lee beyond that. Lee may well have written some of the stories in these earlier issues.

Not only is Ken Bald credited for script and art on the first story page of Millie 9, but the credit is amplified in Stan Lee's book Secrets behind the Comics: Bald wrote and drew all four of the connected stories about a Paris trip, and did so while in Paris.

On Millie 7 you could take the frontispiece crediting Millie art to Ken Bald and Pete Riss as meaning that Bald pencilled and Riss inked. Or, as I have, you could ID the stories drawn in Bald's style as by Bald and the ones in Riss's style as by Riss. The fact that Bald wrote the two drawn in his art style ("Yoicks!" in both of them, the same as in Millie 9) would back up that decision. Bald might have written more stories in #2 than the one I can identify at this time.

Riss gets the sole frontispiece credit for Millie art in #8. His early issues are, in my opinion, some of his best work; obviously he's being influenced by Bald. Compare the Bald page from "Millie's Little Leopard" in Millie 7 with the Riss one from "Seeing Spots" in 12. By the end of 1948 some of Riss's people are back to the skinny scarecrows such as are seen in "A Modern Alice in Wonderland" (Superman 41, July-Aug/46).

Millie 7 by Bald, Millie 12 by Riss

I've left off this list backup stories such as Willie, Rusty, and Hedy De Vine, all by other artists.

Millie the Model 2, 7-15

Oct/46 [The Blonde Phantom Perfume] a: Ken Bald
[Millie the French Model] a: Bald 
[The New Outfit] w: Bald  a: Bald
[Millie on Televison] a: Bald
[Millie Goes to Hollywood] a: Bald
Aug/47 Millie's Music Maker a: Pete Riss
Millie's Little Leopard w: Bald  a: Bald

Millie's Millionaire a: Riss
The Perilous Picnic w: Bald  a: Bald
Oct/     Millie Stops the Presses a: Riss
The Model of the Golden West a: Riss 
Millie, the College Cut-Up a: Riss
Bathing Suit Blues a: Riss
Dec/     Off to Paris w: Bald  a: Bald

Fun in France w: Bald  a: Bald
The Contest w: Bald  a: Bald

Millie's Mad Whirl w: Bald  a: Bald
Feb/48  10  She Who Laughs Last a: Riss
Hat Box Havoc a: Riss 
Millie for President a: Riss
The Riddle of the Rival a: Riss
Apr/     11  Just the Type a: Riss
College Knowledge a: Riss 
Babes in the Woods a: Riss
Under the Weather a: Riss
Jun/     12  Millie's Fan Male a: Riss
Millie's London Landing a: Riss 
Flicker, Flicker, Who'll Get Flicker? a: Riss
Seeing Spots a: Riss
Aug/     13  A Peach Makes a Speech a: Riss
A Whale of a Sail a: Riss 
A Look at the Cook a: Riss
Her Rent Romance a: Riss
Breaking Her Back at the Track a: Riss
Oct/     14  Oh, You Kid—Nappers! a: Riss
Chili Misses the Bus a: Riss 
Millie Helps Out a: Riss
Clothes Conscious a: Riss
The Footlight Phony a: Riss
Dec/     15  Bear Scare a: Riss
College Cover Girl a: Riss 
Scavenger Hunt a: Riss
Pretty as a Picture a: Riss
Chili Gets Chilled a: Riss

On this tier by Pete Riss from "She Who Laughs Last" in Millie 10, he indulges in an in-joke diluted by, probably, the use of different inkers at Timely and Quality.

Mille 10--The Jester


  1. Hi Martin:
    In one of her books, Trina Robbins reproduced the splash page to The Model of the Golden West from Millie #8 and attributed the artwork to Bald. ~~ Jim S.

  2. She missed the issue's frontispiece credit to Riss. Many figures in "Model of the Golden West" are the gawky Riss stick-figures that confirm the credit.

    Looking at the story on its own, it is possible to mistake some panels for Bald's, but that's if you don't discount the swipes. That side close-up of Flicker's face in the upper right of the Riss page from "Seeing Spots" shows up all over Riss's Millie work; for instance, in the second-to-the-last panel of "Golden West." Once upon a time that pose was drawn by Ken Bald, but in these two stories and many others it's second-hand Bald.