As regulars here may know, Little Lulu is one of our favorite comics of all the times, and we have a small shrine in our home built to John Stanley and Irving Tripp — no really, we do, thanks to those cool PVCs Dark horse made a few years ago. (Stanley and Tripp wrote and drew the Little Lulu comics for many years.)
However, we are also admirers of Lulu’s creator Marjorie Henderson Buell, aka Marge, who is often overlooked in the well-deserved praise given to Stanley and Tripp. The Lulu comic may have given her a pantheon of adventures and fables second to none in the comics canon, but Buell did invent Lulu and Tubby, and the moppet’s basic mischievous nature.
Today a very wonderful link at the Harvard Gazette which explains that Buell’s son, Lawrence, has donated her papers to an archive of women’s history at Harvard. Lawrence Buell is the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature; his brother Fred is a professor of English at Queens College — evidentally Marge raised some pretty smart kids,
“Lulu seems to me to be of great historical interest as a barometer of young women’s assertiveness in a male-dominated culture,” Buell said.
Buell, whose normal area of expertise encompasses Emerson, Thoreau, and other figures of 19th century American literature, is specially qualified to speak with authority on Little Lulu. His mother, Marjorie Henderson Buell, created the cartoon character in 1935. This year, Buell and his brother Fred Buell,…gave their mother’s papers to the Schlesinger, America’s premier library of women’s history.
Lulu will hardly be out of place there. Her creator was the first female cartoonist in the United States to achieve worldwide success. Little Lulu has appeared as a syndicated newspaper strip, in comic books, animated cartoons, and as a spokesperson for Kleenex. And she has been translated into many languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, and Japanese.
It’s a sunstantial article which includes many biographical details of Marge’s life, including how she and her husband dealt with two careers, and her attitude towards the strip and whether Lulu was a feminist or not. Best of all, examples of Marge’s delightful cartoons from the Saturday Evening Post are reproduced. Click and read!