|Millie the Model|
|Publication date||Winter 1945 – Dec. 1973|
|No. of issues||207|
|Main character(s)||Millie Collins, Chili Storm, Toni Turner|
|Created by||Ruth Atkinson|
|Written by||Ruth Atkinson, Ken Bald, Stan Lee, others|
|Artist(s)||Ruth Atkinson, Mike Sekowsky, Dan DeCarlo, Stan Goldberg|
Millie the Model was Marvel Comics' longest-running humor title, first published by the company's 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and continuing through its 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics, to 1970s Marvel.
The series ran 207 issues (cover-dated Winter 1945 to Dec. 1973), a 28-year span that included one of the first Marvel Comics annuals (in 1962), and spin-offs including A Date with Millie, Life with Millie, Mad About Millie and Modeling with Millie. At first a funny career-gal book about New York City model Millie Collins, it very quickly changed into a wider, more slapstick comedy– though for a time becoming a romantic adventure series with all the same characters (#113–153, March 1963 – Aug. 1967) before returning to humor. Both the trademarked cover title and the copyrighted title as per its postal indicia are Millie the Model Comics through issue #94; the cover title then becomes simply Millie the Model, although the copyrighted title did not change to match until issue #144.
The character was created by writer-artist Ruth Atkinson, one of the pioneering women cartoonists in comic books. Following this first issue, subsequent early stories were drawn mostly by Timely staffer Mike Sekowsky.
The character's essential look, however, was the work of future Archie Comics great Dan DeCarlo, who would later create Josie and the Pussycats and other Archie icons. DeCarlo's 10-year run on the series, from #18–93 (June 1949 – Nov. 1959), was succeeded by the team of writer Stan Lee and artist Stan Goldberg, a.k.a. "Stan G.", the main Atlas/Marvel colorist at the time. Goldberg mimicked the house style DeCarlo set, and later went on to work with him at Archie, as did occasional Millie artist Henry Scarpelli. Al Hartley and Ogden Whitney provided an occasional cover.
The occasional backup feature included a four-page "Powerhouse Pepper" story by cartoonist Basil Wolverton in #9, and work by humorist Harvey Kurtzman in #8, 10–11, 13–14, & 16. Lee and Goldberg had Marvel artist and major industry figure Jack Kirby guest-star in a story in #107 (March 1962), though the image itself did not look like Kirby.
Millie became part of the Marvel Universe with Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), which chronicled the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm. Fellow humor-comic stars Patsy Walker and Hedy Wolfe, among the sidewalk crowd outside, talk about wanting to catch a glimpse of celebrity Millie, whom they've heard is on the guest list. Alex Ross depicted her at the ceremony when he revisited the wedding in the 1990s miniseries Marvels.
She reappeared in the 1980s as an older character running her own modeling agency and minding her niece, the titular star of writer-artist Trina Robbins' Misty (Dec. 1985 – May 1986), from Marvel's children's-oriented Star Comics imprint. Millie has also appeared in the superhero comics The Defenders #65 (Nov. 1978); Dazzler #34 (Oct. 1985); The Sensational She-Hulk #60 (Feb. 1994); and in the kitschy flashback series The Age of the Sentry #3 (Jan. 2009).
Millie starred alongside Patsy Walker and Mary Jane Watson in a 23-page story "Un-enchanted Evening", by writer Paul Tobin and artist Colleen Coover, in King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special #1 (Oct. 2008). Millie stars in the four-issue miniseries Models, Inc. (Oct. 2009 – Jan. 2010).
Aspiring model Millie Collins of Sleepy Gap, Kansas, moves to New York. She meets photographer Clicker (originally Flicker) Holbrook who arranges an introduction at the Hanover Modelling Agency. She is hired as a model by the agency. At the start of the series her best friend was regular character Toni Turner; later on Toni became a recurring character, and her role as best friend and confidant was Daisy, the agency's wardrobe assistant. She becomes romantically involved with Clicker Holbrook. At one point, she shares an apartment on the East Side of Manhattan with Toni Turner. Near the end of the series, Millie and Daisy shared an apartment.
Throughout the series, redheaded model Chili Storm was Millie's friendly nemesis (Millie: "Sorry I'm late! I just got back from the salon!" Chili: "Too bad they didn't have time to take you!" Millie [ringing phone drawn in foreground]: "Oh, there's the phone". Chili: "Wow! I'll bet you can also identify doorbells and auto horns!"). When Millie wasn't around, however, Chili would sometimes speak up for her colleague. Chili starred in her own 1969–1973 spin-off series.
In addition to regular appearances by Millie, Chili, Clicker and Daisy, there were occasional appearances by Howard Hanover, Toni Turner, Marvin, Agnes Ames (in charge of Wardrobe at the modeling agency) and a colleague who helped with agency sets and maintenance, Chili's wealthy boyfriend Reginald Goldmine, and Miss Scrubbley. Very late in the series, Mr. Hanover had a daffy platinum-blonde assistant, Dolly. Millie's parents are Nancy and Henry Collins. She has one younger brother, Henry Collins Jr.
In 1968, Millie the Model won an Alley Award for "Best Romance Comic" at the New York Comic Art Convention.
Jerry Stanford of CBR.com stated, "This is probably the best known of all comics Marvel published outside of the super-hero genre. The character was created by pioneering female creator Ruth Atkinson, who also created Patsy Walker. It had five spin-offs in its 28-year run. The genre of the book went from "working girl" to humor and romance."
In 2003, Marvel's then-president, Bill Jemas, told the press there were plans to reimagine Millie as a 15-year-old tennis player for a comic-book series called 15 Love, to be targeted at teenaged girls. The possibility of a Millie movie was also mentioned at that time. 15 Love was eventually published in 2011. Written by Andi Watson, it featured Millie Collins' niece, Millie 'Mill' Collins, the lowest-ranking student at the Wayde Tennis Academy, who is about to lose her scholarship and must convince her aunt and others not to give up on her. It ran for three issues, with each as a double-sized 56-page story.
A 1986 Off-Broadway musical, Dial "M" For Model by John Epperson, inspired by Millie but not a direct adaptation, was staged at LaMaMa E.T.C. It featured the female impersonator Lypsinka as Mannequin St. Claire, a character based on Chili.
Millie the Model was created by cartoonist Ruth Atkinson, who drew the stories in the first issue. Mike Sekowsky ... took over as principal Millie the Model artist after the first issue)