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June 2, 1918|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died||June 1, 1997
|Millie the Model
Ruth Atkinson Ford née Ruth Atkinson and a.k.a. R. Atkinson (June 2, 1918 – June 1, 1997) was an American cartoonist and pioneering female comic book writer-artist who created the long-running Marvel Comics character Millie the Model and co-created Patsy Walker.
One of the first female artists in American comic books, she entered the field doing work for the publisher Fiction House beginning either 1942 or 1943, and either on staff or, as noted by the Connecticut Historical Society, through the Iger Studio, a comic-book "packager" that produced comics for publishers on an outsource basis. Fellow female artists Fran Hopper, Lily Renée, and Marcia Snyder also worked for Iger, where one of the business partners was a woman, Ruth Roche. Atkinson's first confirmed, signed work is the single-page "Wing Tips" featurette in Wings Comics #42 (Feb. 1944).
Atkinson continued to pencil and ink that airplane-profile featurette, as well such Fiction House features as "Clipper Kirk" and "Suicide Smith" in Wings Comics, "Tabu" in Jungle Comics, and "Sea Devil" in Rangers Comics. At some point, she became the Fiction House art director, but left the position to freelance after finding that the managerial position left little time for her art.
With writer Otto Binder, she went on to draw and co-create the feature "Patsy Walker", for Marvel Comics predecessor Timely Comics in Miss America Magazine #2 (Nov. 1944). She would draw that humor/romance feature for two years, as well write and draw the premiere issue of the long-running series Millie the Model.
Atkinson later drew true-life adventures for Eastern Color Comics' Heroic Comics, as well for some of the first romance comics, including Lev Gleason Publications' Boy Meets Girl, through the early 1950s.
Atkinson retired from comics sometime after her marriage. She was living in Pacifica, California, at the time of her death from cancer.
- McGeehan, Ed (October 3, 1997). "Ink Blots". Column from Comic Artists Professional Society monthly newsletter, via "Cartoon News and Views" (column; ed. Daryl Cagle), MSNBC.com. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Includes obituary for Ruth Atkinson Ford, giving date of death date as June 1, 1997.
- Miller, John Jackson. "1997: The Year in Comics: Sidebar: 'Passages: 1997'". CBGXtra. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Additional WebCite archive. Gives date of death as June 1, 1997.
- Date of death given as May 31, 1997 at the Ruth Atkinson entry at the Lambiek Comiclopedia (WebCitation archive October 18, 2011) and at "Newswatch – Atkinson Ford Dead at 79". The Comics Journal (198): 31. August 1997. The entry Ruth Ford, Social Security Number 073-14-6513, at the United States Social Security Death Index via FamilySearch.org (Archived from the original on July 18, 2015) gives a date of June 15, 1997, and states verification came per a family member or someone acting on behalf of a family member, rather than an observed death certificate. Family members sometimes inadvertently submit filing dates or burial dates.
- Miss America Magazine #2 at the Grand Comics Database.
- Dowsett, Elizabeth, ed. (2008). "Millie the Model debuts". Marvel Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 31. ISBN 978-0756641238.
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)
- Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame: Ted Atkinson. WebCite archive.u
- Grand Comics Database
- Atlas Tales
- Sequential Tart (Dec. 2001): Interview with Murphy Anderson. WebCite archive.
- Goldstein, Andrew. The Connecticut Historical Society: "Fiction House: History and Influences". WebCite archive.
- Vassallo, Dr. Michael J. "A Look at the Atlas Pre-Code Crime and Horror Work of Stan Lee". The Buyer's Guide #1258 (December 26, 1997), via Live ForEverett. WebCite archive.
- Bails, Jerry, and Hames Ware, The Who's Who of American Comic Books (Detroit, Mich.: J. Bails, 1973–1976), entries, pp. 6 & 93
- Robbins, Trina, and Catherine Yronwode Women and the Comics (Eclipse Books, 1985), index entries, pp. 52, 55, 56, 64, 66
- Robbins, Trina. A Century of Women Cartoonists (Kitchen Sink Press, 1993), index entries, pp. 83, 101–102, 104, 109, 111, 121
- Robbins, Trina. The Great Women Superheroes (Kitchen Sink Press, 1996), index entry, p. 86
- Duin, Steve, and Mike Richardson. Comics Between the Panels (Dark Horse Comics, 1998), entry, p. 30
- Robbins, Trina. From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Comics from Teens to Zines (Chronicle Books, 1999), index entries, pp. 26, 35, 61, 67