June Tarpé Mills

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Tarpé Mills
Born June Tarpé Mills
Died 1988
Nationality American
Area(s) artist, writer
Notable works
Miss Fury

Tarpé Mills (1915–88) was the pseudonym of comic book creator June Mills, one of the first major female comics artists. She is best known for her action comic strip, Miss Fury, the first female action hero created by a woman.[1][2]

Born June Tarpé Mills, she signed her work by her middle name "Tarpé" to conceal her gender. She received her education at the Pratt Institute in New York.[2]

Mills created several action comics characters: Devil's Dust, The Cat Man, The Purple Zombie, and Daredevil Barry Finn, before creating her most remembered character, Miss Fury, in 1941.[3]

Comic strip[edit]

The Miss Fury comic strip began April 6, 1941. A character based loosely on Mills' own appearance, the artwork was created in a glamorous style with considerable attention placed on the heroine's outfits.[2] Mills attention to fashion in Miss Fury was mirrored in the work of her contemporary Dale Messick's Brenda Starr, and in this sense the women were ahead of their male counterparts who typically "dressed his heroines in plain red dresses;" both series display excellent examples of 1940's fashion trends. [4] As the strip became more popular, it eventually became public knowledge its creator was a woman. During World War II, Mills' cat Perri-Purr was introduced in the strip, and during World War II Perri-Purr became an unofficial mascot of the Allied troops.[3] Mills' art on Miss Fury was modeled on the work of Milton Caniff. [5]

Miss Fury ran until 1952, when Tarpé Mills mostly retired from the comics industry.[1] She briefly returned in 1971 with Our Love Story for Marvel Comics.

She died in 1988.[2]


  1. ^ a b Markstein, Don. "Miss Fury". Toonopedia. 
  2. ^ a b c d Trina Robbins, A Century of Women Cartoonists, Northampton, Mass. : Kitchen Sink Press, 1993. ISBN 0878162062 (pp. 62, 67-71, 83)
  3. ^ a b Lambiek. "Tarpe Mills". Comiclopedia. 
  4. ^ Robbins, Trina (2001). The Great Women Cartoonists. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 62. ISBN 0-8230-2170-X. 
  5. ^ "Perhaps because it was the only one of many then-popular Caniff-inspired strips starring a woman, or perhaps because Mills was such a good storyteller in the film noir style, she received a lot of publicity. Miss Fury decorated the nosecone of at least one bomber..." Trina Robbins, "Tarpé Mills’ Miss Fury". The Comics Journal No. 288, February 2008, (p.110).