If you’re a heterosexual male, it’s impossible to stop yourself from getting hooked on Torchy Todd after you’ve seen her. Consider this as a warning.

Plenty of 1940’s comic books ran back-up stories which featured beautiful gals. Some were heroines like Pat Patriot or Miss America. Others were comical, like Miss Winky. But none of them could match Torchy, not in the area of the “good girl art”, nor in the insane amount of risqué double-entendres that Torchy’s publishers got away with.

Torchy Todd was published by Quality Comics (who also gave us such legendary characters as Blackhawk, Plastic Man, and Phantom Lady). She made her debut in Doll Man Quarterly #8, Spring 1946 and was a regular feature in that book through the end of its run (with issue 47 in 1953). Torchy proved so popular that she also was a backup feature in Quality’s Modern Comics (which was one of Blackhawk’s books) from issue 53 (September 1946) through the end if that book’s run as well, in 1950 (#102). And she also had her own title which ran for six issues in the late 1940’s.

But the delightful, delectable Torchy Todd began her long and colorful life as a morale booster, featured in military publications, in stories written and drawn by Bill Ward. Quality Comics began publishing new Torchy stories by Ward after the war, where (according to Toonopedia) she would also be drawn occasionally by Gill Fox. Even after her run at Quality ended, Torchy’s misadventures were often reprinted by other publishers, and new Torchy “geek memorabilia” items (trading cards, coffee mugs, and the like) still pop up from time to time.

The original schtick for Torchy’s stories was pretty simple: she regularly lost her job because she was gorgeous, got hired someplace else right away because she was gorgeous, then got fired again because she was gorgeous. “Gorgeous” isn’t quite the right word; she was hotter than a pawnshop pistol. While the original schtick comes and goes throughout her history, her later appearances are simple madcap adventures which just happen to feature this red-hot dish.

Torchy’s characterization changed frequently from story to story. Sometimes she was a naive gal who didn’t realize the effect she had on men. Sometimes she somewhat understood that effect, but couldn’t quite get her head around the reason why she had it. In still other stories, Torchy deliberately used her assets to her own advantage. In the latter case, she typically wasn’t quite the same lovable character as in the other stories (in fact, she occasionally comes off like a conniving bitch), so that harsher characterization was fairly rare (but you’ll find it at least once in her first half-dozen or so Doll Man appearances).

Realistically, I don’t think many readers cared much about her characterization. Torchy is all about the art, which also provides an excuse for loads of double-entendres in the dialogue.

And as far as that art goes, all I have to say is “Holy mazooma!” When you look up the term “blonde bombshell”, you’re likely to see Torchy’s picture as an illustration beside it. When you download her books from The Digital Comic Museum, please be aware that a lot of her stories could easily be considered NSFW (Not Safe For Workplace), in much the same way that the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue wouldn’t be safe. Torchy tends to appear in nothing but lingerie or a negligee at least once in every story, and even when she’s fully clothed any rabid “anti-objectification of women” feminists within eyeshot are likely to go completely and utterly bonkers. Torchy Todd takes the concept of 1940’s “good girl art” to stratospheric levels; on a “good girl art” scale of “1” to “10”, Torchy’s a “14”.

Me? I loves me some Torchy. May the God of your choice bless the late, great Bill Ward, his gifted pen, and his wild imagination.

As far as the following story goes, it’s far lighter on the rude jokes and double-entendres than many other Torchy tales. I’ve selected it for a purely personal reason. I used to have a gorgeous knockout of a girlfriend who regularly liked to parade around in a white peasant blouse (sans bra, of course), microscopic cutoff shorts, and (if it was a really good day) high heels. Torchy’s “uniform” when she’s working at the gas station took me right back to those days. So here’s to you, darlin’ girl!

Warning – male readers with heart problems or weak constitutions should read no further!

I shall refrain from commenting on the pages which follow. They stand on their own and need absolutely no embellishment.

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Torchy Todd - Quality Comics

Page scans courtesy of the intrepid gang at The Digital Comic Museum.

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2012, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

Advertisements