Adafruit’s comic reading list: Brenda Starr, Reporter created by Dalia Messick #adafruitcomics


A new edition of Adafruit’s comic reading list — this week it’s Brenda Starr, Reporter created by Dalia Messick written up by Zay Amsbury, shipper!

Most places, including the Amazon link above, will tell you that Brenda Starr was created by Dale Messick.


But Dale Messick is really Dalia Messick, one of the great heroes of comics. While Nell Brinkley, Gladys Parker, and Edwina Dunn all had success as comic artists before Messick, her 43 years working on Brenda Starr was unprecedented.


A brash, uncompromising figure, Messick wanted to write an adventure comic with a female protagonist — something almost unheard of at the time. When her proposal for a female pirate series was rejected, she came up with the idea of a reporter — something relatively respectable, but filled with possibilities for adventure and intrigue.

Even with its brash main character and subversive winks, Brenda Starr was an instant success.


From The Comics Journal: “From the very start, Brenda was independent and feisty as well as courageous and resourceful — not only a suitable protagonist in an adventure story but, as it developed, a thoroughly admirable role model for ambitious young women who could find no others of their sex much worth admiring on the comics page.”

Messick herself had this to say: “Brenda is the glamorous girl I wished I was. She’s what most women wish they were and what most men wish their women were, too. Whenever I hear from real reporters, they would all say their lives weren’t as interesting as Brenda’s. Who would have read Brenda if it was real life?”


But the fact of Brenda’s presence in the world, and the fierce devotion and work ethic Messick brought to the piece inspired many along the way. Because even though Messick was far more concerned with keeping narrative balls in the air than she was the actual day to day of what being a reporter means, she opened the possibility of a life in journalism to many young women.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen: “I originally became interested in journalism because I read Brenda in the late lamented Philadelphia Bulletin. She had red hair, stars in her eyes (literally), and a dishy boyfriend with an eyepatch named Basil St. John. Sounded like a plan to me. Later on I embraced the allure of deadline storytelling and the professional obligation to ask strangers rude questions.”

920x920 (1)

Messick’s particular storytelling gift was the skill of a serial writer: plot-twists, soap-opera relationships, cliffhangers, and dizzying suspense. Messick is true comics legend.

She never missed a deadline in 43 years.

Check out our previous posts Bee and the Puppycat, Spacetrawler, Grrl PowerKrazy KatShe-Hulk, King CityThe Whiteboard, HubrisAkiraThe Wicked and the DivineSagaAre  You My Mother?Cairo,  StaticElfquestHip Hop Family TreeFinderPeanutsLove and RocketsAs the Crow FliesHellblazerStrong Female ProtagonistSafe Area Goradže,  The Legion of Super-HeroesThe Arab of the FutureBarefoot GenStay Still and Stay Silent, and The Invisbles!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.