MISTYMedium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1985
Creator: Trina Robbins
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Marvel Comics' imprint for young readers, Star Comics, was launched in 1985, to provide a mix of licensed and original series, aimed at a less experienced demographic than their
regular line. But it quickly devolved into a collection of licensed properties only. In fact, the last non-licensed Star Comics series was introduced a mere eight months after the launch of the line itself. Misty, by cartoonist Trina Robbins (author of several books on female cartoonists and cartoon characters), had a first issue cover date of December, 1985.
Misty Collins was the teenage niece of Millie the Model, who had been a Marvel star from the mid-1940s through the early '70s. In Misty's series, Millie was plump and matronly, long-retired from active modeling, and running an agency of her own. Misty's mom wasn't in evidence, so Millie, in partnership with her brother, Misty's dad, functioned as a substitute parent. Those three, plus a cat named Cuddles, constituted her home life. At Shady Hollow High School, she had a couple of girlfriends, Spike and Shirelle, plus a rival, rich kid Darlene Dunderbeck.
In the first issue, Misty won the Ms. Heaventeen Talent Contest, landing her a part in As the Cookie Crumbles, a locally-produced soap opera. But Darlene's father pulled strings to get his daughter a bigger part. Misty's constant (and largely successful) struggle to outdo Darlene, both on the set and at school, drove the plot for many of the stories. Another plot driver was her effort to remain fashionable — an aspect emphasized by Robbins's employment of the old Katy Keene schtick of using readers' designs for Misty's clothes, and crediting the designers in captions. This practice was carried over onto the pages of old-fashioned paper dolls, which appeared in every issue.
Misty was conceived as a six-issue mini-series, but with an open possibility of renewal into regular publication. But that option wasn't exercised, and the final issue was dated October, 1986. Within a few years, Star Comics was absorbed by the mainstream Marvel line, and soon all vestiges of it disappeared. Since then, Marvel has only intensified its concentration on superheroes, and the likelihood of a comeback for anything as non-testosterone-charged as Misty appears small.