Sunday, November 27, 2022

Gladys Parker: Fashion & Mopsy

I've been fascinated with the comic strip Mopsy since I found a drawing that someone did of Mopsy on an old newspaper in an abandoned house. Mopsy was created by Gladys Parker, one of the few women cartoonists working in comic strips at that time. Mopsy was clearly modeled after Parker, who not only wrote and drew a comic strip but also designed and created her own clothes.

Gladys Parker was born in 1908 in Tonawanda, New York. She shaved two years off her age saying she was born in 1910. She moved to New York City to study fashion illustrating which led her into doing illustrations for a newspaper and then doing the comic May and Junie. Parker's big break came when she was given the reins to Flapper Fannie. She worked on Flapper Fannie, expanding the cast to include a little sister, Betty, and making Fannie look more like herself, from 1930 until 1935. Mopsy began in 1940 and it became her focus for the next 25 years.

Parker still did the occasional illustrated advertisement but, besides Mopsy, Parker worked diligently on her own fashion designs, designing, creating, selling, and even modeling her line of fashion that had Hollywood's seal of approval. Parker retired in 1965 and passed away due to lung cancer in 1966 at the age of 58. If you would like to read more about Gladys Parker, her comics, and her fashions, the wonderful book Gladys Parker: A Life in Comics, A Passion for Fashion by Trina Robbins is available on Amazon or you can order from your local bookstore.

The tag from one of Parker's dresses. The dress, a black and white vertical striped piece, is currently
in the Tonawanda Museum

Gay and Her Gang was a comic strip Parker did before being given Flapper Fannie. It lasted only two
years, 1928-1929.

Parker models one of her designs.

Parker's customized Ferrari with Mopsy on the door.