Perhaps Feiffer, who was 15 years old in 1944, was too infatuated with the budding curves of the opposite sex to notice what they were reading; or maybe he hadn't noticed them at all, because he "stayed in the house all day and drew pictures."
A 1944 report by the Market Research Company of America showed that 95% of boys and 91% of girls aged 6-11 read comics; 87% of boys and 81% of girls aged 12-17; 41% of males and 28% of females aged 18-30; and 16% of males and 12% of females over the age of thirty. The younger girls and boys were reading a dozen comics a month on average. These statistics don't include the daily newspaper strips or Sunday funnies.
Girls might not have been as interested as the boys were in superdummies punching each other in the face, but there were alternatives available in abundance: Archie and other teen humour comics; funny animal comics; romance comics; and career girls, like Millie the Model, Tessie the Typist and Katy Keene.
Below is some photographic evidence that girls read comics. A few of the photos are contrived, others taken surreptitiously. I was able to date a number of the photos by identifying some of the comics.
|Reading the Boston Sunday Post funnies. The lady in the window above is either curious about this photo, or she has superhuman eyesight and is reading over the girl's shoulder.|
|Siblings reading Sunday funnies, 1924. Note the fashionable headband.|
|The lady is holding a pile of comics, including Fox's Western Outlaws (#18, November 1948). The girl is reading some kind of "funnies".|
|Boston, 1950. The girl at the left is holding Buster Bunny #4 (1950; no month given)|
|At a London newsstand, 1935.|
|This girl doesn't care to have storybooks read to her. Instead, she's immersed in an unknown comic book. There's a copy of Dell's Tarzan #83 (August 1956) beside her.|
|Newburgh, New York, late 1930s. A few piles of comics and lots of Big Little books. A mini convention. The girl at the right is reading a comic, but I can't make it out.|
|Reading Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #83 (August 1947).|
|This store can't seem to afford lights. Visible are Giggle Comics #72 (July/August 1950); The Texan #9 (August 1950); Roy Rogers #31 (July 1950); Western Comics #16 (August/September 1950); and New Funnies.|
Who needs the tintinnabulation of rock and roll when you can read Tintin instead? (1959)
By the expression on her face you'd think she was reading a horror comic -- or, at least, a horrible comic. 1950s.
|Girl reading a western comic, 1951|
|Picnic with a comic book, Oregon, 1941.|
|1952 classroom. A civil defense comic ain't as exciting as a Mary Marvel comic, but any port in the storm will do.|
|Curled up on the couch, 1950|
|Kids reading the Sunday funnies: front and back, Joe Palooka and Nancy.|
|Parisian comic book market, 1949. This girl is obviously a comic book junkie. (Photo by Walt Girdner)|
|Melbourne, Australia 1950s|
|New York City tenement, 1943. The boy 3rd from left is reading an oldie goldie, Zip Comics, probably #7 (August 1940), with cover damage along spine and under the "Z". The boy next to him is reading Action Comics #62 (July 1943).|
|1938. The girl on the left is reading Detective Comics #18 (August 1938); the girl on the right is reading The Cocomalt Big Book of Comics (1938; a one-shot premium).|
|Whatever they're reading must be pretty drab|
|The latest craze -- 3D comics! Three Dimension Comics (September 1953), starring Mighty Mouse, was the first of its kind.|
|Don't know what the girl is reading, but you can see by the tear at the bottom corner the boy lost the battle for this particular page -- and the little #@$%@&* still won't leave her alone!|
|That one kid is reading Ace Comics #90 (September, 1944) in this July 1946 photo by John DeBiase.|
|The girl on the left is reading Comics on Parade #87 (January 1953), featuring Nancy and Sluggo. The girl on the right is immersed in some newspaper funnies.|
Mississippi, 1920s. I have it on good authority they used to fight over the comics section.
|Girls reading the funnies while waiting for a train in Scotland. (1935)|
|A girl named Holly reading the Sunday funnies, 1942.|
|Getting loads of enjoyment from the Sunday funnies, with the brutally violent Dick Tracy on the first page, and the increasingly far-fetched adventures of Little Orphan Annie at the back. These comics were published November 22, 1942.|
|"Kathy", with a leg-brace, reading Superman #72 (September/October 1951), from "The Birthday Letter", a 1952 episode of the Superman TV show.|
|Girl reading what might be Marge's Little Lulu.|
|Reading comics at the salon must have been some crazy fad!|
|The girl at left is reading Peanuts (actually Four Color #1015, August-October 1959)|
|Leaving on a London train, 1939. The girl on the left is reading Mickey Mouse Weekly (Vol. 4, #153, January 7, 1939).|
|Curled up in a chair and reading Whiz Comics #92 (December 1947).|
New York, 1947 (photo by Ruth Orkin). The girl in the foreground is reading a comic that has an ad for what seems to be the new Hedy Devine comic.
|Proudly displaying her latest literary acquisition, Tip Top #68 (December 1941)|