on this U.S. postage stamp, Brenda Starr, Reporter, with orange hair and a green scarf, is reading a newspaper, her fingernails painted red

Brenda Starr, ReporterDale Messick

Dalia’s struggle

Dalia Messick modeled Brenda Starr, a “girl bandit,” after the film star Rita Hayworth and cribbed her first name from the debutante Brenda Frazier but Messick couldn’t get published until assistant Mollie Slott at the Chicago Tribune Syndicate found discarded submissions and suggested that Dalia make Brenda a newspaper reporter. Nevertheless, the syndicate continued to discriminate against her because she was a woman, wouldn’t run Brenda Starr in its own daily paper, and erased all cleavage lines and navels.

Girl reporter

Brenda Starr, reporter, struggled for flashy assignments at the “Flash” but with her brains, beauty, body, bravery, and bad luck, she brought glamor, romance, adventure, and mystery to the comics.


Brenda would rather be a reporter instead of writing advice to the lovelorn. Her glamor was both an asset and an impediment to being taken seriously. She was smart and ambitious as well as glamorous and passionate, but what made her career a success was her knack for stumbling into trouble.