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Welcome to the two-hundred and eighty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and eighty-four.
Comic Book Legends Revealed is part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Music Legends Revealed to learn what classic Carpenters song was originally written for a bank commercial!
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NOTE: There is some nudity (comic and photographic) in this piece, so if you don’t want to see stuff like that, skip this installment!
COMIC LEGEND: A British comic strip celebrated D-Day by showing full front nudity of its female lead for the first time.
Originally titled Jane’s Journal – Or the Diary of a Bright Young Thing, Jane was a comic strip by British writer/artist Norman Pett that appeared in the Daily Mirror for nearly thirty years!
Initially based on his wife, Pett drew much more attention to the strip when he began basing the character on noted nude model Chrystabel Leighton-Porter.
Here is Leighton-Porter, in the flesh…
Along with her pet dachsund, Fritz, Jane would get into all sorts of wacky hijinx that mostly involved her accidentally losing her clothes. By “her clothes,” of course, I mean her blouses and skirts – she’d almost always still be wearing a bra under her shirt.
When writer Don Freeman took over the strip, he began to give Jane actual serial adventures (although, of course, still finding plenty of opportunities for her to disrobe).
In any event, as the story goes, Jane finally showed it all on June 7, 1944, in honor of D-Day. Here is that strip…
In the Telegraph’s obituary for Leighton-Porter (who died in 2000), that’s how they tell the story, as well:
CHRISTABEL LEIGHTON-PORTER, who has died aged 87, was the model for the Daily Mirror’s wartime strip cartoon “Jane”; the character’s lightly-clad adventures with the Security Service were credited with maintaining the morale of the Forces and even, on the morning in 1944 when she first appeared nude, with inspiring the 36th Division to advance six miles through Normandy in a single day.
While it is almost certainly true that Pett and Freeman DID have a special strip to honor the Allied forces in Normandy, and said strip WAS most likely airlifted to the troops to boost morale, Jane had appeared fully nude a number of times before this time.
For instance, here’s a couple of 1943 strips…
So this seems pretty clearly to be an example of a strip being SO famous that people just gave it more importance than it really had.
Pett left the strip in 1948 (his assistant Michael Hubbard took over) and the strip finally ended in 1959, with Jane marrying her longtime beau.
Thanks to R.C. Harvey’s brilliant Rants and Raves column for the scoop (and the scans)!
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