Tarpé Mills (25 February 1918 – 12 December 1988) was the pseudonym of comic book creator June Mills, one of the first major female comics artists. She is best known for her action comic strip, Miss Fury, featuring the first female action hero created by a woman.
Born June Tarpé Mills on 25 February 1918 in Brooklyn, New York, she signed her work by her middle name “Tarpé” to conceal her sex. She also used the pseudonyms “Edgar Allen, Jr.” and “Nella.”
Mills worked as a model while helping to support her deceased sister’s children and her widowed mother along with her academic studies. She attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York, and she received her higher education at the Pratt Institute in New York.
Mills’ professional career began as a fashion illustrator. She created several action comics characters (“Devil’s Dust”, “The Cat Man”, “The Purple Zombie” and “Daredevil Barry Finn”) before creating her most remembered character, “Miss Fury,” in 1941. Mills also wrote original scripts, penciled, and inked stories for these comic book series prior to Miss Fury: Funny Pages, Star Comics, Amazing Mystery Funnies, Amazing Man Comics, Masked Marvel, Prize Comics, Target Comics, and Reg’lar Fellers Heroic Comics.
Miss Fury ran until 1952, when Tarpé Mills mostly retired from the comics industry. She briefly returned in 1971 with Our Love Story for Marvel Comics and in 1979 began work on a Miss Fury graphic novel which would remain unfinished.
She died on 12 December 1988 in Brooklyn, New York, and is buried in Forest Green Park Cemetery in Morganville, New Jersey.
June Tarpe Mills was inducted into the ComicCon Eisner Hall of Fame on July 19, 2019.
Per her website: Tarpe Mills has forever changed the role of women in comics. Her work includes the comic strips Devil’s Dust, The Catman, Daredevil Barry Finn, and Miss Fury. From very humble beginnings, Tarpe Mills’ Miss Fury became an iconic image of the superfeminine hero. During World War Two, Miss Fury graced the nose of no less than four B17 and B24 bombers, serving in the European and South Pacific theatres. During World War II, Mills’ cat Perri-Purr was introduced in the strip. Perri-Purr became the unofficial mascot for the Allied troops and sailed on the Admiral’s Flagship for the Pacific Fleet.
The Tarpe Mills website: https://www.tarpemills.com/
Newspaper Clippings About Tarpe Mills and Comic Strips: