Thursday, January 31, 2013

Torchy Todd And Thelma Todd

Torchy Todd was a comic strip character created by Bill Ward. Her having the same last name as Thelma Todd was probably coindidental, but there were some similarities between the two.

Torchy (comics)


The cover of Torchy #5 (July 1950). Cover art by Ward.
Publication information
PublisherQuality Comics
First appearancecomic strip: Fort Hamilton base newspaper (1944)
comics: Doll Man #8 (Spring 1946)
Created byBill Ward
In-story information
Full nameTorchy Todd
Torchy (comics)
Publication date(Torchy solo series)
Nov. 1949 – Sept. 1950
Collected editions
Bill Ward's Torchy, vol. 1ISBN 1-56685-048-7
Bill Ward's Torchy, vol. 2ISBN 1566850576
Torchy is a comic strip and, primarily, a series of comic books featuring the ingenue Torchy Todd, created by the American "good girl art" cartoonist Bill Ward during 1944. The character was ranked 97th of the 2011 Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[1]


Publication history

After Bill Ward's drafting into the World War II military, the artist created the tall, blond, busty ingenue Torchy Todd for the base newspaper of Brooklyn's Fort Hamilton, where Ward was deployed. The comic strip in which she featured soon became syndicated to other Army newspapers worldwide.
Torchy made her comic-book debut as main character of a backup feature of Quality Comics' Doll Man #8 (Spring 1946). Her feature was later published in all but two issues through #30 (September 1950), resuming in #35 (August 1951) through #47 (October 1953), as well as in Modern Comics #53-102 (Sept. 1946 - Oct. 1950). A solo series, Torchy, had six issues (Nov. 1949 - Sept. 1950), some with art by Gill Fox.
Several Torchy stories, including some Fort Hamilton comic strips, were reprinted in Innovation Comics' 100-page, squarebound trade paperback Bill Ward's Torchy, The Blonde Bombshell #1 (Jan. 1992). Others have been reprinted in The Betty Pages #1 (1987); AC Comics anthology Good Girl Art Quarterly #1 (Summer 1990), #10 (Fall 1992), #11 (Winter 1993), and #14 (Winter 1994), and in AC's America's Greatest Comics #5 (circa 2003). Comic Images released a set of Torchy trading cards in 1994.[2]
Ward drew an original cover featuring Torchy for Robert M. Overstreet's annual book The Comic Book Price Guide (#8, 1978).

Fictional character biography

Torchy Todd is a ditsy but goodhearted young blond woman who frequently finds herself in humorous, mildly risqué encounters with lustful men.


  1. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 60. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0.
  2. ^ "Bill Ward: 50 Fabulous Years of Torchy" Checklist


External links

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Torchy was intended to resemble one of the blonde glamour girls of the era, although it's not clear if she was supposed to resemble anyone in particular. She could have been Betty Grable, Carole Landis, or somebody else from that period. Not too long before her first appearence, "Torchy Blane" had been played by Glenda Farrell in a series of movies*,
 while the name of Todd had also belonged to Thelma Todd.
You can see some similarities between the girls Bill Ward drew and Thelma Todd ( for example, "Ack-Ack Amy" was smuggled aboard ship by her boyfriend with a leg sticking out of  the seabag he carried her in, something that Charlie Chase and Thelma Todd had done first ), but one of the most obvious similarities between Torchy and another blonde was that Torchy in her own title had about the same supporting cast as MY FRIEND IRMA,  who was played by Marie Wilson on radio and in the movies.  MY FRIEND IRMA was also made into a comic book.
Bill Ward would continue to draw Torchy for years. One of his later drawings was for the cover of the eigth issue of the Overstreet comic book price guide.

Here is an early Torchy adventure, from MODERN COMICS #58.

Thelma Todd had an adventure with Zasu Pitts that had similar settings, RED NOSES. An abridged version sold on the home movie market had the title LADIES IN A TURKISH BATH. Here are some frames from that version for comparison to the story above.







This story has the same sort of setting and involves massage, violent exercise, etc. all of which puts the heroine ( s ) through some discomfort in the name of health.

Somehow I find the ending of the Torchy version more satisfying, but then, Torchy is a comic book character and practically counts as a superheroine. Thelma Todd usually had to settle for just getting out with her skin intact at the end of her adventures.

*Lola Lane also played Torchy Blane, later married Roland West, and eventually inherited the Sidewalk Cafe from him. She eventually gave it to the Paulist production group which still owns it today.

Bill Ward ( Official Website ):

Bill Ward Biography ( Blackhawk Site ):

LADIES IN A TURKISH BATH / RED NOSES - Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts:

Torchy Todd Blog:

Torchy Group On Yahoo:

1 comment:

  1. Interest is because my wife is named Torchy. She had an older brother who sent copies of the Army Times home. His Mom, named her next daughter Torchy because of this publication.