Nerding out (fashionably) with Models, Inc.

As you probably know, I am into both fashion stuff and general nerd stuff. I think I would have equally intense reactions (read: I would probably pass out) if I ever met either Stan Lee or Tim Gunn.

When I saw Tim Gunn on the Daily Show a few weeks ago plugging the new Marvel Comics series Models, Inc. – I knew this was for me.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tim Gunn

Yesterday I picked up Models Inc. at Bedrock City Comics (a fantastic shop on the west side of Houston that just opened a new location in the loop – check them out) – and here are my thoughts:

The Premise:

The comic is a remake of a series created in 1945 called Millie the Model starring Milicent Collins.

Millie the Model - inspiration for Models, Inc.

Models, Inc. covers the adventures of young models – Millicent Collins, and her counterparts Jill Jerold (the ethnic one – British black girl dating Johnny Flame from the Fantastic Four), Chili Storm (the read headed lesbian), Patsy Walker (the alter ego of Hellcat), and Toni Turner (currently nondescript).

The first issue is made up of the first episode in the story and a mini story called “Loaded Gunn” starring Tim Gunn. The two pieces are separated by a center fold of a faux fashion gossip website (which Marvel owns, but disappointingly isn’t really doing anything with).

Models, Inc. Issue 1

The Pros:

  1. I love the details. The writers are careful to incorporate both actual designer names and Marvel superhero tidbits into the story. The models discuss what (and who) they’re wearing to an upcoming event, and inquire about how Johnny Flame is in bed to the model dating him. Sometimes the name dropping gets a little too deliberate, for instance when one girl says “you are the best model of all time, except Audrey Hepburn” and another chimes in “And Gemma Ward,” but I appreciate the attempts at realism.
  2. And of course Tim Gunn – his story surrounds his guest appearance at the opening of the Janet Van Dyne (aka The Wasp) wing of the Fashion Museum – which showcases superhero fashion throughout the years. Your typical comic book hullabaloo ensues and Tim has to don the Iron Man suit to clean up the mess. The best part is that his lines,  while somewhat deliberately punny, feel like he had a hand in writing them. And who doesn’t love Tim Gunn in an Iron Man suit?

The Cons:

  1. Many of the lines are super corny. My most favorite is the frame where Tim reveals it’s him in the Iron Man suit and someone says “So that’s what they mean by ‘Fashion Police’…” Hardy har har.
  2. Reading the title page, I notice one big thing missing – there are virtually no women involved in this project. I suppose that’s fairly standard in the comic book world, but it still surprises me and makes me wonder if that’s why so many of the fashion references seem awkward. The script is by a guy named Paul, the Editor is a guy named Charlie, Supervising Editor? Mark, Editor in Chief? Joe, Publisher? Dan, Executive Producer? Alan. Not saying that men can’t understand fashion (I mean, Tim Gunn himself is the guru in this case), but it surprises me that a comic about women has so little female involvement. As far as I can tell, the only woman on the list is a woman named Irene Y. Lee. The good news? She’s on twitter @IreneYLee! And she tweets about Tim Gunn!

Models, Inc. Tim Gunn as Iron Man

The bottom line: If you like fashion (especially Tim Gunn), and you like comics, this is an easy call. Totally worth the few bucks each month investment. Otherwise, there may not be a lot (so far – it’s only been one issue) to keep you intrigued. I’m hoping to see even more Marvel universe tie-ins in the future and, of course, more Tim Gunn!

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