Barbie. As Stan Lee would say, “‘nuff said.” Popular fashion doll from 1959, etc. etc.
In 1991, Marvel got the rights to the property/character and made two comic series – Barbie, and Barbie Fashion. The former was about Barbie’s adventures around the world with her boyfriend Ken, while the latter featured more fashion-oriented stories.
Barbie Fashion lasted 4 years and 53 issues. Each comic had three stories…
Get Me to the Studio on Time!
Barbie rushes out of her apartment. She has one hour to get to the studio for a very important modeling shoot: “It’s not every day I have a chance to work with Ricardo, the world famous photographer!”
As she gets in a taxi, she witnesses a crime – a purse snatcher! She orders the taxi driver to chase after the thief, delaying him long enough for the police to catch up and arrest him. However, the taxi suffers a flat tire, and our heroine must continue her journey on foot.
Barbie gets in a bus; a long parade halts its progress, but a man in a carriage offers her a lift. When she gets to the studio building, the elevator takes too long, so she goes up the stairs.
Barbie makes it to the studio in time but finds that Ricardo is sick with a 24-hour virus and had to reschedule. “I tried to call but you had already left!” This wouldn’t have happened in the cell phone age.
Barbie and her friend Theresa buy bathing suits. The next day, Barbie and Ken go to the beach, where she discovers that her bathing suit top got mixed with Theresa’s bathing suit top at the store – as a result, Barbie’s bathing suit doesn’t match, and everyone on the beach makes fun of her.
That night, Barbie phones Theresa, and they sort out their bathing suit problem. Ken and Barbie return to the beach the next day and find that everyone there is wearing mix-matched bathing suits. “You really know how to set the fashion trend, Barbie!” says Ken.
Look of the 90’s
A continuation of the first story finds Barbie at the modeling shoot with Ricardo, hoping to find the look of the 90’s. Leslie, the make up artist prefers the romantic look, while George the hairdresser gravitates towards the Egyptian look, and Rachel the stylist just plain likes the 60’s look.
Barbie tries each of these looks, and the editor can’t decide which one she prefers. At lunch, everyone argues over the look of the 90s, and Barbie offers sage advice, “All brides are beautiful! It’s their wedding day!” She puts on a wedding veil over her shirt, “Even a t-shirt wedding dress looks good!”
In the end, this t-shirt wedding dress is what shows up on all the magazine covers as the look of the 90’s.
These were all very simplistic stories, but that’s to be expected; Barbie Fashion is geared towards a young audience. Each story seemed to have a moral that taught a dubious lesson, like “don’t worry if you look awful today, you’ll be fashionable tomorrow.”
I do find it odd how the girls who ridiculed Barbie’s swimsuit immediately adopted the look the next day. At what point does mockery shift into imitation?
Overall, I would only recommend this to the younger reader, but only when there is no alternative; there are far better options out there.
By the way, these Barbie Fashion comics are supposed to contain fashion tips, and there were none in this issue! Perhaps in later issues.
The last page contains a preview for Sweet Sixteen (XVI), a 6-issue miniseries by Marvel about teenagers living in Ancient Rome.