Ruth Atkinson Ford, who often signed her work with a gender neutral ‘R. Atkinson’, was a pioneer in the field of the American comic book. The industry was essentially a ‘boys club’ in the Golden Age, but her talent was strong enough for her to break into the fraternity in the early 1940’s. In the first part of that decade, she was most strongly associated with the publisher Fiction House. While there she was elevated to the position of the company’s art director and used her status to bring in other talented women cartoonists, like Fran Hopper, Ann Brewster and Lilly Renee. As an artist at FH she did the series “Skull Squad” for WINGS COMICS using the masculine pseudonym ‘Ace Atkins’.
Her first love was illustrating and although her editorial position was more prestigious, it’s responsibilities left her little time to actually draw. So she left the company and began a career as a freelancer. At Timely she co-created with Stan Lee, a pair of the company’s more long lasting characters. These were Millie The Model and Patsy Walker.
As the 40’s were ending and love comics took off, Ruth found work in that genre. Here she illustrates “Too Many Dates Were My Downfall”.
While her cartooning career made her a model example of what would later be called a liberated woman, Atkinson made a very traditional choice in the early 1950’s. After getting married, she retired from comics to become a homemaker. Ruth succumbed to cancer in 1997.