New Barbie comics take fashion seriously


For 31 years, Barbie has been the best-selling American doll with all the trappings that brings -- her own dream home, a dune buggy, even a live rock band impersonating her and her friends. Now the diminutive fashion role model has two more prizes in possessions "Barbie Fashion" and "Barbie," comic books published monthly by Marvel Comics starting this month.

The new comic strip Barbie is drawn by Anna Maria Cool with cascading blond curls and a figure that's less voluptuous than the real plastic Barbie's. Our heroine's outfits are right out of today's headlines, ranging from an A-line tunic to a studded denim jacket. Christie wears a micro mini and Skipper struts in Pucci-inspired leggings.

Not surprisingly, Barbie has many clothes calls in the comic books, from fashion shows to swanky boutiques. "Barbie Fashion" also has craft activities such as jewelry making and contests to design outfits for Barbie. There's a Career Quest section that promotes fashion careers, starting with "Marilyn the Fashion Buyer" -- as Barbie says to Marilyn, "Your job really is shop until you drop!"

Barbie may be beautiful and stylish, but the comic book writers want to move beyond the dumb blond image. Upcoming issues will contain reports from the recent four-day Barbie Children's Summit that brought together children from 28 countries to discuss world improvement. "Barbie may be pretty...but she's no dummy!" concludes one character in "Barbie Fashion."

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