Ruth Atkinson Ford, a.k.a. R. Atkinson (June 2, 1918 - June 1, 1997) was an American cartoonist and pioneering female comic book artist who helped create the long-running Marvel Comics characters Millie the Model and Patsy Walker.

Life and CareerEdit

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Frederick and Yilda (Gottesfeld) Atkinson, as an infant she moved with her family to upstate New York. One of the first female artists in American comic books, she entered the field doing work for the publisher Fiction House beginning either 1942 or 1943, and either on staff or, as noted by the Connecticut Historical Society, through the Iger Studio, a comic-book "packager" that produced comics for publishers on an outsource basis. Fellow female artists Fran Hopper, Lily Renée, and Marcia Snyder also worked for Iger, where one of the business partners was a woman, Ruth Roche.

Atkinson's first confirmed, signed work is the single-page "Wing Tips" featurette in Wings Comics #42 (Feb. 1944). Atkinson continued to pencil and ink that airplane-profile featurette, as well such Fiction House features as "Clipper Kirk" and "Suicide Smith" in Wings Comics, "Tabu" in Jungle Comics, and "Sea Devil" in Rangers Comics. At some point, she became the Fiction House art director, but left the position to freelance after finding that the managerial position left little time for her art.

She went on to launch the feature "Patsy Walker", for Marvel Comics predecessor Timely Comics in Miss America #2 (Nov. 1944). She would draw that humor/romance feature for two years, as well draw the premiere issue of the long-running series Millie the Model. Some sources credit her with creating both characters, while others list them as co-creations with writer and Timely editor-in-chief Stan Lee. Atkinson later drew true-life adventures for Eastern Color Comics' Heroic Comics, as well for some of the first romance comics comics, including Lev Gleason Publications' Boy Meets Girl, through the early 1950s.

Atkinson retired from comics sometime after her marriage. She was living in Pacifica, California at the time of her death from cancer.



  • Miss America (1944) #2, 4
  • Miss America (1945) #1, 4
  • Patsy Walker (1945) #1-2, 4


  • Miss America (1944) #2, 4
  • Miss America (1945) #1, 4
  • Patsy Walker (1945) #1-2, 4

Cover ArtistEdit

  • Patsy Walker (1945) #2, 4

Sources Edit

FAG-icon View Ruth Atkinson's memorial at Find-A-Grave.

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