Dazzler #34

Issue Date: 
October 1984
Story Title: 
Where Have All the Models Gone?

Mike Carlin (writer), Geoff Isherwood (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Bill Sienkiewicz (cover artist), Janice Chiang (letterer), Andy Yanchus (colorist), Ralph Macchio (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief), Pat Powers (inspiration)

Brief Description: 

Despite the recent string of mysterious model disappearances, Alison Blaire takes her friend Janet’s advice and auditions to be one of Millie’s Models. While at the agency, she crosses paths with the bitter Chilie Storm, a longtime rival of Millie. Alison gets the gig and begins modeling right away. Later, while at a high-profile fashion show, Alison, Janet, Chilie—whom Alison initially blamed for the disappearances—and every other model in attendance disappear and wind up in a darkened cell as a prisoner of disgraced fashion designer Tom Devine. The girls escape and beat Devine into submission. Later, Alison resigns from her modeling career and continues pursuing her music career on her own, even rejecting the help of Roman Nekoboh.

Full Summary: 

In Los Angeles, a show debuting the latest work of the fabulous fashion designer Douglas Scruggs goes terrifyingly awry when the model on the catwalk vanishes into thin air, leaving behind nothing but her pink gown and pumps. Her disappearance stupefies the audience.

Elsewhere, Alison Blaire finishes teaching yet another aerobics class at the Los Angeles Health and Racquet Club. She commends her class on emerging victorious in yet another skirmish against the battle of the bulge and says goodbye. Immediately after the class, Alison’s friend Janet approaches her with some urgent news. This will be her last class with Alison, she says. When Alison asks why, Janet informs her she’s going to be a model! At first, Alison doesn’t understand, but Janet explains that her modeling company, Millie’s Models, will pay for her classes in the city.

Alison doesn’t convey too much enthusiasm at this news. Janet, who has enough enthusiasm for both of them, encourages Ali to give modeling a shot. “You’re even better looking than me!” Janet tells her friend. As Alison begins expressing her reservations, Janet suddenly leaves for an appointment, leaving Alison to consider whether or not Janet is right. She disagrees that she is better-looking than Janet, but agrees that she should give modeling a chance. She never before considered it a viable career option, though. With all the time she devotes to making headway as a recording artist and teaching classes at the health club, she just doesn’t have time for much else.

In the darkened locker room, Alison has trouble entering in her locker combination because of the lack of light. However, as the Dazzler, her mutant ability to convert sound into light helps her quickly overcome this obstacle. As she changes her clothes, Alison considers getting some professional guidance. She decides against it; if she’s going to make it on the West Coast, she will do it alone. She can’t always rely on others! She realizes she is fooling herself. Last time she made a career move on her own, she almost got buried alive! On the bright side, she survived the experience and ended up in the rock video “Chiller” as a walking corpse. As she leaves, just as confused as ever, Alison decides to put the final decision off for the time being.

A little later, intermittent flashes of light escape Alison Blaire’s apartment, where she poses for her first series of eight-by-ten glossies. Sitting in her makeshift picture studio, Ali wishes against all odds that the photos turn out all right. With no one to help her, Alison asks as the model, the photographer and the flashbulb! It’s bad enough that she has never before modeled.

Once she finishes her poses, Alison heads to the developing studio she created in her bathroom. She creates the red-hued, darkroom light using her mutant power—a first for her. Surprisingly, the pictures turn out looking decent. Alison puts them in an envelope addressed to Millie’s Models and drops them in the mailbox a little later. It’s been three whole seconds and no word yet from Millie’s Models, she thinks as she walks away, so it’s back to the dull life of a struggling nobody for me. I have one hit song, and it seems like the public’s already forgetting about me.

Four days later, at the luxurious offices of Millie’s Models in downtown Los Angeles, Millie’s assistant Steve brings her the stack of the day’s hopeful submission. Millie is delighted when she sees the photos sent in by Alison Blaire. In fact, she fully believes Alison is a model her agency could use! She tells Steve to call the girl in—pronto!

Just minutes later, Steve returns to Millie’s office to inform her he sent the reply to Alison Blaire via express mail. However, he also bears some bad news. Before he can even say it, Millie correctly guesses what bad news he brings. Another one of their girls is missing, isn’t it? She asks which girl it was this time. Steve tells her it was Adrienne. Terrified, Millie bites her nails and stares off into the distance. Who could be doing this to her models? First it was Tracey, then Mary Anne and now Adrienne! Why is this happening?

The next day, Roman Nekoboh—a fancier of Alison Blaire and a man of the world—pulls alongside the object of his affection as she walks home. He suggests they take a quick trip to Malibu in his spanking-new, imported chariot. Alison groans at both Roman and his offer. She knew she shouldn’t have taken him up on his offer to help his career; now he’s following her all over the place! He may have fooled her into thinking he had her best interests at heart, but after the party they attended together, Alison is certain he has more selfish intentions. Nevertheless, she greets him—coldly. He asks why she’s acting so formal; it’s Roman! he says. Alison tells him she is very grateful for what he has done for her so far, but she still doesn’t believe a big star like him would bother with a little nobody like her. She flat-out says she has decided she doesn’t want to owe anyone in Los Angeles anything.

Roman stares at her for a moment with a wounded look on his face. Now that she’s reverted to playing hard to get, she’s going to be a tough egg to crack. Nevertheless, Roman Nekoboh gives it a try. As he follows Alison into her apartment, he tries to convince her she misunderstood his intentions. If that’s the case, Alison apologizes, but insists she must look out for herself. Roman digs where she’s coming from, he says. He picks up Alison’s mail for her and unfolds the front page of her newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, which sports a front-page story about the most recent model disappearance. Casually, Roman follows Alison into her apartment and asks if they can finish their discussion inside. Alison gives him three seconds to leave. “I don’t think you realize—” Roman begins to say.

“No. I don’t think you realize,” Alison retorts. “I mean what I said!” When Roman begins rifling through Alison’s mail, she once again demands. Finally, Roman yields—but asks if he can keep her newspaper. Alison lets him take it, simply so he’ll go. As she slams the door on him, she can hardly believe she just threw Roman Nekoboh out of her apartment. What some girls wouldn’t give to have his attention! However, when she sees she has a response to her submission to Millie’s Models, Alison quickly forgets about Roman.

One week later, Alison Blaire sits nervously on the plush couch in the Millie’s Models waiting room. She’s heard so much about Millie for so many years that it’s frightening to now be waiting to see Millie! A woman enters who Alison assumes is Millie, even though she looks slightly different than her pictures. Nevertheless, Ali approaches and introduces herself. The red-haired woman smiles deviously at the naivety of this hopeful young woman. She could lie and tell this interviewee that she is Millie so she could get rid of her and cut down on her competition—but decides against it. “Sorry, kid, I’m not Millie,” she says, “but if you’re here for a job, I don’t really think she’s hiring.”

Just then, Millie storms into the waiting room and tells Chilie Storm—the red-haired woman—that just because hasn’t hired her doesn’t mean she’s not hiring at all! Both Alison and Chilie gasp. Millie approaches Chilie and informs her she just doesn’t think she’s good enough yet. “Yet? Well, at least there’s hope for me,” Chilie says with a defiant smile on her face. Millie isn’t so sure about that. If Chilie wants to work for her, she needs to leave a portfolio and resume, just like everyone else! Also, she’d better hope that Millie has forgotten about all the terrible things Chilie used to do when she was younger.

Having spoken her piece, Millie summons her assistant, Steve, to force Chilie to leave. Chilie takes the hint. When Steve approaches, she lays her hands on his arm and tells him she knows she has already overstayed her welcome and asks if he would be so kind as to show her out the door. “Nice seeing you again, Mil,” Chilie says as she leaves. “Oh, and Alison, I wouldn’t worry too much about the disappearing models. Bye, Steve.”

After Chilie leaves, Millie apologizes for the jaded wannabe’s atrocious behavior. Alison doesn’t mind, but asks what sparked such a commotion. Millie explains that Chilie Storm is an old childhood rival of hers who decided to use Millie as an in once she learned she had made it big with her own modeling agency. So far, Millie has rejected her portfolio eight times! However, if Chilie’s lies and the string of disappearing models haven’t turned Alison off on the biz—which Alison says they haven’t—then Millie is prepared to welcome her to Millie’s Models! She and Alison shake hands in agreement.

Alison offers her thanks to Millie and departs. On the way out, Steve congratulates her as well. Alison cannot believe it! She’s one of Millie’s Models! However, Chilie Storm, who lingered outside the office after her removal, cannot believe it either; Alison is one of Millie’s Models! As Alison enters the elevator, she notices Chilie eyeing her from down the hallway and wonders what sort of reprisal she should expect from her.

The next few days are hectic indeed for Alison Blaire as her modeling portfolio is reshot professionally, and ultimately, she is out on the streets hunting for that first modeling opportunity as a Millie’s Model!

Four days later, Alison makes a phone call to Janet while lounging on her couch. It was so easy, she tells Janet! She just stood there and they hired her; she’s even in the upcoming Scruggs how! Janet is delighted to hear Alison is in the show too; it’s going to be a blast! Alison never dreamed it would be so easy. Maybe that’s her whole trouble, Janet tells her. She implores her friend to dream big and be big. After ending her phone call, Alison curls up on her couch and thinks about what Janet said. Janet’s right, she realizes; she must have more confidence.

Later that week, Alison meets Janet backstage at the L.A. Sheraton for the preview of Douglas Scruggs’s new summer line. The reality of the situation has yet to register with Alison. Janet wonders if Alison ever believes any of the good fortune that comes her way. Internally, Alison laughs. Janet would never believe the stuff she’s done as the Dazzler! However, this show business stuff is what really thrills her.

Millie greets Alison and implores her not to be nervous. Nearby, Chilie Storm watches and suggests she could fill in for the poor, nervous Alison. “Come on, girls—it’s getting a little too chilly over here,” Millie says as she leads her models away. “Besides, I have someone I’d like you to meet.” Alison, meanwhile, cannot help but wonder why Millie is at the show.

Millie introduces Janet and Alison to the man responsible for the entire show—Doug Scruggs! The handsome, well-dressed, spectacled blond man tells the women they will look great sporting his new Scruggs/Huggs line. It’s their pleasure, Alison says, speaking for the dumbstruck Janet. Douglas turns to Millicent and thanks her for saving her best girls for his creations—and for not letting Tom Devine put them in his hideous excuses for fashion designs. Millie insists she would never let Devine near her models.

While they converse, Alison notices a stray business card lying on the floor. She kneels down and examines its face, which advertises a service called Revenge, Inc. According to its tagline, “you get mad… we get even!” Alison wonders what it could mean; did Chilie drop it? Suddenly, Janet catches Alison getting up from the ground and asks what she dropped. Deflecting her question, Alison claims she just dropped an earring. Her casual exterior masks her inner worry. This could be serious; what if Chilie is out for revenge against Millie? Could Chilie even be behind the disappearing models?

A short time later, the show begins. A string of models dressed in the hottest fashions parade up and down the catwalk. Among them is Alison Blaire, who sports a wide-legged pantsuit with a revealing top that leaves one shoulder exposed. As Alison approaches the end of the catwalk, however, the woman in front of her in line vanishes out of her clothes amidst a flash of light. In horror, Alison approaches the pile of clothes that remain. She sees no sign of Barb! How could this be? It’s impossible, she thinks. Her eye catches Chilie in the audience and Alison immediately jumps to the conclusion it is her doing.

While Millie and the security guards at the show urge everyone to stay calm and remain seated, another model—this one named Robbin—disappears from underneath her turquoise bathing suit. The security guards at the event have no idea what to do. Alison, meanwhile, charges at the supposed culprit and grabs her by the wrists. She doesn’t know how, but she knows Chilie is involved in this somehow! Chilie looks at her attacker with a genuine expression of confusion; she has no idea what Alison means! She’s doing a great job of acting surprised, Alison tells herself. She pulls out the business card for Revenge, Inc. and shoves it in Chilie’s face. “Explain this, little miss innocent!” she says. Chilie accuses her of being nuts and demands she let her go.

Janet rushes over toward Alison and begs for help. Just before she can reach her, however, she, too, disappears into thin air, leaving behind nothing but a green robe and a black, two-piece bathing suit. “Janet!” Alison screams. One by one, Millie’s Models disappear from the catwalk while Millie watches helplessly. Alison stares at the piles of clothes in horror; for all her vaunted power, she’s helpless! Chilie suddenly sees the business card in Alison’s hand and realizes what she meant with her insinuation. Alison blames her for all of this! She begins to threaten Ali, but the two of them disappear as well, leaving Millie with tears in her terrified eyes.

Sometime later, Alison grows aware of her new, dark surroundings. It’s so dark, in fact, that it takes her eyes a while to adjust. Despite the darkness, she knew right away she was in some kind of prison. She looks around the cell and sees all the missing models, each of them dressed in different clothes than when they vanished. Some of their current clothes are even made of polyester! She sees Chilie in the cell too. Alison assumed she was behind the kidnappings; why would she be here as well?

The women hear a door opening at the end of the hallway on the other side of the bars. It’s probably the Fu Manchu responsible, Alison thinks as she cranes her neck to get a better look. The silhouette of a man marches down the hallway. When he emerges from the shadows, Alison is honestly surprised to see he’s a little guy. He greets his captives. They call him a pervert and a weirdo. Laughing, their captor tells them to go ahead and call him names. They don’t even know his real name, he says. They should—and if the world were fair, they would. He introduces himself as Tom Devine, a man who used to reckon with the fashion industry until these new hotshot kids came along and stole his thunder. He even trained Douglas Scruggs, for Pete’s sake! For years, he languished in forgotten circles until he discovered Revenge Incorporated and the unique service it offered. Devine admits he poured everything he had into Revenge, Inc. With its advanced technology, Devine has now exacted his revenge on Scruggs and the agency that snubbed him! Now his fashions and flamboyance will once again catapult him to stardom, he declares!

The captive models stare at the so-called “fashions” they’ve been forced to wear, such as a yellow jumpsuit with puffy legs and a billowy, frilled orange dress. If Devine’s actions and speech didn’t convince them he’s crazy, his taste in clothing certainly has. Meanwhile, Alison begins to feel guilty for jumping to such nasty conclusions about Chilie Storm. She apologizes to her fellow captive.

After Devine declares his intentions to release his fashions to the world once more, he departs, leaving the models alone. They begin formulating a plan. If they could just get out of the cell, any one of them could probably take the little panty waist. This is getting pretty scary, Alison thinks. I’ve got to find out who’s behind this revenging—but first, I’ve got to get out of here!

Alison asks the other girls if any of them has a nail file. “If we’ve got to be here, might as well look good, eh, honey?” one of the models says. The others giggle. Janet, however, produces a nail file from her bag and hands it to Alison. She asks what she intends to do. Crouching near the lock, Alison claims she saw Modesty Blaise pull this stunt in a movie once. If she files hard enough, she might sever the iron bars! The other models laugh at her futile efforts and turn their backs. Fortunately for Alison, this is just what she wanted. With their attention elsewhere, she can freely—and discretely—use her mutant power to create a laser beam. The girls continue chatting in the cell, fueling Alison’s focused laser. After a few more seconds, she melts the lock and opens the door. The rest of the models look at her in disbelief; did she really do that with a nail file? The others don’t care how she did it; they’re just happy to be free!

Subsequently, in Tom Devine’s studio, just three floors above the dungeon holding the models, Devine tells his artists it won’t be long until they’re all famous. They wish Mr. Devine would let them in on his secret weapon. Suddenly, Devine hears knocking at the door and asks who it is. He begins quivering with fear; that door only leads to one place! They couldn’t have escaped, could they?

The door abruptly explodes into the room, spewing forth a veritable bevy of bothered beauties. Get him, the leader shouts! The models raid the room, pinning all the artists against the walls and pressing them for information. Where can they find Tom Devine? However, none of Devine’s cronies seem to know anything. The models look across the room in time to see Devine darting for the exit. He’s too far for them to catch, though.

Relieved to have escaped, Devine pulls open the door, but to his chagrin, finds himself facing two of the models he kidnapped: Alison Blaire and Chilie Storm. “Going somewhere, Tomikins?” Alison says. Tom freezes. Before Alison can stop her, Chilie lunges forward and punches Tom right in the jaw.

The next day, at Millie’s Models, Alison Blaire tenders her resignation. She hopes Millie understands why she must leaver her agency. Although Millie admits she doesn’t quite understand, she admits that Alison seems to know what she’s doing. Alison heads for the door, telling Millie it was fun while it lasted. “That’s what they all say,” Millie remarks. “Oh, and by the way… I will consider your recommendation of Chilie to take your place. Ciao, Alison.”

As soon as she gets outside, Alison Blaire runs into Roman Nekoboh—again. He doesn’t give up that easily, he says! Ali tells him to try a little harder. She reminds him of the party he invited her to attend specifically so she could meet people to help her career. When they got to the party, however, all Roman did was hang on to her in an attempt to stop her from speaking to anyone except himself. He claims she has him all wrong. Maybe she does, Alison says. However, Roman gets the point and says he’ll leave—but he shall return. He speeds away in his car. Alison groans as he leaves. Great—now she has something else to worry about in addition to her fears about Revenge, Inc., an organization with the ability to make human beings disappear. Frankly, she doesn’t know which is worse: the rushing hands of Roman Nekoboh or the strangling tendrils of an organized crime syndicate! Why can’t she just be left alone?

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler/Alison Blaire

Janet McEntee (Dazzler’s friend)

Roman Nekoboh (Dazzler’s agent)

Millie the Model (talent agent and operator of Millie’s Models)

Chilie Storm (Millie’s longtime rival)

Steve (Millie’s assistant)

Barb, Robbin (Millie’s Models)

Douglas Scruggs (fashion designer)

Various other models of Millie’s

Tom Devine (embittered fashion designer)

Tom’s artists

Eliot (security guard)

Other security guards

Story Notes: 

This issue’s title might pay homage to the folk song by Pete Seeger, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

Dazzler’s appearance in the “Chiller” music video and the disastrous party she attended with Roman Nekoboh all happened last issue.

Like the Avengers character Hellcat, Millie the Model is actually a longstanding creation from the Golden Age of Marvel Comics. Millie first appeared in MILLIE THE MODEL #1, published by Marvel’s predecessor, Timely Comics in, 1945. She was incorporated into the greater Marvel Universe in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3, published in 1965. Since her induction into Marvel, Millie has also appeared in DEFENDERS #65, SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK #60 and most recently in the 2009 limited series MODELS, INC.

Fu Manchu is a fictional character who epitomizes super-villainy. Although he was created in 1913, Marvel Comics acquired the rights to use his character in 1973. However, by 1983—a full year before this issue of DAZZLER was published—Marvel lost the rights to the character. Alison’s reference to him here is therefore made in the figurative sense.

Modesty Blaise is the protagonist of an adventure comic strip of the same name that debuted in 1963.

Revenge, Inc. appears again in DAZZLER #37.

Dazzler’s story does not continue in DAZZLER #35. Instead, she next appears in MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #12: DAZZLER THE MOVIE, followed by BEAUTY AND THE BEAST #1-4, before her title resumes with issue 35.

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