ur first Godawful comic is the brainchild of Katy Johnson, or, as she’s better known, Miss Vermont. Certainly no slouch, Miss Johnson has a dizzying number of credits to her name. Besides winning the title of Miss Vermont, Miss Johnson has also worked as a columnist for Pageantry Magazine and as a model for Wilhelmina. In 200, she was listed in Who's Who in Pageants. Miss Vermont is far from her only honorary title, as she’s also been crowned Miss United States Teen, Florida Cinderella Teen and Florida Homecoming Queen, and, despite her obvious lack of dirndel and pigtails in her PR photo, somehow managed to even snag Miss Oktoberfest. Miss Johnson currently serves as the YMCA Advocate for Values, which, according to her bio, she uses to promote “character education.” She is also the founder of Say Nay Today, a pro-abstinence organization, and The Sobriety Society, an anti-drinking organization. She wrote an article entitled "ABCs of Abstinence" for Teen Magazine. She’s even dabbled in acting: In her youth, Miss Johnson anchored the television series Kid's TV and she’s also starred a series of films called "The Boy in the Golden Kimono." (She played Julie Jones, the hero’s sister, in installments one through nine.) She’s written three books, What's All The Noise About Boys, True Beauty: A Sunny Face Means A Happy Heart and Pearl Of A Girl. Miss Johnson is currently attending law school and hopes to someday have a career in politics.

From that resume, it seems that there’s little this ueber-girl can’t do. However, her website reveals otherwise. The one area where Miss Johnson’s superlative skills have failed to manifest, her one weakness, is art.

Miss Johnson´s art bears a striking resemblance to that produced by every single girl in my second grade art class. To her credit, I have yet to see any smiley suns in her pictures nor has the "Obligatory house with curly smoke and giant flowers in the yard" made an appearance yet. Her art, unpolished as it may be, is not what sinks Pagaent City, rather it´s her bizarre quasi-feminist musings. As far as I can tell Miss Johnson´s writing is either the most ingeniuosly subtle parody of vapid "feelings" philosophy or the laughable result of an overdose on that philosphy. Perhaps bolstered by her success in other arenas, Miss Johnson has taken it upon herself to give something back to the girls of America. Miss Johnson seeks to connect with girls "on their level," speaking through a group of multi-cultural preteens affectionately called the "Starrlettes."

Bek is a Swede, the hard-working breed. She is also, I presume, the leader of the group. I don´t know why, but I just get that impression.

Ash is the token black starrlette, her old bio helpfully clues us in that her roots are "Afro." I´m assuming that they mean African. She reminds us that "a girl who does right is very bright." You might want to write this down.

Skylar is my favorite starrlette, mostly because she´s got the most original name. Plus she dispenses this sage wisdom: "The best way to get along to to choose right over wrong." Thanks a heap, Skylar, that makes my life so much easier. Here I was, thinking that making wrong choices was the surest way to achieve success. Good thing I read this before I went through with the feeding drano to the cat plan.

According to the old title page, which included all the girls´ethnicities, Jinnie is "oriental." I don´t believe I´ve heard anyone use that word since the first Gremlins movie was in theaters. Asian American is the preferred nomenclature these days, dude. In any event, Jinnie welcomes girls to Pageant City "where everyone is inside pretty."

Fun-loving Lizzie is blonde and ditzy. She also advises girls to "Stay away from Boys who treat you like toys." Note that Miss Johnson correctly distinguishes "your" and "you´re." This is why she´s a successful pageant contestant and you´re a starving net-surfing loser.

Starrlette Salli issues a dire warning: "Don´t fake up with too much make up!"

Miss Johnson created her “Character Cartoons,” which we will examine shortly, for her "Crown Tips" column in Pageantry Magazine. They "illustrate moral messages." Her cartoons suggest that her heart is in the right place but she lacks the restraint to convey her message without descending into saccharine sentimentality. Pagaent City seeks to convey a positive, life-affirming message to young girls. It´s not exactly clear what message that is; her entire philosophy is a bizarre hodge podge of contradictory platitudes that claim to promote inner beauty yet mainly consist of tips on make-up and poise. Her counsel is so vague that it is hard to imagine that any young woman could seriously consider even trying to follow it.

To be fair, Miss Johnson’s advice on how to win beauty pageants, an area in which I must admit her expertise far exceeds my own, does appear to be sound. I would suggest that she limit herself to dispensing practical wisdom gained through her years of pageantry rather than trying to force it into a convoluted girl power ideology.

Here are a couple other noteworthy cartoons:

Hur hur. Yeah, you know what kind of balls I like? Hur hur hur. Hur hur hur hur! HUr hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur!!! HUR!!!! Volleyballs. No, wait. I like snowballs.

Yeah, I´ll bet you are. Assuming that "snowed" means "psyched" in whatever hip new valley talk variant this starrlette is speaking.

I guess this is a hard concept to illustrate. But still...

This is absolutely true. Because everyone loves a prude. Oh, wait.

Nice codpiece.

I like this one but that´s probably because I´m a boy. I hate it when starrlettes are abrupt and curt with me, by which I mean always.

"Don´t scoff, it´s not a kiss-off!" Okay, I´ll admit that my significant other and I didn´t kiss on our first date, but really. It´s just a kiss. I think any boy who gets rejected for a goodnight kiss is probably going to be rightfully miffed. I´ll bet this sets the tone for the entire relationship. Also, is it just me or does the boy in the second panel look like a drowning man gasping for breath?

Is she kicking him in the crotch in the second panel?

This is the absolute worst dating advice I´ve ever heard. What, did Katy read "The Rules" or something? Geez, guys hate that Goddamn hard-to-get game. And, yes, my girlfriend actually asked me out. So there, starrlettes, three years and going strong! Boooya for keepin´it real wit mad flavah!

Yeah, girls, remember that your persona should rest entirely on who you date. Don´t bother inventing your own identity; you´ve got all the opinions, ideas and thoughts of your boyfriend at your disposal! In all fairness, I´m pretty sure that Miss Johnson meant to say that you shouldn´t date scuzzy guys because it will reflect poorly on you, but her choice of wording..well, it leaves something to be desired.

And, finally, this single image was what really pushed Pageant City into the melancholic section. Miss Johnson reacts to the single greatest tragedy in US history with this tasteful cartoon. Note Jinnie´s incongruous expression and the stars shooting out of the WTC.

Miss Johnson also has a mailing list. I couldn´t resist signing up, just out of morbid curiosity to see what sort of news she considered worth sharing. Of course, I couldn´t sign up myself. that would threaten to shatter my already fragile grip of masculinity. So instead I got my good friend Tiffany Ambers of Little Tiffany's Happy Site of Fun to join instead. I figured this was her style. So far there haven´t been any mailings, though. A pity.

UPDATE!! I was a bit surprised to open my inbox and find an email from Miss Johnson. She didn't threaten to sue me, which already puts her in higher esteem in my opinion, and she seems to be a pretty good sport about the whole thing. Anyway, she pointed out that Pageant City is actually intended to appeal to 8 to 12 year olds, which excuses some of its cheesiness. In general, she seems like a good person and I wish her luck in her future endeavors. She also said my site was nice and that she was enjoying it. A real classy lady, that Katy Johnson!

Link:Pageant City
Final Score:
Mr. Bones Says: "Hey, remember when I was in Yankee Zulu? I wrote that, you know!"

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"Pageant City" and all names and images therewith associated are the sole intellectual property of one Katy Johnson. I did not draw these pictures nor did I take these photos nor would I ever dream of taking credit for them. All words credited to Katy Johnson are, in fact, the words of Katy Johnson. Do not threaten to sue me. Images and words copyright to Katy Johnson are used for the sole purpose of critique and commentary on Katy Johnson and her website (Pageant City) and thus are totally legal under fair use. This is not a parody. It´s more like a news report. That´s it. Stop reeeeading...NOW!