15 Responses to “Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine”

  1. bbnan

    Well, per your last entry, you certainly were right, the story does get pretty brutal – but then, the world is a brutal place for many people, including both the women discussed. Considering that there is a huge, huge market for the subject both in fiction and quasi-fiction featuring male gangsters or criminals (Godfather, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Goodfellas, etc. for pretty much forever), I think it’s pretty silly to protest this entry. And for myself, I’m most certainly not going to feel guilty for really enjoying reading it. There’s no way in hell I’ll ever narrow it down to one, but I can say with certainty this is definitely *one of* my favorite entries so far (particularly love the “I am no man” image and the image of flying Kate, which is no less fantastic for being, as you openly admitted, probably a slightly exaggerated version of the event). In fact, I’m going to try and track down that TV series. I really enjoyed Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which is a fictional series set in the 20s in Australia and features a woman who fights crime while smashing every social rule anyone tries to shove her into, and I kept thinking as I read through this entry “these two sound like perfect material for a MFMM where we follow a woman who uses other people’s gender expectations against them as well as Phryne does, but working on the other side of the law.”

    Side note, as I remember you mentioning it briefly in your entry on Nafanua, I saw Moana last night, and I am – yet again! – so overwhelmed and overjoyed by how many people in the entertainment industry such as yourself are all contributing to give the young women in today’s generation SO MUCH more variety and depth in the representation of our gender in our media than I ever saw growing up! I spent half the damn movie just delighting in the decisions they’d made, including some that they really didn’t have to, wouldn’t have changed anything about the plot, but just by doing it, they made it SO MUCH better. I don’t want to spoil anything as it’s still so new, so I’ll stay vague. A good example is Moana’s original intended role in the village. They didn’t make a big deal out of what they did, and that can easily go the wrong way either way – either deciding that it’s ‘different’, so better shove a bunch of useless exposition in here to explain the decision because surely this decision they’ve made is just *inconceivable* without a ridiculously contrived explanation(!), or deciding that it’s ‘different’, so let’s spend some time applauding ourselves and drawing attention to what we just did there. They just made the universe the way they wanted and all the villagers treated it as what it was – a normal and expected event. And they just kept doing things like that – getting to points where they could have gone with “the way it’s always done”, and changing it up while never holding up the story in order to do so. I was glowing by just a few minutes into the movie and didn’t ever really stop.

  2. samira otu

    hahahahahaha this is one of my best ones yet!

  3. Jeanette Wu

    This is certainly one of the best and most exciting entries on this website yet! I love the story, the layout, and the jokes that you chose for this entry. The main image also has a very intense feeling. Love the juxtaposition of the well dressed 1920s ladies and the razor blades at their throats.

  4. FeliciaVoris

    You can find “Underbelly: Razor” on Netflix or Hulu. It’s an Australian tv show that does a great visual treatment of Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine. Best to binge watch this one!

  5. JustASC

    Okay, but did you…seriously call a 12 yr old victim of human trafficking a “sex worker”??? This is…really…I can’t even really describe how awful that is. What were you thinking?

  6. Jason Porath

    Hi. I’m taking it that you haven’t seen any of my many, many other discussions of this, so I’ll rehash for you:

    – Tilly made it extremely clear in every single interview she ever gave that she chose that path of her own volition. She also gave her age as 17, although records indicate she was closer to 15 (some outlier reports guessed 12). In her own words, she took extreme exception to the idea that she was ever a victim a single day in her life.
    – She wasn’t trafficked. She and Jim had a relationship for over a year in England before Jim went to Australia. They had mutually decided she would continue that line of work before she followed him to Sydney (as I remark upon in the footnotes).
    – I could not find any evidence that Tilly or Kate engaged in human trafficking. Their general MO was to engage Sydney women on the street and entice them to work via peer pressure and promises of money. Tilly kept them in her employ via a combination of niceties, drugs, threats, and providing for them.
    – Tilly and Kate – but Tilly especially – took extreme advantage of public perception of every women in a brothel as a victim. Tilly repeatedly used that to her advantage in court and in the papers to lower sentences and escape jail time – while privately admitting it was a falsehood in many cases.
    – Again, as I wrote in the very first note in the art notes: “Posting about these women doesn’t mean I think they should be emulated.” There are many unsavory, difficult characters throughout human history who have interesting stories and are in no way role models. These two definitely fit in that mold.

    It is my hope that you see this and understand the precision behind that phrasing. If this sours you on my work, I understand your prerogative. I hope you find a collection of work elsewhere that is sanitized to your liking.

  7. JustASC

    I don’t really even know how to respond to this because you say they didn’t engage in human trafficking but then go on to say that the women they employed they did so through “peer pressure” and kept them with “drugs” and “threats”. And look, you could find many people who claim they were never victimized from sexual relationships they had with adults when they were still children. You could find 14 yr olds right now in relationships with 30 yr olds who claim not to be victims. But children can either consent to adults or they can’t. It is not at all uncommon to respond “I wasn’t a victim! I chose this” as a way to cope with trauma.

    “I hope you find a collection of work elsewhere that is sanitized to your liking”

    “Sanitized”? That’s rather condescending. In no way did I say you shouldn’t have written about these women; I know what this blog is about. I’m taking exception to “became a sex worker at 12”. You can go ahead and say Tilly herself said she was 17, and other reports say more like 15. But A) that would still make her a child and B) in your comic you go with 12. “Sex worker” implies choice, agency, whatever, which she may well claim she had, but children cannot consent to being prostituted, and any adult male who took her up on it was abusing her.

  8. esmeralda

    tilly looks kinda like galinda from wicked the way you drew her

  9. Keith O'Neil

    They were remorseless criminals, but so many parts of their story would make for an excellent movie.

  10. Julien Brightside

    Sucker punch out of a moving trolley gotta be the best drawing I’ve seen today.