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Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists, 1896-2013by Trina Robbins
Synopses & Reviews
With the 1896 publication of Rose O'Neill's comic strip , in , American women entered the field of comics, and they never left it. But, you might not know that reading most of the comics histories out there. Trina Robbins has spent the last thirty years recording the accomplishments of a century of women cartoonists, and is her ultimate book, a revised, updated and rewritten history of women cartoonists, with more color illustrations than ever before, and with some startling new discoveries (such as a Native American woman cartoonist from the 1940s who was also a Corporal in the women's army, and the revelation that a cartoonist included in all of Robbins's previous histories was a man!) In the pages of you'll find new photos and correspondence from cartoonists Ethel Hays and Edwina Dumm, and the true story of Golden Age comic book star Lily Renee, as intriguing as the comics she drew. Although the comics profession was dominated by men, there were far more women working in the profession throughout the 20th century than other histories indicate, and they have flourished in the 21st. Robbins not only documents the increasing relevance of women throughout the 20th century, with mainstream creators such as Ramona Fradon and Dale Messick and alternative cartoonists such as Lynda Barry, Carol Tyler, and Phoebe Gloeckner, but the latest generation of women cartoonists--Megan Kelso, Cathy Malkasian, Linda Medley, and Lilli Carré, among many others. Robbins is the preeminent historian of women comic artists; forget her previous histories: is her most comprehensive volume to date.
"In this survey of cartoon and comic art by women, comics 'herstorian' Robbins attempts to chronicle the evolution of the art form and of the role of women in it. The author, though evidently knowledgeable and passionate, has chosen a scope that reaches too wide and her coverage is often not deep enough, sometimes doing her subjects a disservice by summarizing entire careers in a single long sentence with few cartoonists given enough attention to make their stories stick. Most of the book, thankfully, is given over to beautifully reproduced illustrations taking up the majority of most pages, that 'show' the history far more eloquently than Robbins tells it. A later chapter about the feminist underground comics scene of the 1970s takes a self-promotional turn (and changes to a first-person perspective) while paying disproportionate attention to Robbins's own long-running Wimmen's Comix anthology. The vast and worthy subject matter may have been better served by a more comprehensive multi-volume book series that did not try to cram 120 years of illustrations into a single book, but for all of the book's limitations, the quality and variety of the art inclusions alone may be educational enough to make it worth your time. Color and b&w illus. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Trina Robbins updates her seminal historical survey of female cartoonists for the 21st century — when female cartoonists such as Alison Bechdel, Lynda Barry, and Kate Beaton are at perhaps their highest profile.
About the Author
Retired cartoonist and current comics historian Trina Robbins has been writing graphic novels, comics, and books for over 30 years. Her subjects have ranged from Wonder Woman and The Powerpuff Girls to her own teenage superheroine, GoGirl!, and from women cartoonists and superheroines to women who kill. She lives in a moldering 103 year-old house in San Francisco with her cats, shoes, and dust bunnies.
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