Last week, at Printed Matter, my friend Asher pointed me in the direction of this box labeled Feminist Comics. And what a find it was! I almost don't want to tell anyone, because I can't afford to buy them all myself.
Anyhow, most of the comics were from the 1970s and 80s. There's one great series called Wimmin's Comix (sometimes spelled Wimmen). From 1970 to 1991 a wide group of women worked as a collective to put out the series. Each issue is edited by two different women. Anyone, as long as they were female, was allowed to submit work to Wimmin's Comix. Its pretty amazing the variety of style and material that these women worked with.
Trina Robbins is considered the very first female underground comic artist. She was a founder of the Wimmin's Comix collective and also put out All Girl Thrills and Girl Fight 1 and 2. Printed Matter has one of the amazing Girl Fight comics as well as one she did called Trina's Women. Trina went on to do several editions of Wonder Woman as well as publishing two illustrated books and From Girls to Grrrlz, about the history of women's comics.
Lee Marrs is another whose work really stands out. She got her start working on Little Orphan Annie comics and later co-founded the Alternative Features Service, which distributed comics as well as news and features to underground papers. She's best known for her Pudge, Girl Blimp series. I love how Pudge is always trampling things while exclaiming "Gee Whiz! San Francisco! Enlightenment! Dope! Getting Laid!"
Two other women, Diane Noomin and Aline Kominsky-Crumb, put together a hilarious comic called Twisted Sister, as well as a ton of wild 80s looking comics of their own.
These old comics cover way more ground than any of the stuff I remember seeing as a kid. They range from the stresses of motherhood to fun with S&M and hard drugs.
Mama Dramas makes being a mom look realistically chaotic and yet totally groovy at the same time.
Then there is the epic Wet Satin series of "women's erotic fantasies". Wet Satin is amazing in that it was created at the height of the sexual revolution, yet before the whole thing became commercialized and porntastic. Since the series is created by all sorts of women you really get an idea of the broad range of female desire. There is way more variation than we get with the four identity choices offered up in Sex and the City. Even Chewbaca makes an appearance as a tender yet manly lover.
Here are a few selections from a bunch of different comics by women.