Pretty In Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013

A cornucopia of visual delights over a century of women cartooning. Early cartoons were of the Kewpie doll variety, things kids would like, a safe zone. Flapper characters became the rage, drawn with exquisite fashions by some of the top designers & artists. Then: WAR, and women take over some of the more action-y stories, which is alright… during a wartime…. but please scootch on back to families and babies once the men are back from the front. Brenda Starr a rare exception, showing a woman reporter and her adventures. Heartbreaking letters from fans begging for the female characters to please god do something INTERESTING! A bit of a rant on the exclusion of women from the ranks of inkers, which was too much inside-baseball talk for my head. Overall it seemed comprehensive, yet cluttered. The text within chapters would list woman after woman, names piled up and colliding and not a clear visual that we’d moved on to a different artist. Collected & written by Trina Robbins, I was surprised there wasn’t a more virulent feminist bent from this second-wave warrior who I had the pleasure of seeing at an Opera Plaza screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.