In Memorium: Trina Robbins

Talented and ground-breaking comics creator/editor/historian Trina Robbins has passed away, at age 85, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

At LOAC, Trina is best remembered for curating our two-volume reprinting of the Miss Fury Sunday-page series, featuring the first newspaper comics female costumed hero, as written and drawn by Tarpe Mills:

More recently, she teamed with artist/inker extraordinaire Steve Leialoha to produce a page of Dragon Lady paper dolls as part of our program for Terry and the Pirates: The Master Collection (you can see the result of Trina and Steve’s collaboration midway through this post).

Of course, this only scratches the surface of Trina’s five-plus decades of impressive work in the comics business, so much of it focused on women’s issues and shattering industry “glass ceilings” — she was, for instance, the first female artist ever to draw DC Comics’s iconic Wonder Woman.

In the 1970s Trina spearheaded It Ain’t Me, Babe Comix, the first comics project produced exclusively by women. In the 1980s she created a lovely adaptation of the 1919 Sax Rohmer novel Dope for Eclipse Magazine. More than a decade after first drawing Wonder Woman, Trina returned to the character as writer late in the ’90s, as she and artist Colleen Doran used Princess Diana’s world to frame a story about spousal abuse, Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story (earlier in that decade, she helped found Friends of Lulu, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting women talent in the comics industry and introducing comics to the female readership; she followed the theme of comics entry-ramps for that audience with her 2000s series GoGirl!).

Throughout the 2010s she produced a number of books looking at the history of women in comics, with titles like 2017’s Babes in Arms: Women in the Comics During World War II and, from four years before, Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896–2013 (again, click below for an isolated view of each cover).

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision — overturning decades of abortion rights protections granted by the Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling from the 1970s — spurred Trina to activism once again, and just last year she edited Won’t Back Down!, an anthology in which scores of comics creators explored the ramifications of the loss of federal protection for legal abortions performed in safe environments.

Impressive as all these credits are, they’re that figurative tip of the iceberg of Trina’s involvement with and contributions to comics. Everyone here at LOAC is saddened by the loss of a true pioneer — and a true friend.

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