Trina Robbins obituary


The American illustrator and author Trina Robbins, who has died aged 85, started her profession in comics in her native New York within the Sixties as a contributor to the counterculture newspaper East Village Different. She additionally drew and wrote strips for Gothic Blimp Works, an underground comedian.

Then got here comedian strips, covers and spot illustrations for the underground publications Berkeley Tribe and It Ain’t Me, Babe, usually described as the primary feminist newspaper, earlier than earlier than she put collectively an all-women comedian, It Ain’t Me, Babe Comix (1970), adopted by the anthology All Lady Thrills (1971) and the solo comedian Lady Struggle Comics (1972).

Her black heroine, Fox, was serialised in Good Occasions (1971) and one other of her characters, Panthea, who first appeared in Gothic Blimp Works (1969), was an everyday in Comix Guide (1974-76).

She additionally turned one of many 10 founders of Wimmen’s Comix, an all-female underground comics anthology revealed from 1972 to 1992, and within the late 70s was a contributor to Excessive Occasions, Heavy Steel, Nationwide Lampoon and Playboy.

Later she tailored the 1919 novel Dope, by Sax Rohmer, for Eclipse Comics (1981-83) and wrote and drew Meet Misty (1985-86) for Marvel. She was additionally the primary lady to attract Surprise Girl, in The Legend of Surprise Girl (1986).

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Wimmen’s Comix Presents Disastrous Relationships, Rip Off Press, 1989. Trina Robbins was a co-founder of the all-female underground comics anthology

Robbins’ wider curiosity within the historical past of ladies’ comics led her to co-write a e-book concerning the style, Girls and the Comics (1986), with Catherine Yronwode, and later A Century of Girls Cartoonists (1993), adopted by various biographies of feminine comedian pioneers, together with Nell Brinkley, Lily Renée, Gladys Parker and Tarpé Mills.

Born in Brooklyn, she grew up in Queens, the place her mom, Bessie (nee Roseman) was a instructor. Her father, Max Perlson, was a tailor who later wrote for Yiddish-language newspapers and revealed a set of tales, A Minyen Yidn (1938), that was turned by Trina into a comic book anthology in 2017.

On the age of 10 she graduated from studying healthful animal comics to Millie the Mannequin, Patsy Walker and others with feminine protagonists. The Katy Keene comedian was particularly influential, because it inspired Robbins to make paper dolls and design clothes for them. She was additionally an enormous fan of the jungle adventuress Sheena.

Having found science fiction at 14, Robbins started attending conventions, and at one such gathering she met the brief story author Harlan Ellison. At 21 he was 5 years her senior, however they dated briefly and he later wrote her into his movie The Oscar (1966) as Trina Yale, performed by Edie Adams.

Trina attended Queens Faculty earlier than finding out drawing at Cooper Union, though she dropped out after a 12 months. In 1957 she married the cartoonist Artwork Castillo; they moved to the Bay space of Los Angeles till he disappeared to Mexico and the connection ended.

Working for a time as a mannequin for males’s magazines, she was a cinema usherette when she met Paul Robbins, whom she married in 1962 following Castillo’s dying. Her new husband wrote for the LA Free Press, which gave her entry to the Byrds, Bob Dylan and different musicians, and he or she started making clothes to promote to musician mates, together with Mama Cass.

Returning alone to New York in 1966 (she and Robbins finally divorced, in 1972), she opened a boutique known as Broccoli on East 4th Avenue, making garments for unique prospects and having flings with various them, together with the Doorways’ singer Jim Morrison and the activist Abbie Hoffman; she additionally had longer relationships with Paul Williams, editor of Crawdaddy journal, and the cartoonist Kim Deitch, with whom she arrange a cartoon artwork museum on East ninth Avenue.

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A web page from The Legend of Surprise Girl, No 3, DC Comics, 1986, by Trina Robbins

Her clothes-making acquired her right into a track by Joni Mitchell, who wrote in Women of the Canyon that “Trina wears her wampum beads / She fills her drawing e-book with line / Stitching lace on widows’ weeds / And filigree on leaf and vine”.

After she had bought her boutique in 1969 and started to make her dwelling in comics, there was no wanting again.

Other than her writing and illustrating actions over time, in 1994

she turned one of many founders of Mates of Lulu, a US-based charity that promotes the studying of comedian books by girls and the participation of girls within the comedian e-book business.

Her later work on the historical past of girls in comics produced three additional books, From Ladies to Grrrlz (1996), The Nice Girls Cartoonists (2001) and Fairly in Ink (2013).

She additionally wrote various books for youngsters, beginning with Catswalk: The Rising of Lady (1990), and together with the Chicagoland Detective Company collection (2010-14) of weird highschool thriller adventures.

For adults she wrote The Nice Girls Superheroes (1996), Eternally Dangerous: Goddesses With Perspective (2001), Tender Murderers: Girls Who Kill (2003) and Wild Irish Roses: Tales of Brigits, Kathleens and Warrior Queens (2004).

Her most up-to-date comedian was Gained’t Again Down (2024), a pro-choice anthology.

She is survived by her companion, Steve Leialoha, a daughter, Casey, from her relationship with Dietch, and her sister Harriet.


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