Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tales from the Underground

Original Photo via Flickr user _dChris (CC BY 2.0 license)

Today's trip to the world of underground comix is the classic 1972 book, Wimmen's Comix #1, published by Last Gasp.

Wimmen's Comix grew out of a Last Gasp one-shot, It Ain't Me Babe, put together by Trina Robbins and the larger Women's Lib/second-wave feminism movement.  There's a great account of its history over at the Lambiek Comiclopedia that I recommend checking out.

The whole run could be described as queer because of its messages of sexual liberation and female empowerment, but it occasionally dealt more directly with LGBTQ issues.  Considering the sometimes problematic relationship of second-wave feminism with queer women, this was--if not revolutionary--at least very progressive of the creators.

The first example of this and likely the first comic to ever feature lesbians in a positive, not-erotic light was "Sandy Comics Out" by Trina Robbins.

"Sandy" is in fact R Crumb's sister Sandy, who stayed with Trina for a while after her famous brother was sort of a massive tool, and the story depicted in the comic is mostly authentic, including the part about Sandy living in a gay/hippie commune.  It's a short, three-page story but funny and well-drawn.  More importantly, it paved the way for a whole mess of queer underground comix in the 70s.

Finding copies of issue #1 can be difficult, but thankfully, you can read the whole story about "Sandy" in Justin Hall's anthology, No Straight Lines.

Just for fun, here's a couple of pictures of the Wimmen's Comix Collective:

via Lambiek Comiclopedia
Trina is second from the left, standing next to Shelby Sampson, who looks like she is being devoured by the beard of Ron Turner (Last Gasp's founder and publisher).

From left to right: Michelle Brand, Lee Mars, Lora Fountain, Patricia Moodian, Sharon Rudall, Shelby Sampson, Aline Kominsky, Trina Robbins, Karen Marie Haskell, and Janet Wolfe Stanley.



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