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Trina Robbins navigated the boys’ club of comics to become the first woman to draw Wonder Woman

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Interview. 'It’s taken a century, but feminism is finally widely accepted in the USA by today’s young women, and WW’s time has come again.'

written by Thomas Martinelli

October 17, 2020

The recently issued graphic novel by Leigh Bardugo, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and the upcoming feature film Wonder Woman 1984 directed by Patty Jenkins put the most iconic superheroine in the spotlight again. Both newly narrated by women, they take us back to the first woman to draw the Amazonian princess.

Californian of adoption, Trina Robbins (Brooklyn, 1938) is very active and does not want to talk only about Wonder Woman, though she is fond of her. As a matter of fact she has a long and broad creative experience, ranging from being a protagonist of the female underground to historian of rediscovered woman cartoonists, from fashion designer to feminist activist. It’s understandable she doesn’t want to be considered only as “the first woman to have drawn Wonder Woman.”

You started your experience as a comics artist on the underground scene, first at the East Village Other, then moving in 1970 to the west coast. What was it like in San Francisco then?

San Francisco was the mecca of underground comics. All the publishers were located there — in 1970 there were already four publishers of underground comics. Unfortunately, there was also already a boys’ club that networked with each other and left me out. At that point, there were only two women drawing underground comics in San Francisco, or anywhere: Barbara “Willy” Mendes and me. I need to stress that it was not the publishers who left me out, it was the male cartoonists, who had a clique. Also, the many underground newspapers in the SF Bay Area did not leave me out — in fact, as soon as they learned I had moved to San Francisco, they phoned and invited me to contribute. It was the guys, plain and simple. It didn’t help that I objected to the misogynist comics many of them were drawing, and when I say misogynist, I don’t mean........

© Il Manifesto Global

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