Sally here covering over 100 years of women making comics, from Rose O’Neill to Dale Messick to Fiona Smyth to Jessica Campbell, and much more!


Koyama Press, May 2018

Koyama Press always has a terrific lineup of new comics, and the Spring 2018 collection is no exception. I’m particularly excited for Jessica Campbell‘s comic (pictured above), the first lengthy story she’s told for a long while. Although I enjoy her comics which appear regularly on Hyperallergic (there’s a particularly funny one HERE, about “Residencies” vs. “Retreats“) and got a kick out of 2016’s Hot Or Not: 20th-Century Male Artists (also from Koyama Press), I am always left wanting MORE from Jessica Campbell. Therefore, I am thrilled to report that the new work, XTC69, is chapters long (120 pages!). And a quick look at review copy PDF proves that it is funny and weird and drawn in a 6-panel grid…and I made myself stop reading since I want to save my joy for the real thing. Coming out in May! Here’s the blurb on it:

Explorers from an all-women planet have found men to breed with, but have they found studs or duds?
Commander Jessica Campbell of the planet L8DZ N1T3 and her crew are searching for men to breed with when they discover the last human on Earth, the cryogenically frozen Jessica Campbell. With a new, but familiar crewmember, the search for men continues, but will it be worth it?

This is a great time to mention that Jessica Campbell was the most recent guest on Anya Davidson‘s podcast – listen to Mindkiller Episode 12 HERE.


Koyama Press, May 2018

I am perhaps equally excited for Fiona Smyth‘s collection Somnambulance, also out from Koyama Press in May. Another cartoonist whom I want more of in my life, this is 300+ pages of Fiona’s work, spanning her career by showcasing comic strips and mini comics and other work from the mid-80’s through 2017.

Over thirty years of comics that feature Fiona’s world of sexy ladies, precocious girls, and vindictive goddesses is revealed in all its feminist glory. This is recommended reading for sleepwalkers on a female planet.

Black and white, and color, this is going to be a real pleasure to dig into. Fiona Smyth has been working steadily for 30 years, and is a real inspiration to me. With this collection, I look forward to having something new to put into the hands of other women who are interested in reading and making comics!


If you are in any of the cities listed above, be on the lookout for Aline Kominsky-Crumb, the force of nature herself, on the move along with her new book Love That Bunch (Drawn & Quarterly, May 2018) which collects her autobiographic comics and tells the tale of a woman “coming of age” in the 1960’s as only Aline could.

HERE is the list of events and details about who Aline will be caught in conversation with.

Love That Bunch will be another career-spanning collection, with comics from the 1970’s along with a new story. You can read more about it HERE, and see an excerpt from it HERE.


Gladys Parker

The Fabulous Fifties is one of those “fabulous” archival blogs, where a collector posts scans of old comic strips, etc. This one is run by Ger Apeldoorn, and he has a vast collection of stuff. The blog is a treasure chest. A recent post offers up several dozen comic strips, all of which were published on Apeldoorn’s birthday, Sunday March 15th, 1959. I skimmed through the list with great pleasure, and found a couple of strips to share here today.

Above is a strip by Gladys Parker, one of the very few female cartoonists who was working between the 1930’s and 50’s. She took over Ethel Hays‘ popular strip Flapper Fanny Says before developing her own strip, Mopsy, in 1939. Mopsy was very successful, and Gladys drew it until 1965.

Below is one of the Brenda Starr, Reporter strips by Dale Messick. The series began in the mid-40’s and was at the height of it’s popularity in the 50’s. Dale Messick drew it until 1980, after which it was carried on by a couple of individuals or writer/artist teams – all of them female. Ramona Fradon took it over from Dale Messick, and when the strip concluded in 2011 (!) it was being written by Mary Schmich and drawn by June Brigman.

Dale Messick


Last but not least

Rose O’Neill
  • Smithsonian.com has an article about Rose O’Neill (b. 1874) and her iconic creation – Kewpies (one pictured above). These benevolent elves/cupid-like creatures were an national sensation, starring in comics and becoming a doll, etc. Rose O’Neill started out as the only woman on staff at Puck magazine, but the success of Kewpies brought her fame and wealth, and a better platform to fight for women’s right to vote and other issues of gender and racial equality. Read all about her HERE.
  • Lynda Barry (herself!) covers Pénélope Bagieu‘s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World for The New York Times Book Review – read her thoughts HERE. (There’s an interesting discussion of the dramatic difference that a small decision made: removing Bagieu’s handwritten text – in French, for the strips as they originally appeared in Le Monde – for generic “handwritten” block text in the English version…)
  • Meredith Gran is running Octopus Pie again from the beginning – so new readers, now is your chance to hop on board. I would say that this is a pretty rare occurrence for a webcomic, and there is even an article on Slate about that, and why you should read it. Octopus Pie kicked off (again) on March 19th 2018 – read it HERE!
  • Philippe Leblanc reviews Kiku HughesThe Ghosts We Are and the Ghosts We Will Beon The Comics Beat.


Announcing the Spring Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers

8 weeks! $500 bux! 10 spots available!

Rolling start date because of spring break – start as early as March 30th 2018.

Deadline to apply is April 12th.

Read all about the course HERE and email santoroschool@gmail.com for more details or to apply.


Suzy and Cecil – 3-23-2018 – by Gabriella Tito


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