Tuesday, July 28, 2009

From Girls to Grrlz

I saw this slim pink volume with polka dots on the cover at the used bookstore I frequent. I had not heard of Trina Robbins before, but the subject matter: A History of 'female' Comics from Teens to Zines seemed interesting enough to me to pick it up at a good price.

The book is divided into four chapters, each with some degree of chronological overlap, but each detailing a different aspect of comics for girls or women, or featuring girls or women, etc. The chapters are 'Girl's Comics' , 'Women's Comics', Wymen's Comics' and 'Grrrlz' Comics' . It starts at the beginning of the Teen Comics boom, when Archie debuted in the early 40's, and walks us through the present when the word 'girl' has been reclaimed by women.

The book design is a bit odd to me. There are lots of squiggly dotted lines running through everything, and there seems to be an overabundance of capitalization and enlarged text. It doesn't make it unreadable, but it does make me wonder if it adds anything to it.

The good thing about the book is that it chronicles a lot of comics and gives us a lot of names to consider as far as creators and the people responsible for the various 'girl themed' comic lines. It includes a lot of pictures of the subject matter, and includes a lot of content description as well. There are a number of places where you really seem to benefit from Robbins' personal experiences in comics and in the area of women's comics specifically.

I'm glad to have it on my bookshelf, but I was also glad to not pay full price for it. It has given me a lot to think about, and a lot of people to look up and find material by.


Eden said...

I like this book a lot. I do agree with you about the design, somewhat, though -- I think there was too much of an attempt to try to make it "cool." Still, I think it's a fun and awesome history of women's comics.

It breaks my heart that Trina Robbins' books don't stay in print like they should. She's a great voice.

This has inspired me to pull this book off my shelf and take another look at it.

Talkin Bout Comics said...

I really liked how the book was written, I like Robbins' voice, and I like that it isn't overly padded. I have difficulty getting through things that are overly scholarly. This came off as authoritative as well as fun and interesting.

I am constantly surprised by the things that show up in the tiny manga and comics section at this used bookstore. It's not my favorite store, and it is semi expensive for used, but they do get some offbeat stuff sometimes.