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From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Female Comics from Teens to Zines

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Boys aren't the only ones who read comics—girls do too! From Betty and Veronica to Slutburger and Art Babe, Girls to Grrrlz explores the amazing but true history of girl comics. Pop culture fans will delight in author Trina Robbinss chronological commentary (with attitude) on the authors, artists, trends, and sassy, brassy characters featured in comic books for the last ha Boys aren't the only ones who read comics—girls do too! From Betty and Veronica to Slutburger and Art Babe, Girls to Grrrlz explores the amazing but true history of girl comics. Pop culture fans will delight in author Trina Robbinss chronological commentary (with attitude) on the authors, artists, trends, and sassy, brassy characters featured in comic books for the last half-century. Meet the bubble-headed bombshells of the '40s, the lovelorn ladies of the '50s, the wimmin libbers of the '70s, and the grrrowling grrrlz of today. Her commentary is paired with a ton of rare comic book art pulled from the best girl comics published since World War II. Bridging the gap between Ms. and Sassy, between Miss America and Naomi Wolf, From Girls to Grrrlz reminds us how comic book characters humorously—and critically—reflect our changing culture.


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Boys aren't the only ones who read comics—girls do too! From Betty and Veronica to Slutburger and Art Babe, Girls to Grrrlz explores the amazing but true history of girl comics. Pop culture fans will delight in author Trina Robbinss chronological commentary (with attitude) on the authors, artists, trends, and sassy, brassy characters featured in comic books for the last ha Boys aren't the only ones who read comics—girls do too! From Betty and Veronica to Slutburger and Art Babe, Girls to Grrrlz explores the amazing but true history of girl comics. Pop culture fans will delight in author Trina Robbinss chronological commentary (with attitude) on the authors, artists, trends, and sassy, brassy characters featured in comic books for the last half-century. Meet the bubble-headed bombshells of the '40s, the lovelorn ladies of the '50s, the wimmin libbers of the '70s, and the grrrowling grrrlz of today. Her commentary is paired with a ton of rare comic book art pulled from the best girl comics published since World War II. Bridging the gap between Ms. and Sassy, between Miss America and Naomi Wolf, From Girls to Grrrlz reminds us how comic book characters humorously—and critically—reflect our changing culture.

30 review for From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Female Comics from Teens to Zines

  1. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    A decent overview, but outdated (it's now 17 years after the pub date). Robbins doesn't discuss issues of race at all, and makes a lot of generalized statements about women's issues. It's cursory, and not nearly critical enough. A skimable history of "comics for girls" (she doesn't discuss girls in superhero comics at all, and basically claims that girls don't read those...) This book should probably be updated/republished as a revised edition with some contemporary knowledge and more attention A decent overview, but outdated (it's now 17 years after the pub date). Robbins doesn't discuss issues of race at all, and makes a lot of generalized statements about women's issues. It's cursory, and not nearly critical enough. A skimable history of "comics for girls" (she doesn't discuss girls in superhero comics at all, and basically claims that girls don't read those...) This book should probably be updated/republished as a revised edition with some contemporary knowledge and more attention to issues of intersectionality. Or maybe someone else needs to publish a new history of women and comics.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Guilherme Smee

    Ler livros da Trina Robbins é sempre um deleite. A sua escrita é uma delícia de ler e seus livros sempre vem muito bem contextualizados e ricamente ilustrados. Ela separa este livro, em que encara os quadrinhos feito para garotas e mulheres nos Estados Unidos, em cinco partes. Em Girls Comics, ela analisa os quadrinhos feitos para garotas, começando com Betty e Verônica da turma do Archie, de Riverdale e também fala sobre os quadrinhos de profissões femininas feitos pela Timely Comics e escritos Ler livros da Trina Robbins é sempre um deleite. A sua escrita é uma delícia de ler e seus livros sempre vem muito bem contextualizados e ricamente ilustrados. Ela separa este livro, em que encara os quadrinhos feito para garotas e mulheres nos Estados Unidos, em cinco partes. Em Girls Comics, ela analisa os quadrinhos feitos para garotas, começando com Betty e Verônica da turma do Archie, de Riverdale e também fala sobre os quadrinhos de profissões femininas feitos pela Timely Comics e escritos por Stan Lee. Em Women Comics, ela trata dos quadrinhos de romance, pois nos quadrinhos para garotas, as personagens nunca trocavam carícias e beijos, aqui, em meados da década de 50, elas já faziam isso com seus amados. Em Womyns Comics, Trina vai falar dos quadrinhos underground produzidos por mulheres, em fanzines e antologias, culminando com o surgimento de Love & Rockets, dos irmãos Hernandez nos anos 80. Em Grrrls Comics, ela pega emprestado o nome do grupo contracultural Guerrilla Girrrls para dar nome a um novo tipo de quadrinhos: o que aborda temas polêmicos como lesbianidade, contracepção, aborto e temas da maternidade sendo colocados nas páginas dos quadrinhos feitos pelas e para as mulheres e cita Alison Bechdel como um bom exemplo de quadrinho e quadrinista atual nesta leva. Um baita livro. Toda pessoa que estuda mulheres nos quadrinhos NECESSITA ler pelo menos um livro de Trina Robbins para fazer uma boa pesquisa no tema.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    I wanted to like this a lot more than I do. Essentially, it's written for a lay audience, so it doesn't contain anywhere near as much info as I want. It's a skimming history. For one thing, I want more and longer reprints of comics to go along with the commentary. Reprinted pages would be far more effective than her text synopses of comics; how can you fully discuss comics as an art without plenty of them? Robbins obviously knows that most of these comics are rare, since 1. duh, older comics Are I wanted to like this a lot more than I do. Essentially, it's written for a lay audience, so it doesn't contain anywhere near as much info as I want. It's a skimming history. For one thing, I want more and longer reprints of comics to go along with the commentary. Reprinted pages would be far more effective than her text synopses of comics; how can you fully discuss comics as an art without plenty of them? Robbins obviously knows that most of these comics are rare, since 1. duh, older comics Are rare and 2. she spends some time discussing how few women even know contemporary independent comics even exist; why isn't she presenting them far more obviously? Probably there were rights issues, plus financial negotiations concerning how many pages of color they could afford to print. So, realistically, this may have been a difficult task, but it's still a flaw. Then I want the commentary to be more in-depth, discussing political implications in more detail and making more connections to other groundbreaking feminist arts. The info Robbins presents is good, but there just isn't enough of it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I learned so much about girls in comics from this book. I had no idea about girls comics, romance comics, and 70s self-published comics AT ALL, as my knowledge mostly extends to current comic books and superhero lit. Robbins does a great job of explaining the evolution of each genre in a clear and concise manner, with lots of pictures accompanying the text. Because, what's a book about comics without pictures?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    A very basic overview. This book does not provide a critical perspective, or any discussion of race.

  6. 5 out of 5

    rêveur d'art

    One thing I've noticed reading reviews for this book is that people seem to have expected this to be about the history of women in comics and/or by women working in comics. That was not the aim of this book. For that you'll have to read Trina Robbins other books on the history of women in comics; in particular, Pretty in Ink. For female superheroes, she has also written a whole book dedicated to them, too. The real aim of this book was the history of comics that was specifically targeted and mark One thing I've noticed reading reviews for this book is that people seem to have expected this to be about the history of women in comics and/or by women working in comics. That was not the aim of this book. For that you'll have to read Trina Robbins other books on the history of women in comics; in particular, Pretty in Ink. For female superheroes, she has also written a whole book dedicated to them, too. The real aim of this book was the history of comics that was specifically targeted and marketed towards women, regardless of age groups: girls' comics. And in that this book was a real treat, though a great deal has happened since this book was published. I also loved the overall look and layout of this book. A truly gorgeous book inside and out, with rare examples of girls' comics throughout.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Robinson

    I picked this book up to learn more about the riot grrl movement- specifically the zines within the movement. However, the most interesting part of this book was the discussion of the comics targeted towards teenage girls in the 40s and 50s. It was really interesting, kept my focus the whole time, and gave me a new way to look at Marvel comics, Stan Lee, DC, and just comics in general. I did hear complaints that the book was very basic, and didn't go into enough detail. As someone who has almost I picked this book up to learn more about the riot grrl movement- specifically the zines within the movement. However, the most interesting part of this book was the discussion of the comics targeted towards teenage girls in the 40s and 50s. It was really interesting, kept my focus the whole time, and gave me a new way to look at Marvel comics, Stan Lee, DC, and just comics in general. I did hear complaints that the book was very basic, and didn't go into enough detail. As someone who has almost no previous knowledge of comics, I thought it was enjoyable and I learned a lot. But for someone who already knows a brief history, this may leave you wanting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is outdated at this point, written in the late 90s, but I enjoyed what it does have, especially the first two chapters about the teen girl comics and romance comics. The reprinted panels, pages and covers that supplemented the text added a lot. I would kind of like to track down a newer, more in depth look at both comics written for girls/women and the portrayal of women in comics in general.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Billy Hogan

    Trina Robbins writes an informative, entertaining and educational summary of the history of comic books that were geared towards girls and women, going from the Archie style of comic books in the 1940's to the feminist and LGBTQ comic books today.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    I picked this up mainly because after years of hearing my friends talking about comics, I was curious. I found the first half, from the 40s-50s, to be really very cool and interesting - talking about how so many comic lines were targeting teen girls and showing examples. I really liked that. The second half, where she talks about where comics went just before, during and after women's lib, got a little less interesting. Not because the comics themselves weren't as good, but because she wasn't ab I picked this up mainly because after years of hearing my friends talking about comics, I was curious. I found the first half, from the 40s-50s, to be really very cool and interesting - talking about how so many comic lines were targeting teen girls and showing examples. I really liked that. The second half, where she talks about where comics went just before, during and after women's lib, got a little less interesting. Not because the comics themselves weren't as good, but because she wasn't able to be as objective - apparently she was instrumental in the movement, and she still feels very much a part of the events. I don't think I'll be passing this title on to any of my friends who are into comics, though. I can absolutely hear Julia's response to the statement at the end that the only comic available for girls right now is Archie - bitching about then what the hell is she reading now? I think the author got a bit bogged down in what is targeted towards girls vs. what girls can only read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dominick

    Decent if superficial history of comics for girls. It's written in a breezy style, and it aims for a descriptive rather than a critical perspective, and it is well illustrated, but it is also pretty thin. Its focus also drifts; arguably, later in the book when the focus turns to comics of the 1970s through 1990s, Robbins drifts away from her supposed topic of comics for girls and towards the topic of comics for/about women (e.g. undergrounds, which cannot plausibly be seen as youth-oriented, whi Decent if superficial history of comics for girls. It's written in a breezy style, and it aims for a descriptive rather than a critical perspective, and it is well illustrated, but it is also pretty thin. Its focus also drifts; arguably, later in the book when the focus turns to comics of the 1970s through 1990s, Robbins drifts away from her supposed topic of comics for girls and towards the topic of comics for/about women (e.g. undergrounds, which cannot plausibly be seen as youth-oriented, which I would infer from the girl focus). Comics with female protagonists but not targeted primarily at girl readers are largely overlooked here, deliberately no doubt. Certainly worth reading for anyone relatively unconversant with the history of girls' comics, and even for those who do have some knowledge, as Robbins's own knowledge is pretty extensive. Many readers will therefore probably find her at least mentioning some things about which they know little. Probably best suited for the more casual interest/reader, though.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    Not at all academic, this is a nice overview of the idea of girls' comics from the 30's to the end of the 20th C (the comics marketed towards them, really --something Trina points out). Taking the Archie titles and the every-day soap opera / teen drama setting as the idea for where the trend in girl comics readers picks up (comics always stealing from the pulps), Robbins follows the development of the genre and tracks the growth (and decline) of it's readership alongside the history of the U.S. Not at all academic, this is a nice overview of the idea of girls' comics from the 30's to the end of the 20th C (the comics marketed towards them, really --something Trina points out). Taking the Archie titles and the every-day soap opera / teen drama setting as the idea for where the trend in girl comics readers picks up (comics always stealing from the pulps), Robbins follows the development of the genre and tracks the growth (and decline) of it's readership alongside the history of the U.S. to show how wars, feminism and cultural tone change the place of women in the comics and behind the drawing table. The book is well paced with a good selection of accompanying art but I would have loved for a more in depth discussion of some of the titles and time periods (especially the 60/70 period). I'd rather have an extra half star to ad to the review also.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Trina Robbins is a life long idol of mine, and it is because of this book and her other books dedicated to women in cartooning, and comic books. She delves into and focuses on women in comic books, from the early 20th century to now. She discusses notable works and women, and talks about the conditions of society that either kept or lead to women doing comic books. She was the first to show me that there was a rich and fascinating history behind the comic books I love to devour and made me reali Trina Robbins is a life long idol of mine, and it is because of this book and her other books dedicated to women in cartooning, and comic books. She delves into and focuses on women in comic books, from the early 20th century to now. She discusses notable works and women, and talks about the conditions of society that either kept or lead to women doing comic books. She was the first to show me that there was a rich and fascinating history behind the comic books I love to devour and made me realize that sometimes the stories of the people behind the comic books were just as, if not more, interesting as the fictional works they created. This book is a good primer to begin researching and reading more about women and their history in comic books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I'm a bit mixed about this. There's some wonderful, hard-to-find art and artists in this book, but it is also very US centric. It's a great overview of womens' comics/comix, but without much critical appraisal of the ways in which women are portrayed or the context in which these comix were produced. There's no mention of British girls' comics at all. There's also no Further Reading or Bibliography, which is very naughty and a bit irritating. The book's designed, I guess, to give a brief orientat I'm a bit mixed about this. There's some wonderful, hard-to-find art and artists in this book, but it is also very US centric. It's a great overview of womens' comics/comix, but without much critical appraisal of the ways in which women are portrayed or the context in which these comix were produced. There's no mention of British girls' comics at all. There's also no Further Reading or Bibliography, which is very naughty and a bit irritating. The book's designed, I guess, to give a brief orientation into the world of womens' comics, which it does successfully enough. I enjoyed reading this, particularly the later chapter on Riot Grrrl zines and art.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Podraza

    Trina Robbins's FROM GIRLS TO GRRRLZ is a great starting place for anyone interested in learning about women in comics. The book is a quick, simplified overview of the development of comics/x for girls/women and by those same audiences. It's split into four sections peppered with exemplary visual material: Girls' Comics (1941-1957), Women's Comics (1947-1977), Womyn's Comix (1970-1989), and Grrrlz' Comix (The 1990s). I would recommend this book to readers interested in the "herstory" of comics/x Trina Robbins's FROM GIRLS TO GRRRLZ is a great starting place for anyone interested in learning about women in comics. The book is a quick, simplified overview of the development of comics/x for girls/women and by those same audiences. It's split into four sections peppered with exemplary visual material: Girls' Comics (1941-1957), Women's Comics (1947-1977), Womyn's Comix (1970-1989), and Grrrlz' Comix (The 1990s). I would recommend this book to readers interested in the "herstory" of comics/x but with the caveat that a lot more research and reading is needed afterwards.

  16. 5 out of 5

    K Kriesel

    I absolutely loved From Girls to Grrrlz and couldn't believe how little of its information is widespread. Important stuff for both feminists and the comic world!! The writing, pacing, and references are all smooth and well-done. I recommend this to anyone interested in feminism and/or comics. The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is that some of the pictures were too small to read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Robbins delivers a very basic history of "girl" comics minus any capes and cowls. It delivers a good read but the change over from 50s romance comics to 90s zine culture is a bit jarring. I felt the book just went from one extreme to the other.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I may try the second half of this one again later. It was just starting to get interesting, talking about the feminist movement and other fun things. But I was so worn out by the beginning, with the minute details about comic book characters that no longer exist, I just quit.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book was so much fun - I admit, I read all the comics first and the actual text later... but both were very satisfying! I could have stood for much less on the "Betty and Veronica" topic, but it was all in all great chicklit.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carla Remy

    Of course I liked the stuff about Archie and Katy Keene and Romance Comics so much. Vicki Valentine got a mention and illustration and that was pleasing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    true story: i'm pretty sure i read this book as a kid because some of the stuff looked REALLY familiar. unfortunately, re-reading it as an adult the content seems really basic.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Autumn Shuler

    I don't know much about the comic world, but a friend gave me this and I read through it simply because I had it on hand. I must say, it makes me want to start getting into comics.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leah Cameron

  24. 5 out of 5

    Charissa

  25. 4 out of 5

    RamiSing

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shalulah

  27. 4 out of 5

    Xavier Grajeda

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alessandra

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

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