Robbins, Trina 1938–
Robbins, Trina 1938–
PERSONAL: Born August 17, 1938, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Max Bear (a tailor and writer) and Elizabeth (a teacher; maiden name, Rosenman) Perlson; married Paul Jay Robbins, August, 1962 (marriage ended, 1966); children: Casey. Education: Attended Cooper Union. Politics: "Radical left, feminist." Religion: "Pagan."
CAREER: Cartoonist, writer, and editor. Everett Middle School, San Francisco, CA, teacher, 1974; Marin College for Kids, California, teacher, 1976; Rivendell Private School, San Francisco, CA, teacher, 1981–83; McCoppin Center, San Francisco, CA, teacher, 1986; Wimmen's Comix, co-founder. Guest lecturer, including University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1977, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, 1978, 1983; School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, 1982.
Exhibitions: Work exhibited at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Cartoon Art.
MEMBER: Women's Cartoonist Collective.
AWARDS, HONORS: Inkpot Award from San Diego Comics Convention, 1977.
(Editor) It Ain't Me Babe (comics by women), Last Gasp (San Francisco, CA), 1970.
Flashback Fashions, Price, Stern, Sloan (Los Angeles, CA), 1983.
The Silver Metal Lover (novel), Crown (New York, NY), 1985.
(With Cat Yronwode) Women and the Comics, Eclipse (Forestville, CA), 1986.
Paperdolls from the Comics, Eclipse (Forestville, CA), 1987.
Catswalk: The Growing of Girl, Celestial Arts (Berkeley, CA), 1990.
A Century of Women Cartoonists, Kitchen Sink Press (Northampton, MA), 1993.
(Editor) Travel and Vacation Advertising Cuts From the Twenties and Thirties, Dover Publications (New York, NY), 1994.
A Rose for Barbie, Fun Works (Burbank, CA), 1996.
The Great Women Superheroes, Kitchen Sink Press (Northampton, MA), 1996.
(Editor) Nine Hundred Thirty Matchbook Advertising Cuts of the Twenties and Thirties, Dover Publications (Mineola, NY), 1997.
Tomorrow's Heirlooms: Fashions of the 60s and 70s, Schiffer (Atglen, PA), 1997.
Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story, DC Comics (New York, NY), 1998.
From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women's Comics from Teens to Zines, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
Eternally Bad: Goddesses with Attitude, Conari Press (Berkeley, CA), 2001.
The Great Women Cartoonists, Watson-Guptill Publications (New York, NY), 2001.
Nell Brinkley and the New Woman in the Early 20th Century, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2001.
Macbeth: A Graphic Classic (based on play by William Shakespeare), Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.
The Odyssey: A Graphic Classic (based on epic poem by Homer), Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.
Emma: A Graphic Classic (based on novel by Jane Austin), Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.
Tender Murderers: Women Who Kill, Conari Press (York Beach, ME), 2003.
Wild Irish Roses: Tales of Brigits, Kathleen, and Warrior Queens, Conari Press (Boston, MA), 2004.
Also author of the "Go Girl" graphic novels Go Girl!, Dark Horse, 2002, and The Time Team, Dark Horse, 2004, both illustrated by Anne Timmons. Author of more than sixty comic books. Cartoonist for East Village Other, Gothic Blimp Works, and Yellow Dog. Contributor to magazines, including Heavy Metal.
SIDELIGHTS: Trina Robbins is a cartoonist whose works include the "Go Girl" graphic novel series, which provides "an all-ages superhero … aimed at girls and women" as noted by the Library Journal contributor Steve Raiteri. In the first novel in the series, Go Girl!, readers are introduced to teenage Lindsay Goldman, who is able to fly just like her mother, the retired superhero Go-Go Girl. Lindsay eventually takes up the superhero business herself when her best friend is kidnapped. Raiteri noted that the book "has a charming innocence, simplicity, and good humor." In the follow-up book, The Time Team, Lindsay and two friends become trapped in prehistoric times, complete with dinosaurs. Francisca Goldsmith, writing in Booklist, called the novel "good, clean fun."
In addition to her comic book and graphic novel work, the author has written about women in comic history and the media. In The Great Women Superheroes, Robbins explores the history of female comic book super heroes, beginning with such notables as Madame Strange of the 1940s. In the process, she reviews the evolution of the female superhero from a standard imitation of male superheroes to buxom figures targeting adolescent boys to well-defined, spunky characters tailored to a female audience. Erin Cassin, writing in the Library Journal, noted that the author "also analyzes these characters from a feminist standpoint."
From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women's Comics from Teens to Zines is a look at the many comic strips written by women over the years. Margot Mifflin in a review for Entertainment Weekly, called the history "entertaining and attractively designed." Herizons contributor Noreen Stevens commented that "Robbins celebrates the art of comics and there is an artists' integrity in that which is also emphatically evident in the funky, fun layout." Gordon Flagg, writing in Booklist, noted that "Robbins' knowledge of comics history is formidable."
In Tender Murderers: Women Who Kill, the author presents twenty case studies of women murderers and, as noted by a Publishers Weekly contributor, "delves into the psyches and motivations behind" these women killers. Nell Brinkley and the New Woman in the Early 20th Century focuses on the art and commentary of Brinkley, who created "The Brinkley Girl" and, at times, used her artwork to question the treatment of women. "It is light and fun reading, as gossipy and sugary in its own way as Nell Brinkley's delicate pen-and-ink drawings,"wrote Catherine A. Warren in the NWSA Journal.
Robbins told CA: "Comics are definitely my calling, but I have been spurred onward by early (and some continuing) rejection in a male-oriented field. Rejections present a challenge that is too great to resist! For me, comics are the ideal form of communication. They provide a perfect balance of writing and illustration. My interests include anything connected with women, ancient cultures and religions, and especially the goddesses.
"My becoming a cartoonist was the culmination of a childhood spent reading comics and drawing and writing. What else could I have become? I used to say as a child that when I grew up I wanted to write stories and illustrate them: this is what comics are. I realize that to many people, comics are supposed to be funny, but to me, comics are the ultimate form of storytelling. I consider myself a storyteller, not a humorist. My comics certainly still reflect the fact that I am a woman having a hard time getting acceptance in a man's field, although my earlier works were more obvious about it. In my early comics I was reacting against unfairness with obvious anger and hostility. That's all out of my system now.
"I'm very happy to have male readers and fans, but the audience I specifically want to reach is female. I want to communicate with and entertain my female audience. I want them to know that in a field consisting mainly of overly muscular boys drawn and written by boys and for boys, there is someone who knows that they (girls) are there and that someone cares."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1997, Gordon Flagg, review of The Great Women Superheroes, p. 804; June 1, 1999, Gordon Flagg, review of From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women's Comics from Teens to Zines, p. 1767; January 1, 2005, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The Time Team, p. 862.
Curve, April, 2002, Julie Adamo, "Trina Robbins. (Q&Q)," p. 41.
Entertainment Weekly, July 23, 1999, Margot Mifflin, review of From Girls to Grrrlz, p. 62.
Herizons, winter, 2002, Noreen Stevens, review of From Girls to Grrrlz, p. 34.
Library Journal, March 15, 1997, Erin Cassin, review of The Great Women Super Heroes, p. 62; March 1, 2003, Steve Raiteri, "Go Girl," review of author's "Go Girl" comics.
NWSA Journal, fall, 2003, Catherine A. Warren, review of Nell Brinkley and the New Woman in the Early Twentieth Century, p. 219.
Publishers Weekly, June 21, 19999, review of From Girls to Grrrlz, p. 48; January 20, 2003, review of Tender Murderers: Women Who Kill, p. 73.
Village Voice, January 9, 2001, Carol Cooper, "Going for the Girl Market," profile of author.
Whole Earth, spring, 2002, review of From Girls to Grrrlz, p. 86.
New York Comic Book Museum, http://www.nyccomicbookmuseum.org/exhibits/women_Trina.htm/ (February 13, 2006), Darren Metzger, "Women in Comics: Trina Robbins from Hippy to Historian."
Trina Robbins Home Page, http://22.214.171.124/temp/trinarob (February 13, 2006).