I have not yet checked out Wimmen’s Comix, the all woman, feminist, underground comics anthology that ran for twenty years. Twenty years and I haven’t read a single issue! Well, it was out of print for ages. In September, Fantagraphics will publish a beautiful deluxe edition of The Complete Wimmen’s Comix, and... there goes my autumn.

At $100 the pricetag is mighty high but let us consider the facts:

  1. I have a birthday coming in October. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure my Amazon wishlist is prominently displayed on my Twitter bio. We can arrange a bookshare.
  2. It’s being edited by Trina Robbins, who contributed to the anthology’s creation, and is one of our great living comics historians. Her work on Pretty In Ink and other histories of women cartoonists is essential to filling in the gaps of Marvel/DC dominated comics histories.
  3. It will include not just the collected Wimmen’s Comix (1972-1993), but It Ain’t Me Babe Comix (1969), the first all woman American comic. It Ain’t Me Babe Comix was a special edition of Berkeley feminist newspaper, It Ain’t Me Babe, written, drawn and inked by women --- including Trina Robbins.
  4. Although Wimmen’s Comix has been out of print and remains largely unread by young cartoonists, it is living comics history that needs to be restored and honored. For additional context, founding Wimmen’s Comix cartoonist Lee Marrs is also a pioneer of American lesbian cartooning. Foundational texts! Out of reach!
  5. The comic has a complicated, sometimes contentious history with the feminist movement that deserves to be unpacked, and is full of comics that require critical attention. These comics, good, bad, and some, I’m sure, problematic, are something worth talking about. Heidi MacDonald calls these comics “raw and uncensored” with subjects ranging from “periods to abortion to crappy jobs to romance.” Well, I want to read those comics, and I’ll probably want to write about them.

Comics histories and major collected editions like The Complete Wimmen’s Comix do important work: they expand the conversation of and around comics. And, you know, they look cool on my bookshelves.

The two volume, 704 page hardcover is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

I bet you’re tempted.

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