After the stunning and sold out $500 slipcased edition of Zap Comix was published by Fantagraphics last year, I wondered if they would give a similar treatment to the equally groundbreaking but not quite as historically lauded Wimmen’s Comix. Run as a collective, with various contributors taking turns as editors, Wimmen’s Comics ran from 1972 to 1992 in various iterations and published work by Trina Robbins, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Diane Noomin, Carol Tyler, M.K. Brown, Diane Noomin, Melinda Gebbie Phoebe Gloeckner, Carol Lay, Caryn Leschen, Leslie Sternbergh, Dori Seda, Mary Fleener, and Krystine Kryttre—among many others, making it one of the most important and influential anthologies of all times. However, despite the importance of the cartoonists that it gave a voice to, it’s usually only mentioned in passing in comics histories.
Happily, this September Fantagraphics will be publishing a deluxe slipcased edition of The Complete Wimmen’s Comix in two volumes, retailing for $100. Edited by Robbins, one of the main drivers behind Wimmen’s, set will include the entire first issue of It Ain’t Me Babe, the first all female comic book published.
Wimmen’s Comix was raw and uncensored, and the subject matter was torn from headlines and private moments, from periods to abortion to crappy jobs to romance. The catalog copy calls it a showcase for “some of the most talented women cartoonists in America” but I think seen in the context of its times, it will be clear that this is a collection of “some of the most talented cartoonists”…full stop.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.