Diane Noomin, influential feminist underground cartoonist and editor, passed away yesterday, age 75.
The news was broken via social media by Abrams ComicArts Editorial Director Charles Kochman.
In a post on Facebook Kochman said,
“I am so sorry to share the news that Diane Noomin passed away earlier this afternoon.
“…I am grateful to have known Diane and for her contributions to my list and to the comics community for the past fifty years.
“Rest in peace, Diane. And thank you.”
Born in New York in 1947, Noomin emerged as part of the San Francisco underground comix movement of the 1970s – starting with her short-lived involvement with the highly influential Wimmen’s Comix Collective, which sought to carve out a space in the intensely male-dominated scene.
Breaking away for aesthetic and political reasons, Noomin took her cartooning in a direction that sought to give an honest, often transgressive, portrayal of womanhood – dealing with issues like body image, masturbation, and miscarriage.
Alongside friend and fellow Wimmin’s Comix Collective tearaway Aline Kominsky, Noomin edited the ground-breaking underground anthology Twisted Sisters. Published sporadically between 1976 and 1994, Twisted Sisters featured work by M. K. Brown, Phoebe Gloeckner, Julie Doucet, Mary Fleener, Carol Tyler, and many others. The anthology received two Eisner Award nominations for Best Anthology – in 1992 for Twisted Sisters: A Collection of Bad Girl Art, and 1995 for the Twisted Sisters 4-issue miniseries (later collected as Twisted Sisters vol. 2: Drawing the Line).
Across five decades, Noomin has either edited or contributed work to numerous anthologies, often featuring her DiDi Glitz persona. Among the underground titles her work has been featured are Arcade, Young Lust, Weirdo, Mind Riot, and Real Girl. In 2011, Fantagraphics released Glitz-2-Go, a 40-year career retrospective collection of her work.
Despite winning an Inkpot in 1992 – an award typically bestowed for a career spanning body of work – Noomin was clearly not finished. Her most recent and timely work was 2019’s Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival (Abrams ComicArts). An anthology inspired by the #MeToo Movement.
Drawing Power had Noomin once more take the editor’s chair to bring together over 60 female cartoonists from across the globe – each telling extremely personal stories of assault and abuse. Among the contributors included Emil Ferris, MariNaomi, Liana Finck, and Ebony Flowers. A portion of the profits from the sale of the anthology went to the US Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). This work too, earned Noomin another Eisner for Best Anthology, in 2020.
Leaving behind husband and fellow underground cartoonist Bill Griffith; a remarkable body of work; and an unflinching feminist influence in comics that will continue to echo, resonate and inspire new readers and cartoonists to come – Diane Noomin will be missed but never truly forgotten.
On social media friends, colleagues, and fans expressed their grief and posted tributes.
Diane Noomin was incredibly important not just for feminism and comics but for the voices of real women telling raw, honest stories. I'm eternally thankful for her work.
— Vanessa Davis (@squintables) September 2, 2022
I’m so sad to learn of the passing of Diane Noomin. She inspired & helped to pave the way for so many of us! Brilliant cartoonist, editor, & person. So glad I got the opportunity to meet & talk with her at the Drawing Power release. One of my feminist heroes 🗯
✒️✊🖋 💔🕯💭 https://t.co/TExj6tdOY3 pic.twitter.com/lAt3W1yNWY
— Tyler Cohen ~ But Which is Witch? (@tylerzonia) September 2, 2022
I'm very saddened to find out that Diane Noomin is no longer with us. I met her over the course of working on my piece for "Drawing Power", having been familiar prior to that with her work in "Twisted Sisters". She was very supportive and great to work with. Rest In Power. pic.twitter.com/02Rs5frPVT
— J Gonzalez-Blitz 🇨🇺🇮🇪🐀🔪 (@jblitz156) September 2, 2022
— PW Comics World (@PWComicsWorld) April 3, 2016
Art says: "Diane Noomin died today. She was an important part of the San Francisco Comix scene in the 1970s. Intelligent, with a solid sense of humor, a feminist without the stridency. Her anthology, Drawing Power, was an important and moving anthology by women. I'll miss her." pic.twitter.com/U1nQWiVmOU
— Françoise Mouly (@FrancoiseMouly) September 2, 2022
rest in peace, diane noomin. your twisted sisters anthology made me a cartoonist. i'm so glad i got to tell you in person. pic.twitter.com/lQXZjbvG9N
— MariNaomi (@marinaomi) September 2, 2022
Godspeed to the great Diane Noomin, whose loss diminishes us all. She was brilliant, funny, kind, and super talented.
Look at her, beaming proudly with a flock of the cartoonists of DRAWING POWER at the book launch, along with one very lucky librarian. pic.twitter.com/jj6ni3mmNb
— Karen Green (she/hers) 💉 💉 💉 💉 💉 🦠 😷 (@klg19) September 2, 2022
So sad to learn that Diane Noomin has passed. She was a remarkable artist and a lovely human being. pic.twitter.com/DWQ11r55JS
— Emil Ferris (@Emilferrisdraws) September 2, 2022