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

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.