Saturday, March 1, 2014

Women's History Month: Nell Brinkley, the Queen of Comics

March is Women's History Month, so I want to highlight a different woman every day this month. I tried to get a good cross-section over a hundred years.

The Kickstarter project "She Makes Comics" (a documentary about women in comics) sent an update to backers, asking for short videos answering the question, "why do you love comics?" I'm not going to post mine here (because it's pretty awful), but here's what I said:
Why do I love comics? Because this is modern mythology. These are our goddesses, and I love them. They're strong, they're powerful, they're amazing. And I... want to be just like them.
(Men aren't the only ones with power fantasies.)

But that's really only part of the story. Many of our modern myths were created and written by men. What about the female creators? There are plenty out there, and they've been around for a long time. (Check out the Women in Comics wiki and Trina Robbins' new book, Pretty in Ink, for more.)

Why, yes! That is a holy card!

Nell Brinkley (1886-1944) has been called the "Queen of Comics." She was an artist, and the creator of the Brinkley Girl. The Brinkley Girl was a more independent and fun-loving character than Dana Gibson's Gibson Girls, who were pretty staid in comparison. Brinkley's work was progressive, and supportive of women's rights.

Golden Eyes with her faithful canine companion, Uncle Sam
Her series Golden Eyes and Her Hero Bill followed the young lady's adventures into the trenches of WWI, when her beau Bill was called to serve. The stories were patriotic, but featured women in proactive (rather than passive) roles.

No comments: