EntertainmentComic Con


Trina Robbins, pioneer for women in comics industry, dies at 85

Trina Robbins
Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-11 20:35:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Trina Robbins, an early pioneer and trailblazer for women in the comics industry, died Thursday morning at the age of 85.

The official Comic-Con account on X tweeted out a message sending their condolences to Robbins' family, friends and fans.

Comic-Con says Robbins was best known for her work in Wimmen's Comix, "Wonder Woman" and "Vampirella." She received an Inkpot Award in 1977 for her contributions in ushering women as valued contributors in the world of comics.

Robbins made it her mission to be an advocate for representation and equity in the industry, bringing attention to the issue even in her later years.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of groundbreaking cartoonist Trina Robbins. She was a pioneer in the underground comix movement," Comic-Con's tweet says.

Robbins was inducted into Comic-Con's Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2013. According to her entry on the Comic-Con website, Robbins published the first comic book that was created entirely by women: "It Ain't Me, Babe." The entry also highlighted her work with the Wimmin's Comix collective, which uplifted women cartoonists in the underground and alternative fields into the mainstream industry, bringing legitimacy to their careers along the way.

Robbins also wrote nonfiction books that took a deep dive into the history of female comic characters and their creators: "The Great Women Superheroes" and "A Century of Women Cartoonists."

Another contribution Robbins made to the industry was editing several collections of early women cartoonists' reprinted works. Those included "The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons from 1913-1940" and "Miss Fury" by Tarpé Mills.

Leading up to the 2023 convention, ABC 10News spoke to a San Diego State University Women's Studies professor about the resurgence of women creating comics. She had high praise for Robbins.

"Kids, teenagers, even adults want to see themselves represented in books, in comics, and in popular culture. They want to see a story that they can connect with," Mary Ellen Stout said. "Having a story about women, or teenagers, or girls, that is written and drawn by a woman gives them that that feeling that I can see myself in this book."

Stout told 10News at the time that it was thanks to Robbins and people like her that comics that appealed to a female audience started to be made.

"A lot of these romance and teen-type comics [from over 50 years ago] were very didactic, right? They were teaching young girls how to behave, how to conform to certain gender roles: How to catch a husband, how to be a good wife, right? So that wasn't interesting... We want a little adventure, too," Stout said. "It wasn't until people like Trina Robbins started to produce comic books that women actually wanted to read — that spoke to their issues. Robbins and others like her... it was that generation that spurred what we're seeing now."