By Danielle Pope
Superheroine fans, your Wonder Woman awaits.
Comic book veteran and GoGirl! creator Trina Robbins will be making a special guest appearance at the Victoria Film Festival this year, and will be flanked by some of her favourite super ladies.
Robbins, who has been writing graphic novels, comics and books for over 30 years, produced the first all-woman comic book in 1970, It Ain’t Me, Babe. Since then, her comics have ranged from Wonder Woman and The Powerpuff Girls to her own teenage superheroine creation, GoGirl! and her YA graphic novel series, The Chicagoland Detective Agency.
“I got really tired of hearing men say ‘women don’t write comics and girls don’t read them,’ because that’s just not true — but no one had done the research, so I did,” Robbins says about her extensive work on early 20th century women cartoonists. “I have always written what I love to read, and deep inside I think we are all young girls looking for our superheroine.”
Robbins was asked to be part of the film Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Super-Heroines by director Guevara-Flanagan Kristy. The film explores the superheroine’s role in North American culture, along with Wonder Woman’s rise to feminist-icon status. There will be a Q&A period with Robbins following the screening, and costumed volunteers from the Superheroes of Victoria Charity will be there to greet guests and take photos.
“There are always clues to tell when a woman has written a comic,” she says. “Women tend not to draw overly muscled men punching each other out, or big breasts. Women are very good at drawing clothes, and you’ll see a lot of character development.”
Robbins is now considered responsible for rediscovering many brilliant but previously-forgotten female comic artists, including golden age cartoonist Lily Renee, and the great Nell Brinkley. In addition to Robbins’ full-colour tribute books to these women, her definitive history of women cartoonists, Pretty in Ink, will see publication this summer.
Since the birth of the superhero in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, the story of the female hero has largely remained untold. Yet, as Robbins points out, Wonder Woman made way for a new generation of female characters and taught not only that one woman was powerful enough to help save everyone, but that all women could be mighty if they trusted their own strength and confidence. Robbins’ personal superheroine, GoGirl! — “daughter” of the lesser-known ’60s Go-Go Girl — was created, in part, with her own daughter in mind.
“It’s really a story about a daughter who shares her mother’s superpowers, but neither knows this at first,” she says. “Although no, neither my daughter nor I can fly — except maybe spiritually.”
In partnership with Legends Comics, the Victoria Film Festival will be providing a book signing and meet-and-greet opportunity with Robbins at Legends Comics (633 Johnson) on Wed., Feb. 6, 2-5pm. M
Wed., Feb. 6 • The Vic • 7pm