See All Topics

Home / Section: Cartoonist's Cartoonists

Women’s History Month – Cartoonist Wing

Seems as good a time as any to drop these recent comic strip articles.


Where I’m Coming From by Barbara Brandon-Croft

Where I’m Coming From’s mission as a comic meant to affect change rather than just entertain was twofold. First, Brandon-Croft wanted white readers to fully grasp the struggles of Black Americans as people in their own right, not just characters that happened to be brown-skinned.

Arguably more important was the second part of Brandon-Croft’s mission, which was to speak on politically-charged issues through a Black woman’s perspective and create characters that Black women readers could readily identify with.

Barbara Brandon-Croft’s strip ran in one of the San Francisco Bay Area papers that I would pick up on Sundays. So I liked this profile of a cartoonist whose work I was familiar.



Dale Messick’s Brenda Starr/Laura Rohrman’s Reporter Girl

Brenda Starr is a famous comic strip that never appeared in any of my area newspapers.

Reporter Girl is a play about the life of Dale Messick, America’s first syndicated female cartoonist, whose career began when she created the comic “Brenda Starr, Reporter” in 1940. The play weaves together biographical detail, period history, and fantasy to arrive at a dramatically touching portrait of the artist’s life. O’Neill Playwriting Conference Semi-Finalist; Finalist, Princess Grace Fellowship; Weissberger Award Nominee.

As part of the closing week of the Brenda Starr, Reporter: The Art of Dale Messick exhibit at the Society of Illustrators, Laura Rohrman (My Life As You/Studio 54) will present a staged reading of her full-length play Reporter Girl The reading will take place on Wednesday, March 20 at 7PM the Society of Illustrators.



Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault by Cathy Guisewite

The comic strip Cathy was in everybody’s newspaper, or so it seemed.

Cathy Guisewite, the cartoonist behind Cathy, returns with her signature wit and warmth in this debut essay collection about another time of big transition, in the style of Nora Ephron and Erma Bombeck. Her autobiographical stories center on the particular challenge of caring for aging parents and growing children, all while trying not to lose oneself in the process.

On Tuesday, April 9, cartoonist Cathy Guisewite will visit The Music Hall as part of its Innovation + Leadership series to share FIFTY THINGS THAT AREN’T MY FAULT: Essays from the Grown-up Years, her humorous and poignant observations of caring for both growing children and aging parents. The book features nearly one hundred of her spot illustrations.



Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger by Jackie Ormes

Barbara Brandon-Croft is described as the first African-American women to be syndicated in “mainstream” newspapers because Jackie Ormes was, decades earlier, syndicated though only to Black newspapers.

Zelda Jackson Ormes, better known as Jackie, was the first African American woman to make a living as a cartoonist. Between 1937 and 1955, her strips were syndicated extensively nationwide in the Black press, featuring Black women front and center in roles and social situations they were never accorded in the mainstream media of the day.

Here’s a fine profile of the cartoonist featuring a few of the great Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger panels.



Torchy Brown in Heartbeats by Jackie Ormes

When the 14-year-old African American boy Emmett Till was lynched in 1955, one cartoonist responded in a single-panel comic. It showed one black girl telling another: “I don’t want to seem touchy on the subject… but that new little white tea-kettle just whistled at me!”

More about the great Jackie Ormes.



Women in History: An Exhibition of Cartoons

The PCO [Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation] is putting on an exhibition in collaboration with Idea Store at Canary Wharf to tie in with Women’s History Month. ‘Women In History’ is an exhibition of cartoons and caricatures based loosely around the theme and also looking more widely at issues affecting women.



Women Join the National Cartoonists Society Men’s Club

Edwina Dumm, Barbara Shermund, and Hilda Terry helped pave the way for women in the cartooning business today. These women produced persuasive illustrations for the suffrage movement and emphasized the strength of women in daily life, often with notable humor, and their work increased acceptance of female cartoonists in the industry. Arguably one of the most important recognitions of their talent was the induction of these three women into the National Cartoonists Society, marking the first time the organization had ever accepted women into its ranks.

It took a few years but the NCS did accept women as members.



Marjorie Henderson Buell, Roz Chast


Marty Links, Sandra Boynton


Gladys Parker, Ramona Fradon


Rose O’Neill, Nell Brinkley

hat tip: Jim Engel for above photos





Community Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.