1st Edition

Female Cartoonists in the United States Bad Girls and Invisible Women

By Hélène Tison Copyright 2022
    254 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an introduction to women cartoonists in the US, reading their work from a feminist, literary and stylistic perspective, which shines a light on their innovative and unique narratives and graphic languages.

    From rabid feminists to blundering teenagers to dyke avengers and pregnant butches, from political satire to memoirs to troubling sexual tales, from caricature to the clear line, from realism to minimalism and abstraction – they have done it all. This book looks at the work of over thirty authors who have challenged the boys’ club of comics in the US and whose stories shed a revealing light on contemporary society, through countercultural ripostes to the patriarchy, raw or humorous confessions, deconstruction of femininity, stories of vulnerability that offer powerful counterpoints to the "super bodies" of mainstream comics, non-white and queer cartoonists "drawing back" and more.

    This is a key title for students and scholars in the fields of Comics Studies, Literature and Women and Gender Studies.

    List of Figures; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Chapter 1. Down with the patriarchy!; Chapter 2. Not entertainment: ageing, illness and abuse; Chapter 3. Memoirs and dysfunctional diaries; Chapter 4. Full color; Chapter 5. Queer power!; Chapter 6. Mirror of the world; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.


    Hélène Tison is associate professor in the English department at the University of Tours in France. After a doctoral dissertation on the crime fiction of Chester Himes, she turned to the study of comics and graphic narratives. In 2007, she organized the first academic conference with and about Alison Bechdel after the publication of her graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

    "In this illuminating book, Hélène Tison looks at the work of various US women cartoonists from the 1970s to the present. Tison examines individual talents, but also turns her lens on these artists’ collective contribution to the evolving medium of comics, and to the ongoing conversations about the politics of gender. An indispensable guide to anyone seriously interested in comics."

    Alison Bechdel, author of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home