When I was a child, I loved comics, whether in long form or in strips. Growing up in Italy, I read Asterix, Tintin, and Lucky Luke. Later, I would love Peanuts and Garfield, and as I got older, it was all about The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes.
What do all those have in common? The cartoonists are all male.
I was aware of the Cathy comic, but I never connected to it. Cathy Guisewite’s sadsack heroine depressed me. But when I got to college, I came across two women who draw: Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel. I connected more to Barry, with her tales of kids not belonging, though Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For was a window into a different world. I hadn’t had much exposure to out, proud, social activist lesbians before I went to Bryn Mawr, and Bechdel’s comic answered questions I was too shy to ask my classmates.
In the years since, I haven’t really sought out women who draw, but devoured a comic compilation by a French cartoonist named Claire Bretecher that I’d stolen from my mother. I also loved the New Yorker’s Roz Chast.
I recently came across Gemma Correll, a British artist who draws Four Eyes. I love her obsession with pugs. And Allie Brosh, of Hyperbole and a Half fame, will never make me look at a cake or a dinosaur the same way again.
Who says women don’t draw cartoons?
All text copyrighted by A.K. Whitney, and cannot be used without permission.