At some point Trina Robbins, co-founder of underground landmark Wimmen’s Comix, turned against Wonder Woman. In 1986, she illustrated the beloved DC Comics superheroine in a four-part adventure The Legend of Wonder Woman, and made contributions to writer Kurt Busiek’s plot. But in the early ’90s, she saw a change in the warrior princess. “Wonder Woman, at that point, had nothing to do with what I did,” Robbins told Pasatiempo in a phone call from her longtime home in San Francisco. “They reduced this iconic superheroine and made her this hypersexual pinup. It was horrific. They lost the female audience. But ironically, sales soared. All the guys were buying it.”
Robbins is the leading champion of women cartoonists and archivist of their work. “I’ve got stuff on the walls, most of it in filing cabinets,” she explained. “A chunk of it travels around.” Part of her extensive collection is on view at the Pittsburgh Toonseum through March 30, as part of the exhibit Wonder Woman: On Page and Off, a show that spent last summer at the Women’s Museum of California. Robbins has been collecting comics — and personal histories — from about the same time she began drawing for New York’s alternative bi-weekly The East Village Other. Author of a number of books on women in comics — the latest is Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 — her reputation is such that people call her with tips about forgotten female cartoonists.
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