A Brief Herstory of Gum Shoe Gals, Spy-Fi Sheroes, and Private Dick Chicks: Part OneJennifer K. Stuller on April 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
Here are slides and video from my recent Wondercon presentation with Trina Robbins for the Comics Art Conference. The video is missing the very beginning of our opening, but I’ve included text below.
If one imagines a Spy, someone that embodies spydom, espionage, and intrigue – someone who is a covert agent, it’s quite likely that James Bond, in any of his incarnations, should most definitely spring immediately to mind.
But maybe you also picture, Harry Palmer or Jason Bourne.
Now, if you imagine a PI, it might just be an archetype you imagine . . .
. . . or it could be a specific character: Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, maybe Columbo, Kojak, or Mike Hammer.
For those of you who know Trina and myself – you know we want to represent when it comes to the female of the species – and therefore, we wanted to share with you but a few of our favorite women of spy-fi and detective comics.
For those of you who don’t know us – Ms. Trina Robbins is an award-winning herstorian and expert on the subject of early 20th century women cartoonists. She produced the first all-woman comic book, It Ain’t Me, Babe, in 1970, and was a co-founder of the Wimmen’s Comix Collective. And she is a writer whose subjects have ranged from Wonder Woman and the Powerpuff Girls to her own teenage superheroine, GoGirl! – from women cartoonists and superheroines to women who kill.
As for me, I’m a writer, blogger, author, feminist, and also a pop culture herstorian. I’m a regular contributor to Bitch magazine, a Charter Associate of the Whedon Studies Association, as well as the Programming Director for GeekGirlCon. My first book – Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology – is both a history of, and a thematic look at, female super and action heroes and was awarded on place on the 2011 Amelia Bloomer Project List.
Because someone will inevitably say – “You didn’t talk about my favorite character” – we wanted to acknowledge upfront that there are many characters we could have talked about in our presentation, both well-known and obscure . . .
. . . but since we only had an hour we decided to each pick three of our favorites to share.
We hoped we introduced you to something thrilling in the herstory of spy-fi sheroes and female dicks in comics.
After I introduced the presentation, Trina started in the 1940s with her talk, Fighting Women’s Fashions: Marla, Rio, and Honey – and I joined her in the 1960s, with my Anti-Bonds and the Female Dick: Subverting, and Reinforcing, Gender Expectations in Spy-Fiction and Detective Genres. We then had time for a very brief Q&A and were joined by the wonderful artist, Cynthia Martin — who is doing work on Moonstone’s Honey West comic book.
Part Two – Coming Up!