For over thirty years Nell Brinkley's beautiful girls pirouetted, waltzed, vamped and shimmied their way through the pages of William Randolph Hearst's newspapers, captivating the American public with their innocent sexuality. Accomplished cartoonist and women's comix "herstorian" Trina Robbins examines the work of this unjustly forgotten artist in The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons from 1913 – 1940. Robbins will present the work of this remarkable illustrator with an exhibition, slide talk and book signing at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, October 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
A brash Nell Brinkley arrived in New York in 1907 at the tender age of 22. Within a year, her work began to appear newspapers illustrating her high society gossip column. Her cartoon serials popularized the bobbed hairstyle and flapper fashions of the era, while reflecting period art nouveau and deco aesthetics. Such was her influence that the Ziegfeld Follies costumed their dancers as "Brinkley Girls." Pop music heralded her creations and a line of hair products carried her name. As the war years approached, her comic strip serials evolved from naive romantic themes like "Billy and Betty and Their Love Through the Ages" to presenting women in less traditional roles like "Heroines of Today." Championing the cause of better pay and conditions for workingwomen, Brinkley became an early archetype of the contemporary American woman.
Trina Robbins has long championed the work of women cartoonists. Her early underground work appeared in the groundbreaking Wimmen's Comix anthology. In 1969 she co-created the character Vampirella for Forrest Ackerman and later collaborated with Colleen Doran on a provocative Wonder Woman series. She has written several volumes on the role of women in comix including From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women's Comics from Teens to Zines. Robbins co-founded Friends of Lulu in 1994, a nonprofit organization promoting women's readership of comics and increasing profile in the comix profession. In addition to her appearance at Fantagraphics Bookstore, Robbins will be a guest at Geek Girl Con held at the Seattle Center October 8 and 9.
The "Brinkley Girls" exhibition includes a dozen Brinkley comics pages, as well as Brinkley-illustrated sheet music, hair accessories, photographs, and related ephemera. Robbins will discuss Nell Brinkley's fascinating career followed by an informal reception and book signing from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on Saturday, October 8 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle. Phone 206.658.0110.
This event coincides with the lively Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.