Women in Art & Comics

Read up on women in art and comics in these books about prominent African American women artists and women cartoonists or check out one of their memoirs written in graphic novel form.

African American women artists | Women cartoonists
Graphic memoirs by women

African American women artists

Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist
By Nancy Goldstein
Jackie Ormes chronicles the life of this multiply talented, fascinating woman who became a successful commercial artist and cartoonist. Ormes's cartoon characters (including Torchy Brown, Candy, and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger) delighted readers of newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender, and spawned other products, including fashionable paper dolls in the Sunday papers and a black doll with her own extensive and stylish wardrobe.

Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists
By Lisa E. Farrington
Weaving together an expansive collection of artists, styles, and periods, Farrington explores how, for centuries, African-American women artists have created an alternative vision of how women of color are represented in American culture.

 An American Artist in Mexico book jacket

Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico
By Melanie Anne Herzog
Herzog examines the work and life of Elizabeth Catlett, a printmaker and sculptor, in this book with over 100 illustrations.

Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists
Jontyle Theresa Robinson, curator
This exhibition catalog depicts the paintings, sculptures, fiber art, and mixed media from 25 African American women artists.

We Flew Over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold
By Faith Ringgold
This book is the autobiography of Faith Ringgold, one of the country's preeminent African American artists and an award-winning children's book author.

Women cartoonists

From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women's Comics from Teens to Zines
By Trina Robbins
From Betty and Veronica to Slutburger and Art Babe, Girls to Grrrlz gives chronological commentary (with attitude) on the authors, artists, trends, and sassy, brassy characters featured in comic books for the last half century.

The Great Women Cartoonists
By Trina Robbins
Robbins, herself a prominent cartoonist, surveys important women cartoonists throughout history.

Cartooning for Suffrage
By Alice Sheppard
With over 200 hundred illustrations, this book explores the history of the political cartoons of the suffrage movement and the American women cartoonists who created them.

Graphic memoirs by women

Persepolis book jacket

By Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.

The Shiniest Jewel: A Family Love Story
A memoir written and illustrated by Marian Henley
At 49, cartoonist Marian Henley hasn't committed to marrying the man with whom she has been dating for seven years. But as the Big 5-0 looms, she realizes that above all else she wants a child. Her story follows the heartbreaking ups and downs of going through the international adoption process; deciding when it's time to grow up and maybe even get married; and in the end, it's the story of a daughter's relationship with her father, and how becoming a mother finally led her to understand him. This book is a touching narrative, accompanied by Marian's winsome drawings, that beautifully weaves together her realizations about the joy, and sometimes heartbreak, of building a family.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
By Alison Bechdel
Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, readers are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books.

Cancer Vixen: A True Story
By Maris Acocella Marchetto
Marchetto, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, tells the story of her 11-month, ultimately triumphant bout with breast cancer – from diagnosis to cure, and every challenging step in between. It is a portrait of one woman's supercharged life in Manhattan, and a wonderful love story.

American Widow
By Alissa Torres; illustrated by Sungyoon Choi
When her husband was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, Alissa Torres was cast into the role of terrorist widow. Told with the intimacy only a graphic novel can convey, American Widow is the personal story about how one woman dealt with and overcame a very public tragedy.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters except where noted.