Susan E. KirtleyJun 25, 2021
The Rhetoric of Womanhood in Comic Strips
Ohio State University Press 2021
In her new book Typical Girls: The Rhetoric of Womanhood in Comic Strips (Ohio State Press, 2021) Susan Kirtley examines female-created comics that were nationally syndicated starting in the late 1970s-2010. Kirtley uncovers the understudied and developing history of these strips, defining and exploring the ramifications of this expression of women’s roles at a time of great change in history and in comic art. This impressive, engaging, and timely study illustrates how these comics express the complexities of women’s experiences, especially as such experiences were shaped by shifting and often competing notions of womanhood and feminism. Including the comics of Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Nicole Hollander (Sylvia), Lynda Barry (Ernie Pook’s Comeek), Barbara Brandon-Croft (Where I’m Coming From), Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For), and Jan Eliot (Stone Soup), Typical Girls is an important history of the representation of womanhood and women’s rights in popular comic strips.
Rebekah Buchanan is an Associate Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music.