I have called Trina Robbins a national treasure more than once in these pages, and she just keeps impressing me with her championing women cartoonists. Her latest and long-awaited Gladys Parker: A Life in Comics is one of the truly indispensable reprints of the last year. Parker was a fiercely independent fashion designer and artist, one of the most famous cartoonists of the 30s and 40s, and best remembers for her Mopsy strips and comic books. Like Nell Brinkley before her, Parker insisted that fashion was anything but frivolous. It was part of the artistic landscape of modern America and an important vehicle for self-expression among modern women who were constrained and limited in so many other ways.
Robbins’ book not only gives Parker the biography she deserves, but packages its generous reprinting of her work in one of the best-designed books on comics this year. More of Parker and her work in my homage earlier this year.