But more about that later.

It’s been so long (it is ALWAYS so long!) between blogs, that I have to start back in August. That month, I went to New York to meet with and interview, Fran Hopper, who drew a whole bunch of great comics for Fiction House comics back in the 1940s. Fran is 90 years old, and I had not known she was still alive, but I found her due to some Nancy Drew-level detective work on the part of Alexa Dickman (I am forever grateful, Alexa!).

Fran has trouble with her eyes, but otherwise she’s just fine, and, comparing her to the self-portrait she painted in about 1947, she still looks like the old Fran Hopper, just with some years added. And, looking at early photos of Fran, I couldn’t help but notice how much she resembled the character she drew, Mysta of the Moon, the most intelligent person in the universe. Isn’t it nice to have a superhero whose super power is smarts?

I also visited the wonderful and talented Ramona Fradon, who in the 1950s and 60s was one of only two women drawing for mainstream comics, because only she and Marie Severin could draw superheroes. I have said this before: women tend to not be interested in drawing overly muscled, thick necked guys with big chins beating each other to a pulp. So bravo for Marie and Ramona, who could do it (ever though they didn’t really like it)!

Ramona took me to Hyde Park, the home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and here we are, sitting with them. Oh, Franklin, where are you now that your country needs you more than ever?

Books! I have more books and comics out! (Yes, the rumors are true: I never sleep) Part 2 of my Honey West story, “Murder, Forsooth,” is out and Silvestre Szilayi is almost finished with the inking of my next Honey West two-parter, “Death in the Desert,” which takes my favorite TV heroine to old Vegas.   And the 5th in my Chicagoland Detective Agency series is out: “The Big Flush” is the best yet of the series, and I’m delighted with the job that Tyler Page did with it — his best yet. Look for ghosts from the Titanic, a haunted toilet, a mysterious locket (Isn’t there always a mysterious locket?).

Recent news: starting in September, I’ve been volunteering at Obama headquarters here in the Castro district, twice a week. I made myself an Obama dress to wear when volunteering, and here it is, in this photo of me and Steve, and our cardboard pal. I found the fabric at a thrift shop! (It is not for nothing that I am called the thrift shop queen of San Francisco) It’s made in Tanzania, from 2008.

What else I did for Obama: I joined a flash mob that danced for Obama at the Ferry building here in San Francisco on October 3rd. Here’s the lnk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGZ-jw8u1Fo&feature=youtu.be

The reason for my magical change of clothing from a grey Obama tee and black pants to a long striped dress is that after we danced the first time, I changed clothes, only to discover that everybody had so much fun (me too!), we did it all over again.



  1. Oh wow! Fran Hopper’s comics were favorites of mine, every time a Camilla or Gale Allen was in the issue it was an extra good one. George Evans was also a favorite of mine from that same time period at Fiction House. I remember Ramona Fradon’s slightly cartoony Aquaman and Metamorpho well, I always liked anything with that cartoony edge, even super folks, and Marie Severin’s Dr. Strange and Submariner was equally fun. Probably the last super comic I bought was way back when they had Supergirls dead body on a bunch of covers and Batman was running over crowds in a Bat-tank… oops not counting Go Girl that is. :^) I just don’t know who the serious mature issues superhero thing is for though; I never did. I asked Denny O’Neill once about the whole thing and I thought he was almost saying it was an honest mistake. A few years later I was trying out for something at DC and they (Dean Motter and Neil Posner anyway I guess) thought I would want to do a thing called Lobo because it was cartoony. Worst thing I have ever seen… jokes about blowing people up with fragmentation grenades! A long way from the old Plastic Mans or even E-Mans, and ewwww those muscles. I wonder if the comic book stores took down all the menacing looking muscle people from anywhere near the windows if they might nor get a few more normal kids in there never mind non-males? But then again, I rememeber Mark Evanier (seeing as I am dropping names) explaining at length the intracacies of cancelling Tarzan and The Jetsons at Marvel even though they out-sold many super characters… they only wanted to keep them away from another publisher and everyone in New York being super fans turned pros found them embarrassing. They did the same with Dennis The Menace (the last Fawcett title), Smurfs, Godzilla… but somehow Spiderman dealing with serious mature issues of the day, getting killed or started again at #1 with eight different covers, that stuff never gets too dorky for them.

    Sorry my fingers are so long-winded. Very nice to see and read about Fran Hopper after all this time!

    Obama is very admired outside of the U.S. We’d seriously be glad to have him in Canada anytime! I am hoping those who have been pumped full of fear (and mud) over the last year will be open to being pleasantly surprised that he does have their interests at heart more than your usual politician.

    • Rebecca, you and I are so in synch! I’m sure you know that I detest today’s superheroes and consider myself the world’s biggest fan of Fiction House comics. As soon as I have the time, I intend to put together a 36 page centerpiece of Fran’s comics for The Comics Journal. And don’t know if I mentioned that I have finished putting together a collection of the Fiction House comics of Lily Renee — should be out sme time in 2013.

      On Wed, 14 Nov 2012 04:57:15 +0000 “Trina's Blog”

  2. Yes, I’m eagerly awaiting the Lily Renee collection, she did amazing layouts. I still remember her Lost World work quite vividly. I probably can’t afford the original vintage comics these days (you used to be able to get very nice Fiction House comics for around $20-50), but in some ways I’d prefer new printings anyway because I can read them and not worry about damaging them somehow. Fran Hopper’s comics had such a refined finish to them, a bit like the Severins and a bit like Gray Morrow. It’s too bad she never did one complete comic all on her own, it would be up there with Frank Frazetta’s Thun’da #1 I’m sure. I think you wrote she went from comics into fashion illustration?

    Fiction House had some great women writers in their fiction pulps, especially Leigh Brackett who seemed to be in every Planet Stories. They’ve been collected up and printed a number of times and it would be nice to see the best comics available again too. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that Comics Journal happening.

    • Yikes, even I didn’t know that Leigh Brackett worked for Fiction House! So right about preferring new printings to the original comics. When I was scanning in Lily Renee’s comics, the floor around the computer was soon covered in tiny brown pieces of paper. RE: Fran, she retired about 1947 to raise a family, and after that simply painted for her own amusement, showed her art in local galleries.

      On Thu, 15 Nov 2012 07:26:17 +0000 “Trina's Blog”

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