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Jen Wolfe Comic Book Collection

Identifier: MsC0879

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of comic books, written primarily during the 1960s and 1970s. The collection was not officially organized around a single theme; however, the vast majority of the comics in the collection are what might be termed "female-driven." That is, most were written with a female audience, or at least an audience with an interest in female characters or "traditionally female" situations, in mind. (Jen Wolfe points out that her chief collecting strategy was, actually, finding which issues and publications were cheapest.)

A significant proportion of the collection consists of so-called "romance comics", such as For Lovers Only, I Love You, Love Diary, Teen Confessions, and Young Romance. Romance comics flourished from the late 1940s through the mid-1970s, and were marketed to a female audience, especially teenage girls. They were soap opera-like in plot and dialogue, and noted for a large dependence on melodrama. Romance comics first arose in 1947 with the creation of Young Romance #1 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; they were born out of a postwar weariness with overblown heroics as portrayed in the superhero comics of the time. They reached a pinnacle of popularity in the 1950s.

Much of the collection is comprised of more traditional comic books centered around superheroes. Most of these either star a strong superheroine - i.e. Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Spider-Woman, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer - or are individual issues of other titles that feature a woman as a major character for that particular story. There are many issues of the DC title Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane, which manages to combine superhero and romantic comic themes with storylines centered around Lois Lane's love for Superman and her often outlandish attempts to manuever him into marriage.

There are a number of comics in the collection that are humor-based. Many of these are from the family of titles based around teenager Archie Andrews and his friends. (Jen Wolfe collected many of these because of the importance in the stories of Archie's girl friends Betty and Veronica.) Included are Archie spinoff comics with major female characters such as Josie (and the Pussycats) and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Most of the comics are from mainstream publishing companies such as DC, Marvel, and Charlton. However, there are a number of titles in the collection from smaller, independent companies. These tend to deal with more realistic and less fantastic plots and characters than do the more mainstream published comics.. A number of them, such as Action Girl Comics, are both written and drawn by women. This is a departure from the more mainstream companies and titles which are more often than not written and drawn by men.


  • Creation: 1948-2006


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


3.00 Linear Feet

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Collection of comic books that mostly feature major female characters, are written and drawn by female artists, and/or chronicle stories of traditionally female interest, such as romance comics.

Method of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Jen Wolfe in June 2008.

Related Materials

WOLFE, SARAH AND JEN. Sarah and Jen Wolfe Collection of Riot Grrrl and Underground Music Zines, 1991-1998, 2003. 6 ft. Collection of amateur publications arising primarily from the feminist riot grrrl movement of the 1990s, together with numerous zines documenting various independent/underground music scenes (msc0878).

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)