Catherine Yronwode

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Catherine Yronwode
Catherine Yronwode, at the Oakland Comic Book Convention in the 1980s.jpg
Catherine Yronwode in the 1980s.
Born Catherine Anna Manfredi
May 12, 1947 (age 65)
San Francisco, California, USA
Nationality American
Occupation Writer, editor, publisher
Notable work(s) Eclipse Comics Editor-in-Chief
Awards Inkpot Award 1983

Catherine "Cat" Yronwode (born Catherine Anna Manfredi on May 12, 1947) is an American writer, editor, graphic designer, typesetter, publisher, and practitioner of folk magic with an extensive career in the comic book industry.

Early life[edit]

Yronwode was born in San Francisco to "bohemian/academic parents".[1] Her father, Joseph Manfredi, was a Sicilian American abstract artist; her mother, Liselotte Erlanger, was an Ashkenazi Jewish refugee from Germany, a writer, and a cousin of the composer Franz Reizenstein. She grew up in Berkeley and Santa Monica, and traveling abroad. She made window signs for the Cabale Creamery (a folk music coffeehouse in Berkeley) while still in high school. She attended Shimer College in Illinois as an early entrant, but dropped out. Returning to Berkeley, she sold the Berkeley Barb underground newspaper on the streets and catalogued rare books for her parents' bookstore, then took her leave of urban life. From 1965 through 1980 she lived as a rural back-to-the-land hippie in various places, including Tolstoy Peace Farm, an anarchist commune in Washington, the Equitable Farm commune in Mendocino County, and the Garden of Joy Blues commune in Oregon County, Missouri.[1][2]


Yronwode has been published in a number of fields. She began writing while in her teens, contributing to science fiction fanzines. During the 1960s, she was a member of the Bay Area Astrologers Group, co-writing its weekly astrology column for the underground newspaper San Francisco Express Times / Good Times. She produced record reviews on a freelance basis for the nascent Rolling Stone magazine, and short articles on low-tech living for the Whole Earth Catalog and Country Women magazine. While in jail for growing marijuana, she wrote about her experiences for the Spokane Natural. With her mother Liselotte Glozer, she co-wrote and hand-lettered the faux-medieval cookbook, My Lady's Closet Opened and the Secret of Baking Revealed by Two Gentlewomen (Glozer's Booksellers, 1969). During the 1990s, she was a staff editor and contributor to Organic Gardening Magazine. The California Gardener's Book of Lists (Taylor, 1998) is one of her books on gardening. Other subjects she has covered for various magazines include collectibles, popular culture,[3] rural acoustic blues music, early rock'n'roll, and sex magick.[1]

She met her former partner, Peter Paskin, in 1967 and they invented their last name "Yronwode", pronounced "Ironwood", in 1969. She prefers her name to be styled in lower case, as "catherine yronwode." While living at Equitable Farm, Peter and Catherine were interviewed at length by Rolling Stone magazine for an article on hippie anarchist communes.[4] The couple had two children: Cicely (who was born in 1970 and died of SIDS the same year) and Althaea, born in 1971. In 1972, the Yronwodes relocated to The Garden of Joy Blues commune in the Missouri Ozarks. In 1976, Catherine and Peter Yronwode broke up.[1]

In 1980, Yronwode worked as an editor for Ken Pierce Publishing, editing and writing introductions to a line of comic strip reprint books, including titles such as Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway, Mike Hammer by Mickey Spillane, and The Phantom by Lee Falk.[3] She also began a long-running column titled "Fit to Print" for the Comics Buyer's Guide. The column was widely read and gave her a gatekeeper role in comics. Beanworld creator Larry Marder credits her positive review therein for the title's success.[5] Similarly, when Dan Brereton received a poor review from Yronwode for an early project, he felt his "promising career in comics was over".[6] The column, and her work with the APA-I comic-book indexing cooperative, led to freelance editing jobs at Kitchen Sink Press, an important early alternative comics imprint. She wrote The Art of Will Eisner in 1981, and continued to write books for Kitchen Sink for several years.[7][8][9]

In 1982 she began a partnership with Dean Mullaney, who with his brother Jan had co-founded Eclipse Enterprises, a comic book and graphic novel publisher, in 1976. With Yronwode as editor-in-chief, Eclipse published many well-known works including Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens, and Zot! by Scott McCloud.[10][third-party source needed] Eclipse also brought out graphic novels featuring opera adaptations, such as The Magic Flute by P. Craig Russell and classic children's literature such as The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien .[11] Yronwode won an Inkpot Award in 1983.

In 1985, Yronwode and cartoonist Trina Robbins co-wrote the Eclipse book Women and the Comics, on the history of female comic-strip and comic-book creators. As the first book on this subject,[citation needed] its publication was covered in the mainstream press in addition to the fan press.[12][13][14]

During the 1980s, Eclipse brought out a new line of non-fiction, non-sports trading cards, edited by Yronwode. Controversial political subjects such as the Iran-Contra scandal, the Savings and Loan crisis, the AIDS epidemic, and the Kennedy Assassination, as well as true crime accounts of serial killers, mass murderers, the mafia, and organized crime were covered in these card sets, and Yronwode was widely interviewed in the media about her role in their creation.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Mullaney and Yronwode were married in 1987 and filed for divorce in 1993, after which point Yronwode no longer worked for the company or owned shares in it; Eclipse ceased publication in 1994 and shortly thereafter filed for bankruptcy.[3][9]

During her career as a comic book editor and publisher, Yronwode was involved in three free expression court cases. In the Michael Correa case that led to the founding of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Yronwode was an expert witness for the defense.[28] In 1992, the convicted serial killer Kenneth Bianchi, one-half of the pair known as "The Hillside Strangler", sued Yronwode for 8.5 million dollars for causing an image of his face, which he claimed was his trademark, to be depicted on a trading card. The case was dismissed when the judge opined that if Bianchi had been using his face as a trademark when he was killing women, he would not have tried to hide it from the police; therefore his face was not his trademark.[29][30] Also in 1992, Eclipse was a plaintiff when Nassau County, New York seized a crime-themed trading card series they had published under a county ordinance prohibiting sales of certain trading cards to minors.[31] The case, in which Yronwode testified and the ACLU provided Eclipse's representation, reached the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, where the ordinance was overturned.[32][33][34][35]

Yronwode lives on an old farmstead in rural Forestville, California in "tantric partnership"[1][2] with Tyagi Nagasiva (now Nagasiva Bryan W Yronwode), whom she met in 1998 and married in 2000. Both Yronwodes worked in the production department of Claypool Comics until that company ceased print publication in 2007.

Yronwode has also written extensively on magic, sacred architecture[36] and folklore subjects, particularly the worldwide use of charms and talismans and the system of African American folk magic called hoodoo.

Since 1996, she has run the website, covering magic, occultism, sex magick, and folklore subjects. She is the co-proprietor, with Nagasiva, of an occult shop, spiritual supply manufactory, and book publishing firm, The Lucky Mojo Curio Company, for which she has produced work as a graphic artist of labels for spiritual supplies and written books on folk magic and religious topics.[2][37][38] Extensive interviews with both of the Yronwodes can be found in Christine Wicker's survey of early 21st century magical practitioners, Not in Kansas Anymore [2] and in Carolyn Morrow Long's academic history of 20th century occult shops, Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce[37]


  • My Lady's Closet Opened and the Secret of Baking Revealed, by Two Gentlewomen (with Liselotte Erlanger Glozer). Glozer's Booksellers, 1969.
  • Will Eisner Color Treasury (with Will Eisner). Kitchen Sink Press,1981. ISBN 0-87816-006-X
  • The Art of Will Eisner. Kitchen Sink Press, 1982. ISBN 0-87816-004-3
  • Women and the Comics (with Trina Robbins). Eclipse, 1983. ISBN 0-913035-01-7
  • The Outer Space Spirit: 1952 (with Will Eisner, Wally Wood, and Pete Hamill). Kitchen Sink Press, 1989. ISBN 0-87816-012-4
  • The California Gardener's Book of Lists (with Eileen Smith). Taylor Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-87833-964-7
  • Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic. Lucky Mojo, 2002. ISBN 0-9719612-0-4
  • Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course. Lucky Mojo, 2006. ISBN 0-9719612-2-0
  • Throwing the Bones: Foretelling the Future With Bones, Shells, and Nuts. Lucky Mojo, 2012. ISBN 978-0971961234
  • The Art of Hoodoo Candle Magic in Rootwork, Conjure, and Spiritual Church Services (with Mikhail Strabo), Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, 2013. ISBN 0-9836483-6-0
  • The Black Folder: Personal Communications on the Mastery of Hoodoo (editor / contributor, with 17 other authors), Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, 2013. ISBN 9780983648376


  1. ^ a b c d e Catherine Yronwode. "Catherine Yronwode (biography page)". Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d Wicker, Christine (2005). Not In Kansas Anymore - A Curious Tale of How Magic is Transforming America. Harper San Francisco. ISBN 0-06-072678-4
  3. ^ a b c Yronwode, Catherine, 1947- at the Michigan State University Libraries: Index to the Comic Art Collection. WebCitation archive.
  4. ^ "Mendocino: Tryin' To Make a Dime in the Big Woods", text by Charles Perry, photographs by Robert Altman,Rolling Stone magazine #73, December 24, 1970
  5. ^ Jeremy York (November 9, 1991). "Larry Marder interview". Gunk'L'Dunk e-zine. Archived from the original on 2006-07-26. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  6. ^ Rick Beckley (May 25, 2000). "Interview with Dan Brereton". (defunct, via Brereton's website). Archived from the original on 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2006-09-26. [dead link]
  7. ^ Catherine Yronwode at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ Catherine Yronwode at the Comic Book DB
  9. ^ a b Michigan State University Libraries. "Special Collections Division Reading Room Index to the Comic Art Collection "Eclipse Extra" to "Écluses"". Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  10. ^ Catherine Yronwode. "Eclipse Comics Index". Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  11. ^ "Conan in Comics? Yes. Hulk? Sure. But Fafner? Wotan?" by John Rockwell, New York Times (newspaper) April 5, 1990
  12. ^ "Women in the Comics: Assertive and Independent Women Make a Comeback" Miami Herald (newspaper), December 1, 1988
  13. ^ "Comic Books Are For Adults Too" by William Singleton, Scripps Howard News Service, Chronicle-Telegram (newspaper), January 7, 1988
  14. ^ "Funny How Things Change" Daily Herald (newspaper), December 28, 1988
  15. ^ "Trading Card Fame for S&L Scoundrels" by Judith Crossen, Reuters, Philadelphia Daily News (newspaper), September 9, 1991
  16. ^ "A Full Deck of Scandals at a Glance" by Susan Trausch, Boston Globe (newspaper), September 18, 1991
  17. ^ "Insider Trading with Keating, Milken", Daily News of Los Angeles (newspaper), October 20, 1991
  18. ^ "Price tag on JFK intrigue Assassination aficionados spawn cottage industry" by Kathryn Jones, The Dallas Morning News (newspaper), November 22, 1991
  19. ^ "Kennedy Assassination is an Industry with Growing Market", Associated Press, Elyria Chronicle-Telegram (newspaper), November 28, 1991
  20. ^ "Ban Urged on Sale of Crime Cards", The Record (newspaper), April 30, 1992
  21. ^ "'True Crime' Cards Thriving Despite Outrage", New York Times (newspaper), June 16, 1992
  22. ^ "Killer Cards Hit Capital Stores Amid Criticism", Sacramento Bee (newspaper), June 19, 1992
  23. ^ "Killer Cards: Two groups trying to deal fatal blow to criminal cards", The Oregonian (newspaper), August 18, 1992
  24. ^ "AIDS cards to include condoms", Milwaukee Journal Sentinal (newspaper), September 23, 1992
  25. ^ "AIDS Awareness is in the cards", Dallas Morning News (newspaper), July 7, 1993
  26. ^ "AIDS Activism turns to cards" Dayton Daily News (newspaper), July 13, 1993
  27. ^ "Ban Sought on Cards depicting AIDS victim" Boston Globe (newspaper) January 15, 1994
  28. ^ "Censorship of Comics Bibliography: 1980s". Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  29. ^ "Serial Killer Sues Trading Card Maker", San Jose Mercury News, December 18, 1992
  30. ^ "Card-Carrying Rebels: Two Guerilla Journalists Turn Crime and Crises into Camp Collectibles" by Kathleen Donnelly, San Jose Mercury News (newspaper), January 10, 1993
  31. ^ "Nassau County Limits Sale of Crime Trading Cards". New York Times (newspaper), June 16, 1992
  32. ^ "Nassau Is Faulted for Law Over Killer Trading Cards", New York Times (newspaper), October 17, 1995
  33. ^ "Arts & First Amendment Issues: Comic Books". First Amendment Center. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  34. ^ "Battling Against Censorship: Killer Cards". Long Island Newsday. Retrieved 2006-09-26. [dead link]
  35. ^ "Eclipse Enterprises v. Gulotta". FindLaw. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  36. ^ "Finding the Unexpected on www.ididn'", New York Times (newspaper), July 21, 1991
  37. ^ a b Long, Carolyn Morrow (2001) Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce. University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 1-57233-109-7
  38. ^ Cameron McWhirter (2010-12-28). "Need a Job? Losing Your House? Who Says Hoodoo Can't Help? Tough Times Boost Sales of Spider Dust, Spells for Good Fortune, Mojo Powders". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Catherine Yronwode at Wikimedia Commons