Friends of Lulu
|Key people||Trina Robbins, Heidi MacDonald, Deni Loubert, Anina Bennett, Jackie Estrada, Valerie D'Orazio|
|Area served||United States|
Friends of Lulu was a non-profit, national charitable organization in the United States, founded in 1994 to promote readership of comic books by women and the participation of women in the comic book industry. Co-founder Trina Robbins recalls that a Cherry Poptart lookalike contest sponsored by Comic-Con International was the "last straw" that inspired the creation of the organization.
A handful of professional comics artists and writers (Trina Robbins, Heidi MacDonald, Deni Loubert, Anina Bennett, and Jackie Estrada) bonded/banded together in the early 1990s to share frustrations and information and, finally, dreams for women and girls in the teenage boy-dominated comics industry, holding the very first "Friends of Lulu" meetings at comics conventions. In 1994 they started an amateur press association to get the ball rolling.
In 1997 the first annual Lulu conference was held in California, and the first annual Lulu Awards were also held. Friends of Lulu has published a number of books including How to Get Girls (Into Your Store), a guide for comics shop owners on how to make their stores more female-friendly, and Broad Appeal, an anthology of comics by women artists. The Girls' Guide to Guys' Stuff, published in 2007, features over 50 female cartoonists presenting their takes on men and their interests. The anthology includes contributions from Roberta Gregory, Abby Denson, Debbie Huey and many others. In September 2007, Valerie D'Orazio was named national president of the Friends of Lulu organization.
Membership was open to all persons. It additionally sponsors the Lulu Awards, administers the Women Cartoonists Hall of Fame. The organization takes its name from Little Lulu, the comic strip character created by Marjorie Henderson Buell in 1935. In the comics, Lulu often tries to break into the boys' clubhouse, where girls aren't allowed. In 2000, Friends of Lulu was awarded a grant from the Xeric Foundation to self-publish Friends of Lulu: Storytime.
The Lulu Awards, presented annually at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California, bestowed the Lulu of the Year trophy for overall work; with additional awards, variously over the years, including the Kimberly Yale Award for Best New Talent; the Volunteer of the Year Award; the Women of Distinction Award and induction into the Women Cartoonists Hall of Fame.
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- Friends of Lulu (2008). "Friends of Lulu's 2008 Board of Directors". Friends of Lulu. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
- Houle, Zachary (October 16, 2000). "And Lulu is their guru: There's a move to promote comic books produced by and for women". The Gazette (Montreal): E5.
- D'Orazio, Valerie (August 8, 2010). "2010 Awards". Comics Are For Everyone. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
- Draper Carlson, Johanna. "It’s Official — Friends of Lulu No Longer a Non-Profit Organization". Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- Draper Carlson, Johanna. "Friends of Lulu Done and Gone". Retrieved 13 July 2011.