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
(1947-05-12) May 12, 1947 (age 68)
San Francisco
Nationality American
Occupation Writer, editor, publisher
Notable work Eclipse Comics editor-in-chief
Awards Inkpot Award 1983

Catherine Anna "Cat" Yronwode (née Manfredi; 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]

Catherine Anna Manfredi was born in 1947 in San Francisco, her father Joseph Manfredi, was a Sicilian American abstract artist and her mother Liselotte Erlanger, a writer, was an Ashkenazi Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany.[1] She grew up in Berkeley and Santa Monica.[2]

Yronwode made window signs for the Cabale Creamery (a folk music coffeehouse in Berkeley) while still in high school.[citation needed] She attended Shimer College in Illinois as an early entrant, but dropped out.[3] Returning to Berkeley, she sold the Berkeley Barb underground newspaper on the streets, and catalogued rare books for her parents' bookstore. In 1965 she left urban life for rural places.[2]


Early work[edit]

Yronwode 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 an underground newspaper, San Francisco Express 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 ("Letters from Jail") for the Spokane Natural an underground newspaper.

With her mother Liselotte Glozer, Catherine 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).[4]

In 1969 she and her then-partner Peter Paskin created the joint name "Yronwode" and all of her subsequent work has been published under that surname.[2] She generally styles her name in lower case, as "catherine yronwode." [1]

Comics and trading cards[edit]

In 1980, Yronwode began work at Ken Pierce Books, editing and writing introductions to a line of comic strip reprint books. Titles included Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway, Mike Hammer by Mickey Spillane, and The Phantom by Lee Falk.[5]

Also in 1980 Yronwode succeeded Murray Bishoff as news reporter for Comics Buyer's Guide[6] and began a long-running column "Fit to Print", presenting a variety of industry news, reviews, obituaries, and opinion pieces. Beanworld creator Larry Marder credits her positive review therein for his title's success.[7] Similarly, when Dan Brereton received a poor review from Yronwode for an early project, he felt his "promising career in comics was over".[8] The column, and her work with the APA-I comic-book indexing cooperative, led to freelance editing jobs at Kitchen Sink Press. She wrote The Art of Will Eisner in 1981 and produced several other books for Kitchen Sink over the next few years.[9][10]

In 1983 she began a partnership with Dean Mullaney, the co-founder of Eclipse Enterprises, a comic book and graphic novel publisher which had been in business since 1976. With Yronwode as editor-in-chief, Eclipse published titles such as Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens, and Zot! by Scott McCloud.[11][12] Eclipse also published graphic novels adapted from opera librettos, such as The Magic Flute by P. Craig Russell, and classic children's literature, such as The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.[13] In 1983 Yronwode won an Inkpot Award which are given for lifetime achievement in comics and related areas.[14]

In 1985, Yronwode and the cartoonist Trina Robbins co-wrote Women and the Comics, a book on the history of female comics creators. As the first book on this subject, its publication was noted both by the mainstream press and the fan press.[15][16][17]

During the 1980s, Eclipse developed 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. Yronwode was widely interviewed in the media about her role in their creation.[18]

In 1993 Yronwode and Mullaney divorced, at which point she left Eclipse and joined Claypool Comics, handling production, distribution, and typesetting for titles such as DNAgents and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.[citation needed] In 1998 she was joined at Claypool by Tyagi Nagasiva. They married in 2000, at which time he changed his name to Nagasiva Bryan W. Yronwode. Both Yronwodes continued to work for Claypool until that company ceased print publication in 2007.

Legal cases[edit]

During her career as a comic book and trading card editor and publisher, Yronwode was involved in three court cases related to free speech/free expression under the First Amendment.

In the 1986 Illinois v. Correa obscenity case, which led to the founding of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund,[19] Yronwode was an expert witness for the defense.[20]

In 1992, the convicted serial killer Kenneth Bianchi, one-half of the pair known as the Hillside Stranglers, sued Yronwode for 8.5 million dollars for having an image of his face depicted on a trading card; he claimed his face was his trademark. The judge dismissed the case after ruling 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.[21][22]

Also in 1992, Eclipse was a plaintiff when Nassau County, New York seized a crime-themed trading card series of theirs under a county ordinance prohibiting sales of certain trading cards to minors.[23] The case, in which Yronwode testified and the American Civil Liberties Union provided Eclipse's representation, reached the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. It ruled against the county, overturning the ordinance.[24][25][26]

Other work[edit]

During the 1990s, Yronwode was a staff editor and contributor to Organic Gardening Magazine[clarification needed] and wrote The California Gardener's Book of Lists (Taylor, 1998). Other subjects she has covered include collectibles, popular culture,[5] rural acoustic blues music, early rock'n'roll, sexuality,[1] magic, sacred architecture,[27] the worldwide use of charms and talismans, African American hoodoo, and other folklore subjects. She runs the websites,, and, which deal with these topics, as well as with comic books.

She is the co-proprietor, with her husband Nagasiva Yronwode, of the Lucky Mojo Curio Company, an occult shop, spiritual supply manufactory, book publishing firm, and internet radio network for which she produces graphic label art. She is on the board of the Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology (YIPPIE), a 501(c)3 not-for-profit foundation that archives the material culture of 19th and 20th century folk magic and divination. Under the imprints of the Lucky Mojo Curio Company, Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, and YIPPIE, the Yronwodes edit and publish books by a variety of other authors as well as their own works[2][28][29][30] Extensive interviews with 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.[28]

Personal life[edit]

From 1965 through 1980, Yronwode lived as a rural back-to-the-land hippie at Tolstoy Peace Farm, an anarchist commune in Washington; the Equitable Farm commune in Mendocino County, California, and the Garden of Joy Blues commune in Oregon County, Missouri.[31]

In 1967 Yronwode began a relationship with Peter Paskin; in 1969 they devised the new surname Yronwode. In 1970 they were interviewed at length by Rolling Stone magazine for an article on hippie anarchist communes.[32] 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. Their partnership ended in 1976.[1][31]

After working and living together from 1983 onward, Yronwode and Dean Mullaney married in 1987. They divorced in 1993.[33]

Yronwode lives on an old farmstead in rural Forestville, California in "tantric partnership"[1][2] with Nagasiva Bryan W Yronwode. They met in 1998 and married in 2000.[34]



  1. ^ a b c d e Catherine Yronwode. "Catherine Yronwode (biography page)". Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f 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. ^ "more about cat". 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Search Results for GLOZER, L[iselotte] and Catherine Manfredi - Bibliomania - Carefully packing & shipping books worldwide for forty years". 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Michigan State University Libraries. "Special Collections Division Reading Room Index to the Comic Art Collection "Yps" to "Yugoslavia"". Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  6. ^ dgabbard (2015). "TBG news columnist | CBGXtra". Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Jeremy York (November 9, 1991). "Larry Marder interview". Gunk'L'Dunk e-zine. Archived from the original on July 26, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  8. ^ Rick Beckley (May 25, 2000). "Interview with Dan Brereton". (defunct, via Brereton's website). Archived from the original on September 11, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-26. [dead link]
  9. ^ Catherine Yronwode at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ Michigan State University Libraries. "Special Collections Division Reading Room Index to the Comic Art Collection "Eclipse Extra" to "Écluses"". Archived from the original on August 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  11. ^ Catherine Yronwode. "Eclipse Comics Index". Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  12. ^ Scott McCloud (February 4, 2015). "Scott McCloud on the Secret of Humor". The Atlantic. 
  13. ^ "Conan in Comics? Yes. Hulk? Sure. But Fafner? Wotan?" by John Rockwell, New York Times, April 5, 1990
  14. ^ "Inkpot Awards". 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  15. ^ "Women in the Comics: Assertive and Independent Women Make a Comeback," Miami Herald, December 1, 1988
  16. ^ "Comic Books Are For Adults Too" by William Singleton, Scripps Howard News Service, Chronicle-Telegram (newspaper), January 7, 1988
  17. ^ "Funny How Things Change," Daily Herald (newspaper), December 28, 1988
  18. ^
    • "Trading Card Fame for S&L Scoundrels" by Judith Crossen, Reuters, Philadelphia Daily News (newspaper), September 9, 1991
    • "A Full Deck of Scandals at a Glance" by Susan Trausch, The Boston Globe (newspaper), September 18, 1991
    • "Insider Trading with Keating, Milken", Los Angeles Daily News (newspaper), October 20, 1991
    • "Price tag on JFK intrigue Assassination aficionados spawn cottage industry" by Kathryn Jones, Dallas Morning News (newspaper), November 22, 1991
    • "Kennedy Assassination is an Industry with Growing Market", Associated Press, Elyria Chronicle-Telegram (newspaper), November 28, 1991
    • "Ban Urged on Sale of Crime Cards", The Record (newspaper), April 30, 1992
    • "'True Crime' Cards Thriving Despite Outrage", The New York Times (newspaper), June 16, 1992
    • "Killer Cards Hit Capital Stores Amid Criticism", Sacramento Bee (newspaper), June 19, 1992
    • "Killer Cards: Two groups trying to deal fatal blow to criminal cards", The Oregonian (newspaper), August 18, 1992
    • "AIDS cards to include condoms", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (newspaper), September 23, 1992
    • "AIDS Awareness is in the cards", Dallas Morning News (newspaper), July 7, 1993
    • "AIDS Activism turns to cards" Dayton Daily News (newspaper), July 13, 1993
    "Ban Sought on Cards depicting AIDS victim" The Boston Globe (newspaper) January 15, 1994
  19. ^ "CBLDF Case Files — Illinois v. Correa | Comic Book Legal Defense Fund". 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "Censorship of Comics Bibliography: 1980s". Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Retrieved 2006-09-26. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Serial Killer Sues Trading Card Maker", San Jose Mercury News, December 18, 1992
  22. ^ "Card-Carrying Rebels: Two Guerrilla Journalists Turn Crime and Crises into Camp Collectibles" by Kathleen Donnelly, San Jose Mercury News (newspaper), January 10, 1993
  23. ^ "Nassau County Limits Sale of Crime Trading Cards". New York Times (newspaper), June 16, 1992
  24. ^ "Nassau Is Faulted for Law Over Killer Trading Cards", New York Times (newspaper), October 17, 1995
  25. ^ "Arts & First Amendment Issues: Comic Books". First Amendment Center. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  26. ^ "ECLIPSE ENTERPRISES INC v. GULOTTA | FindLaw". 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  27. ^ "Finding the Unexpected on www.ididn'", New York Times (newspaper), July 21, 1991
  28. ^ a b Long, Carolyn Morrow (2001) Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce. University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 1-57233-109-7
  29. ^ Cameron McWhirter (December 28, 2010). "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. 
  30. ^ "Books Published by Lucky Mojo Curio Company: Lucky Mojo Curio Co. catalogue". 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  31. ^ a b Miller, Timothy (1999) The 60's Communes: Hippies and Beyond (Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution), Syracuse University Press.
  32. ^ "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
  33. ^ "Poisoned Chalice Part 11: The Twilight of Eclipse — The Beat". 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  34. ^ "cat & nagasiva nuptials". 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 

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