Friends of Lulu

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Friends of Lulu
Area served
United States
Key people
Trina Robbins, Heidi MacDonald, Deni Loubert, Anina Bennett, Jackie Estrada, Valerie D'Orazio
Friends of Lulu President Valerie D'Orazio at the Friends of Lulu table at the Big Apple Con, November 15, 2008

Friends of Lulu was a non-profit, national charitable organization in the United States, which operated from 1994[1][2]–2011 to promote readership of comic books by women and the participation of women in the comic book industry.

Membership was open to all persons.[3] Friends of Lulu additionally sponsored the Lulu Awards and administered the Women Cartoonists Hall of Fame.

The organization took 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.[4]


In the early 1990s, comic book professionals Trina Robbins, Heidi MacDonald, Deni Loubert, Anina Bennett, Liz Schiller and Jackie Estrada banded together to share frustrations, information and aspirations for women in the male-dominated comics industry, and held the first "Friends of Lulu" meeting at a comics convention. 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.[5]

In 1994 Friends of Lulu started an amateur press association which lasted three issues.[6]

In 1997 the first annual Lulu conference and Lulu awards were held in California.[7]

In 2000, Friends of Lulu was awarded a grant from the Xeric Foundation to self-publish Friends of Lulu: Storytime.[8][9]

In 2003, the organization published an anthology entitled Broad Appeal.[10]

In September 2007, Valerie D'Orazio volunteered to fill the empty president of the national board of directors of Friends of Lulu.[11]

In August 2010, an interim Board of Directors was reestablished.[12]

In June 2011, the IRS revoked the organization's tax-exempt status as a non-profit.[13] The group ceased operations shortly afterwards.[14]

Past presidents of the organization include Katie Merrit, owner of retail store Green Brain Comics, and Shannon Crane.[15][16]

Lulu Awards[edit]

The Lulu Awards, presented annually at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California, from 1997 to 2009, 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.


Friends of Lulu published a number of books, including:

  • How to Get Girls (Into Your Store) (1997) — guide for comics shop owners on how to make their stores more female-friendly
  • Friends of Lulu Presents: Storytime (2001)
  • Broad Appeal (2003) — anthology of comics by women artists
  • The Girls' Guide to Guys' Stuff (2007) — an anthology of over 50 women cartoonists including Roberta Gregory, Abby Denson, and Debbie Huey

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leibrock, Rachel (March 14, 2003). "Drawing Power S.F. exhibit celebrates pioneering women cartoonists". Sacramento Bee: E1.
  2. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (January 14, 2005). "Comics for girls may save biz". The Washington Times: D8.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Cuda, Amanda (August 5, 2003). "Women's Wit: Holy comics, Batman, it's women cartoonists!". Connecticut Post
  5. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (May 18, 2000). "Fatal femmes: Why do women in comics become Women in Refrigerators?". Dallas Observer.
  6. ^ "Index to Comic Art Collection: "Periodicals About Comics" (D-L titles)".
  7. ^ Cooper, Carol (January 9, 2001). "Pretty Persuasion". Village Voice: 59.
  8. ^ Povey, Matthew (July 12, 2002). "Friends of Lulu announces award nominees". Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  9. ^ "Book awards: Xeric Award". Library Thing. Archived from the original on September 29, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  10. ^[bare URL]
  11. ^ Friends of Lulu (2008). "Friends of Lulu's 2008 Board of Directors". Friends of Lulu. Archived from the original on 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  12. ^ D'Orazio, Valerie (August 8, 2010). "2010 Awards". Comics Are For Everyone. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  13. ^ Draper Carlson, Johanna. "It's Official — Friends of Lulu No Longer a Non-Profit Organization". Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  14. ^ Draper Carlson, Johanna. "Friends of Lulu Done and Gone". Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Friends of Lulu Responds". 23 February 2007.
  16. ^ "Scandal Involving CBLDF's Charles Brownstein Leads to Women's Empowerment Fund | the Comics Journal". 14 September 2018.

External links[edit]