Lily Renée

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Lily Renée
Born Lily Renée Wilheim
1925 (age 89–90)
Vienna, Austria
Nationality Austrian-American
Area(s) Artist
Pseudonym(s) L. Renée
Lily Renée
Notable works
Senorita Rio

Lily Renée Wilheim Peters Phillips, (born Lily Renée Wilheim, c. 1925, Vienna, Austria), often credited as L. Renée, Lily Renée, or Reney, is an Austrian-American artist, writer, and playwright. She escaped from Nazi-occupied Vienna to England and later New York, whereupon she found work as a penciller at Fiction House on such titles as The Werewolf Hunter, Jane Martin and Senorita Rio.

Early life[edit]

Wilheim was raised by wealthy Jewish parents in Vienna in the 1930s.[1] Her father worked as a manager at the Holland America line, a transatlantic steamship company.[1] As a child, she frequented art museums and often drew as a hobby.[2]

In 1938, at age fourteen, Wilheim was boarded onto the Kindertransport, leaving her parents behind in Nazi-occupied Austria.[2] She arrived in Leeds, England, and lived there for two years waiting for her parents' escape.[2] She worked as a servant and nanny to the children of a German general.[2] She reportedly drew only a single illustration during this time, one of the biblical character Eve lying in a bed of thorns.[2]

When Wilhelm was sixteen, she received a letter from her parents, who had emigrated to America.[2] While attempting to escape, Wilhelm was briefly arrested and subsequently released.[2] After moving to New York, Wilhelm applied to a position at Fiction House,[2] a publishing company looking to replace its male artists who had been drafted into the war.[3] She was hired alongside other female comic illustrators and writers, including Nina Albright and Fran Hopper.[3]


While working at Fiction House, Wilheim experienced frequent sexual harassment from her male colleagues.[2] After several years of working in editing and pencilling, Wilhelm was promoted to styling female Fiction House characters, including Jane Martin, a female pilot character working in the all-male aviation industry.[2] She also wrote and illustrated The Werewolf Hunter and Senorita Rio.

In 1947 she married artist Eric Peters, another Viennese refugee. He had been a political cartoonist, and after drawing a caricature of Joseph Goebbels, the Gestapo showed up at his house to arrest him. He was not apprehended, and was able to escape. In 1948, after Fiction House moved out of New York, Wilhelm and Peters began working at St. John Publications. They worked on Abbott & Costello comics together, and Wilhelm drew additional romance stories.

Later life[edit]

Wilhelm retired from Fiction House in 1949.[2] In 2007, she attended Comic-Con International in San Diego, and Friends of Lulu nominated her to its Hall of Fame.[2] As of 2010, Wilhelm lives in New York City on Madison Avenue.[2]

In 2011, Lerner Publishing Group's Graphic Universe line released a graphic biography of Phillips for young readers entitled Lily Renée: Escape Artist, scripted by Robbins with art by Anne Timmons.[1]



  • Abbott and Costello [1948-1949]
  • Cinderella Love (1954) #28
    • "I Was A Campus Cutup"
  • Diary Secrets (1952) #10, 19, 30
    • "Was I Too Young for Love?"
    • "We Fought for Our Love"
    • "Remodeled for Romance"
  • Fight Comics (1940) #34-44, 47-51
    • Senorita Rio [1944-1948]
  • Jumbo Comics (1938) #154, 156, 160
  • Kaänga Comics (1949) #9
    • "Tabu" story
  • Kitty (1948) #1
  • Pictorial Romances (1950) #15
    • "For Nurses Only"
  • Planet Comics (1940) #28-49, 68, 70
    • Lost World [1944-1947]
    • Mysta of the Moon [1945]
    • Norge Benson [1944]
  • Rangers of Freedom/Ranger Comics (1941) #14-40
    • The Werewolf Hunter [1943-1948]
  • Teen-Age Diary Secrets (1949)
    • "Dishonest Kisses Were My Downfall"
  • Teen-Age Romances (1949) #1-2, 4
    • "Was I Too Young for Love?" (reprint)
    • "We Couldn't Be Kept Apart"
    • "They Called Me a Love Thief"
    • "I'll Not Date in August"
  • Toyland Comics (1947) #2-3
    • Fifi on the Farm [1947]
  • Wings Comics (1940) #31-48
    • Jane Martin [1943]


  • America's Greatest Comics (2002) #14
    • "Senorita Rio" story from Fight Comics #50
  • Good Girl Art Quarterly (1990) #5
    • "Senorita Rio" story from Fight Comics #35
  • Rio Rita (1994) one-shot
    • stories from Fight Comics (1940) #43, 47
  • Romance Without Tears TPB (2003)
    • "Was I Too Young for Love?"
    • "We Couldn't Be Kept Apart"


  1. ^ a b c Trina Robbins (2013). Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer. Graphic Universe. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Adriane Quinlan (30 July 2010). "A Real-Life Comic-Book Superhero". Newsweek. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Jean-Paul Gabillet (2010). Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books. University Press of Mississippi. p. 114. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 

External links[edit]