Breaking News in the World of Women’s Comics History!
What started out as an offhand Google search in the midst of combing through the 1940 Census turned into a series of e-mails between myself and quintessential comics “herstorian” Trina Robbins and has concluded with a victory in the race against time in preserving women’s place in Golden Age comics history.
To wit, Frances Deitrick Hopper, one of the many female artists behind comics publisher Fiction House’s adventure heroines, such as Gale Allen, Jane Martin, and Mysta of the Moon, has been “rediscovered” alive at the age of 90 in New Jersey.
Until now, her life after her last comics credit in 1948 has been a mystery to historians— one of many in the comics field and perhaps never thought to be solved. But in an attempt to find her hypothetical obituary turned up something better (at least for my research purposes): the obituary of her husband from 2010, stating that at least at the time, she survived him.
Alas, I am a responsible adult now with a real job, and I couldn’t be chasing down leads to possibly living nonagenarians in questionable health, so I went to the person who has the best job in the world, which is to do exactly that, Ms. Trina Robbins.
Using information from Dr. Hopper’s obituary, Trina got in touch with Fran Hopper’s daughter, a retired pediatrician in Massachusetts. And earlier this afternoon, I got a very excited e-mail from Trina, informing me that she had just gotten off the phone with none other than Fran Hopper herself, alive and well and still sharp as a tack.
I eagerly look forward to Trina’s upcoming book, which she informs me will contain images and information furnished by Mrs. Hopper. And just maybe we can dream of a Fiction House reunion between Fran Hopper and Lily Renee.
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