Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 32

has been a big influence on me, and I’d like to think I’ve had some effect on her! I’m currently reading Michael Pollan’s wonder- ful study of the new research on psychedelic drugs, How to Change Your Mind. He’s such a great writer, and, of course, the world of car- toons and animation has always been involved with altered perceptions of reality. Yeah, I would be nothing without my books! MS: Fascinating! Well, earlier you referred to the complex relationships between The Simp- sons’ creator and writers and the characters, which is tantalizing, and I am very curious to hear more, but first I wanted to see how you view The Simpsons in general and your charac- ter in particular, with regard to the history of cartoons and comics in this country. Lisa’s red dress is a homage to Little Lulu, created by in Marjorie Bell in 1935, the first internationally successful female cartoonist. Photo by Jeff Trexler. cartoon characters, but I don’t believe he ever got a response from Marcuse. MS: Homer must have been disappointed. LS: Yes, he held onto a resentment against Mar- cuse for years! MS: I can understand that. So, what are you reading these days? LS: Oh my gosh! I live to read! I just finished and loved my friend Nell Scovell’s wonderful new book, Just the Funny Parts. She wrote for a Simpsons episode, which is how we became friends. Her book is really about the difficulty of women writers, especially comedy writers, in what she calls “the Hollywood Boys’ Club.” Nell 32 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G LS: That is a great question! Let me start with my own character. As a character I draw, no pun intended, heavily from my incredible pre- cursors, especially Little Lulu. My red dress, of course, is homage to Lulu’s little triangular red dress. Lulu was created by Marjorie Buell in 1935—she was the first female cartoonist in the US to achieve international success. And Lulu was very feisty; in the 30’s she resisted the authority of adults with imaginative and mischievous pranks, and my brother Bart has taken a lot of Lulu’s rebellious nature into his own character, a wonderful fusion of female and male ingenuity, and a hint of how gender fluidity can allow more creativity. Later in the 1950’s, Lulu increasingly resisted the hegemo- ny of male privilege, typified in the comic strip by Tubby and Iggy’s all boys clubhouse. MS: Yes! I LOVED Little Lulu, and I remember when Lulu crashed into that clubhouse. LS: Yes, that was a famous comic book cover! Lulu was prescient in her anticipation of Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique, which was not published until 1963. WINTER 2019