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excellent writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
Power Pak Comics 1 _ Power Pak Comics 2
Power Pak Comics #1
Power Pak Comics #2
Power Pak Comics

1979-1981 / Kitchen Sink
Based on her accomplishments, by the late 1970s one would think that Aline Kominsky had vanquished her most ardent critics. In 1972, a year after Justin Green's revolutionary Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary, Kominsky produced the first autobiographical comic story by a woman, "Goldie: A Neurotic Woman," which appeared in the premier issue of the groundbreaking Wimmen's Comix. In 1974 she began the innovative Dirty Laundry Comics with her boyfriend, Robert Crumb, and in 1976 she paired up with Diane Noomin to launch the influential Twisted Sisters.

But as you might've guessed, Kominsky still had her share of detractors. From fanboys who were outraged that her comparatively crude artwork shared the same page with the legendary Robert Crumb to feminists (e.g. Trina Robbins) who didn't like her self-deprecating comics. Yet Kominsky was hardly deterred by these critics nor their criticism. As she said in a 1990 interview with The Comics Journal, "Right from the beginning I got a lot of flak from everyone for being so primitive and self-deprecating. Women like Trina were influenced by traditional comics. They had images of women being glamorous and heroic. I didn't have that background. I didn't have any control over it. My cartooning was unconscious and still is. I didn't contrive or plot to do something in a certain way. It was the only way I was capable of doing it."

In 1979, having married Crumb and moved to the small town of Winters, California, Kominsky produced the first issue of The Bunch's Power Pak Comics, her first solo comic book. She finished the second issue two years later, while pregnant with her daughter, Sophie. The two issues of Power Pak offer Kominsky's typically revealing and acidic autobiographical comics, providing insights into her family life and the people who surrounded her.

Kominsky's drawing style will never please everyone, but the second issue offers some of her best comic illustration to date, dense with texture and details (and often produced on scratchboard). As always, the strength of her comics lies in her brutally honest writing, which pulls zero punches while exposing both the beauty and (mostly) ugliness of her personal history.