Carole is an American female underground comix artist who contributed the feminist comic 'Breaking Out' to the first issue of 'It Ain't Me, Babe' (1971). Not much else about her life or further comics career is known.

It Ain't Me, Babe
In 1971 Trina Robbins stepped up to give a feminist's answer to the sexist ways women had been portrayed in both mainstream and underground comix until that point. She published an all-female underground comic book: 'It Ain't Me, Babe' (Last Gasp, July 1970). All stories portray women or famous female comic characters rising up against sexism and gender roles. The book proved very influential and led to similar all-female underground comix like 'Tits and Clits Comix' (1972) and 'Abortion Eve' (1973) by Joyce Farmer and Lyn Chevli, 'Wimmen's Comix' (1972) by Robbins and Michele Brand and 'Twisted Sisters' (1975) by Aline Kominsky and Diane Noomin.

Breaking Out
While 'It Ain't Me, Babe' was a noble initiative, Trina Robbins, Lisa Lyons and Nancy Kalish were by far the most talented of its contributors. Most of the others were amateurs with little to no graphic experience. One of them was a certain Carole, who made a three-page comic titled 'Breakin' Out' for the comic. The writing is credited to "the It Ain't Me Babe Basement Collective". In the story, various iconic female characters reach a point of self realisation. Marge's Little Lulu wants to play along with the boys in her neighborhood, but they tell her "no girls are allowed". The little girl is surprised at first, then utters the immortal line: "Fuck this shit!" In Elliot Caplin and Stan Drake's 'The Heart of Juliet Jones', Juliet is committing herself to her boyfriend until she realizes how "inane" her romantic dialogue is. Betty and Veronica from Bob Montana's Archie Comics come to the conclusion that they've always been much better friends with each other than with Archie. Supergirl is tired of being bossed around by Superman and flies off. Meanwhile, Porky Pig from 'Looney Tunes' is stunned that Petunia Pig suddenly leaves him because she's tired of being his house servant and cook. All female characters gather at Witch Hazel's place (presumably the Disney character), who instigated their rebellion. They realize they don't need men and take their lives into their own hands... 'Breakin Out' is one of the best remembered stories in 'It Ain't Me, Babe', especially considering it was drawn by somebody with little drawing experience. The drawings are a bit clumsy here and there, but overall they still bring a powerful message across, in line with It Ain't Me Babe's themes.

Identity mystery
As memorable as 'Breaking Out' is, Carole's own identity has been lost in the mist of times. Her last name was never printed in 'It Ain't Me, Babe', because - as Trina Robbins explained: "...we dumped our 'slave names' and used only our first names." Decades later, Robbins felt it was a shame that none of them could remember Carole's last name, especially since she had been in touch with her through e-mail in later years, but again lost their correspondence. Some sources claim that Carole's last name was "Kalish", which suggests a family connection to Nancy Kalish, another underground cartoonist. Interestingly enough, both their contributions appear next to each other in the final pages of 'It Ain't Me, Babe'. While it's possible that they were related (sisters, perhaps), Nancy Kalish explained in an interview with Alex Dueben for The Comics Journal (18 August 2016), that all her communication with Trina Robbins for 'It Ain't Me, Babe' was done by mail and never in person. This explains why she doesn't appear on the group photo, only on an inserted passport photo. However, Carole does appear in the group photo, making a family connection and a shared last name with Nancy less likely...

Carole appears to have never made another comic strip again. Her current whereabouts are unknown.


The 'It Ain't Me Babe' group photo. Carole is the blonde girl in the top left.

Series and books by Carole in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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