by Trina Robbins

Emma Goldman Comix

The Bold Life Of Everyone’s Favorite Jewish Anarchist

Pioneer underground cartoonist Sharon Rudahl left comics early, putting her work on the back burner while raising and home-schooling a family. But her simmering pot has cooked to perfection and chef Rudahl has produced a chef d’oeuvre with her first graphic novel about Emma Goldman, everyone’s favorite Jewish anarchist. Meticulously researched and lovingly drawn, Dangerous Woman (New Press, $17.95) details Goldman’s life from her birth in Czarist Russia to her 1940 death in exile, in Canada. Like blunt-speaking Goldman herself, Rudahl’s Socialist-realist art style pulls no punches. She draws every lump and makes no attempt to beautify anyone, including homely Emma. A feminist and practitioner of what was then called “free love,” Goldman’s plain looks did not keep the boys away, and she had numerous lovers, the last when she was sixty-four years old and he was thirty-six. This led to no end of adventures: she once horsewhipped a comrade who accused one of her lovers of being in league with the bosses. On another occasion, she and a comrade dug a tunnel to break a lover out of prison, but they miscalculated and the tunnel came out in the wrong place. All this, and more, Rudahl manages to tell us about in her comic.

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