From the cover of Wimmen's Comix #4 (1974; art by Shelby Sampson)
By 1970, the underground comix field had come into its own as a creators' alternative to Comics Code restrictions on language, art and subject matter. This freer, "anything goes" environment was a positive development for comic books overall (otherwise I wouldn't be making all these posts about it). But it also had a darker side: an increased emphasis on content that was brutally degrading to women, and the exclusion of women creators from the most popular comix titles.
One rising woman artist who found herself both excluded from the underground boys' club of R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Spain Rodriguez and others, as well as troubled by much of their output, was Trina Robbins:
"[I]n most San Francisco comix circles it was almost de rigeur for male underground cartoonists to include violence against women in their comix, and to portray this violence as humor. [...] Women who thought panels of rape, torture and murder were not funny were often told by men that they simply had no sense of humor."
So Robbins decided it was time for a women-initiated underground comic. She assembled a collective of seven colleagues, and in July 1970, the Print Mint press issued the standalone comic, It Ain't Me, Babe, the first comic of any kind edited and produced entirely by women. From the comic, here's Michele Brand's "Tirade Funnies" which is, sadly, still timely in light of #YesAllWomen:
The modest success of It Ain't Me, Babe inspired the first ongoing comic series generated entirely by women: the appropriately-titled Wimmen's Comix, which ran irregularly for twenty years, under rotating editors. From the first issue (November 1972), here's an excerpt from Robbins's "Sandy Comes Out," a funny true-life confessional which was also the first comic-book story to feature an "out" lesbian:
From Issue 3 (October 1973), another Robbins story, this time a time-travel fantasy about the WWII poster icon Rosie the Riveter: