Newsweek Profiles Lily Renée
Pioneering comic book artist Lily Renée, who’s illustrations graced many Fiction House titles in the forties, has been profiled in Newseek magazine. One of very few women that made it above secretarial positions in the golden age era comic book field, Renée’s work is receiving attention thanks to Trina Robbins’ dogged detective work tracking the 85 year old artist down.
Her illustrations seemed to come from a different world, and indeed they did. It wasn’t only her gender that set her apart. You can see in her work flashes of Klimt, Schiele, Dix, and other high-art painters she studied as a wealthy young girl in prewar Austria. You can also see the influence of what happened next: World War II. Phillips spent two years as a Jewish war refugee in England, wondering if her parents were still alive, and ultimately escaping to the U.S. with the kind of derring-do you might find in Señorita Rio, an immigrant turned spy who became Phillips’s most celebrated comic creation. “Whatever is in you comes out in the drawings. I think this is probably why they are so personal,” Phillips, 85, says now from her spacious Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan. At a time when we can’t seem to get enough of macho action movies, videogames, and assorted comic-book-inspired fluff, Phillips is that rarest of artists: a woman whose work—and whose very existence—conveyed a sense of import in an otherwise candy-colored world.