The Incredible Nellie Bly: Journalist, Investigator, Feminist, and Philanthropist

Luciana Cimino and Sergio Algozzino, translated from the Italian by Laura Garofalo. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5017-5
As depicted in this celebratory graphic biography, pioneering journalist Nellie Bly led a life as extraordinary as the stories she reported. In the 1920s, journalism student Miriam hopes that writing about Nellie will forward the cause of female journalists at Columbia. (Though her conversations with an ailing Nellie form a somewhat unnecessary framing device, and overall the approach is heavy on exposition.) After watching her mother struggle first as a poor widow and then in an abusive second marriage, stubborn and adventurous Nellie works her way to The World in New York City. In 1887 she goes undercover at Blackwell’s Island, the city’s largest mental institution for women. Her reporting on the cruel conditions leads to increased funding for asylums and other institutions, and to prestigious assignments: covering female factory workers, interviewing the first woman to run for president, and traveling the world à la Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. Cimino and Algozzino capture Nellie’s daring spirit and righteous anger in confidently loose lined illustrations colored in teals and yellow watercolor style. This concise primer serves as a welcoming introduction to Bly’s biography—educational but not deeply inspiring. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/15/2021
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Comics
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