gg-dopeSax Rohmer’s Dope
adapted and drawn by Trina Robbins
IDW Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-1631409578

This graphic novel is the first of two books by Trina Robbins that we are going to recommend today in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide. In this story a talented young actress becomes fatally ensnared in London’s mysterious and glittery drug culture of the early 20th century. It’s a great gift for anyone whose taste in comic books extends beyond the narrow worlds of mainstream superheroes.

Trina Robbins is a legendary cartoonist, one of the few females to break the glass ceiling in the underground comics movement in the 1960s. She broke through to the mainstream with her work in National Lampoon and even worked for DC and Marvel Comics in the 1980s. She is a sterling example of a real, human feminist, rather than the cartoon portrayals that you see splattered all over the media. Sax Rohmer’s Dope is considered her finest work in a brilliant career.

I’ve been a fan of Robbins’ work since I first discovered it back when I was too young to be reading underground comics. Let’s go to the publisher’s blurb for a further description of this work:

Trina Robbins’ brilliant graphic novel adaptation of Sax Rohmer’s sensational 1919 novel, Dope, is considered by many (including Trina herself) to be her best work ever as an illustrator. Inspired by true events, Dope was both the first novel to speak openly about the world’s international drug trade and the first story to center around the death of a celebrity by drug overdose. The graphic novel adaptation was first serialized in Eclipse Magazine beginning in 1981, and is collected here for the first time.

Sax Rhomer’s Dope is a fascinating story, told with Robbin’s sleek and clean cartooning. It’s a captivating read, and is perfect for the intelligent comix fan on your holiday shopping list. You can order it from any bookstore, or find it at Amazon.