Girls read comics too
February 18, 2018
Comic books are traditionally male-centric, and the female superheroes who do appear are often sidelined, relegated to role of love-interest, or, to use the colloquial term, “frigded”. All of this can discourage female readers from picking up comics, missing out on some really amazing stories being told in the comic book medium. As boys-oriented as comics are, progress towards better female representation is nonetheless being made, and there are still great comics centered on female characters being currently published at both Marvel and DC (most of which are written or illustrated by women). Here are four of the best comic book series to check out for awesome storytelling and girl power, no prior knowledge of Marvel or DC needed.
Wonder Woman: Year One by Greg Rucka with art by Nicola Scott
Wonder Woman is always a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about awesome comic book ladies, and the character’s latest comics incarnation is no exception, putting a fresh spin on her iconic story while reinvigorating it for a new generation. Wonder Woman: Year One is an epic retelling of Diana of Themsycira’s origin and journey to man’s world, set in modern times and rendered in gorgeous detail by artist Nicola Scott. If you enjoyed the Wonder Woman movie and are curious about the character’s comic book adventures, then there is no better starting point than this story. Rucka does Wonder Woman justice in a way that few writers can, portraying Diana as a formidable warrior while still emphasizing the compassion and kindness which are key to her identity as a heroine.
Thor Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman and Jorge Molina
Most people probably associate Thor with Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of the superhero in Disney’s Marvel movies, but the Thor of Marvel comics has actually been a compelling, courageous female character since 2015. In the first issue of the new Thor series, the original Thor finds himself no longer worthy enough to lift his magic hammer, and a mysterious woman steps up to fill his place, becoming the goddess of thunder, Earth’s new protector. Dauterman and Molina’s beautiful art is one of this series’ strongest points- it embraces the fantastical side of Thor’s comic book mythos while still being slick and modern and Thor’s costume design is absolutely amazing. Female empowerment is also introduced as a prominent theme, as the new Thor fights to prove herself in face of the Norse gods’ patriarchal traditions.
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by Willow G. Wilson with art by Adrian Alphona
Ms. Marvel is one of Marvel’s most popular and critically acclaimed comics of recent years, and with good reason. When Muslim-American teen Kamala Khan discovers that she has the ability to shrink and enlarge her body parts at will after being caught up in a strange mist, she decides to take to the streets of her native Jersey City and fight crime, calling herself Ms. Marvel. Kamala is an instantly lovable protagonist, and, as a superhero fangirl who becomes a superhero herself, she brings a unique, meta angle to her series’ storytelling. Ms. Marvel definitely takes a lighter, more comedic approach to superheroics than most of the series on its list, but that is not to say it is pure fluff either. Wilson includes plenty of moments of genuine pathos as Kamala struggles to navigate her dual identities as superheroine and the daughter of immigrants, delivering a heartfelt coming-of-age tale. Additionally, this series has a really diverse cast of characters and is grounded in real world events and problems in a way that few comic books are, making it a highly relevant read.
Batgirl and The Birds of Prey Volume 1: Who is Oracle? By Julie and Shauna Benson with art by Claire Roe and Roge Antonio
Batgirl and The Birds of Prey, is a fun, action-packed take on the oldest all-female superhero team in comics, that, while set in Gotham city and starring a member of the Bat-Family, stands well on its own and is accessible for Batman fans and newcomers alike. In Who is Oracle?, Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl joins forces with fellow superheroines Black Canary (Dinah Lance) and Huntress (Helena Bertenelli) in order to thwart an unknown foe who has taken up the mantle of Oracle- a vigilante identity that Barbara herself once used. The Benson sisters skillfully characterize Babs, Dinah, and Helena as unique individuals who are both lovable and flawed, seamlessly weaving each heroine’s complicated history into a larger story whose stakes feel realistically high without ever becoming too grim or bleak. Best of all, female friendship and girl power are at the core of this comic as the three heroines gradually learn to work together and form close personal bonds in the process.
Alanna Felton is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of the journalism staff. She is also president and founder of the RHS Young Writers’ Club and an officer...