My name is Kris and I love comic books. Exciting stories filled with dynamic characters told through excellent writing and artistic imagery… comic books are an exceptional form of art. Of course, as a kid I originally got into them because “there were pictures”… then I came to appreciate how badass the characters typically are… and finally today I see the whole rounded view of what a comic has to offer. Including a feminist viewpoint. My name is Kris and I love girl power comics. Lately I’ve found myself obsessed with stories with a strong feminine viewpoint and am inspired to share. So here is our February High Five: Girl Power Comics!
1. Ms. Marvel
This is an easy place to start. The newest run of Ms. Marvel has been praised time & time again for its alternative look at a female superhero. Kamala Khan is not your typical ‘Girl in Tights’; on the contrary, she is so very normal that any fangirl will instantly relate. Yes, she gets grounded by her parents when she sneaks out or stays out too late on a school night (if only they knew she was saving the world!) …but it’s so much more than that. She writes Avengers fanfics. She ships Spider-Marvel, aka Spider-Man and the old Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers). She insists on taking selfies with any new heroes she meets. She does exactly what I’d do in her shoes. Basically she is me. Basically she is all of us.
Plus, in addition to being a strong young woman, the new Ms. Marvel also represents a different race & religion. As a Muslim teen she is faced with unique problems which illuminate some of the challenges & some of the beauty of her faith and strengthens the already strong sense of humanity in her character.
Another obvious go-to here as far as girl power comics go; Lumberjanes is a feminist’s dream. It is full of strong female characters that are also spunky, smart, fun, and all-around real. It wears a feminism badge of honor yet does so in a brilliant way. It doesn’t preach at you; instead it presents females who you can hold as role models… hilarious, quirky role models.
Structured as a Field Manual for a
girl’s Hardcore Lady Types’ camp, these comics are unique and entertaining. Don’t be off-put by the fact that you can find them shelved in the 9-12 ‘Young Readers’ section… also be encouraged by it. Give this book to your daughter/niece/cousins/child you randomly know somehow (be it a girl or boy – it’s obviously very empowering for young ladies but I think boys might enjoy it too). And while you’re picking up that gift, also grab a copy for yourself. You are just as likely to fall in love with April, Molly, Mal, Ripley, Jen, & Rosie!
3. DC Bombshells
DC Bombshells might not seem like an obvious choice based on the name, or even the cover art. If you are lobbying for the end of sexualized female superheroes, this is definitely not the series for you. However, imagine a world when we don’t need male superheroes. Ok, I know that we don’t have ANY superheroes, but imagine a fictional, comic book universe that doesn’t need men to save them. In DC Bombshells we are thrown back to the Second World War and the ladies of DC are the first ones to join the front line. Sure they look like perfect pin-ups, but they are also bravely defending their nation.
I understand the problem with creating unmatchable standards of beauty, but perhaps we can try to take something else away from these books. I consider this as part of my “girl power comics” because of the characters themselves. They are strong (fighting on the front lines), they are smart (devising battle strategy), and they are written & illustrated with true femininity (coming from having a mainly female creative team).
4. Batgirl of Burnside
I feel like Batgirl of Burnside was written specifically for me. First of all, Batgirl is an all-time favourite of mine. She’s the main reason I ever give DC a chance (her and Robin/Nightwing). The art is a style I really respond it with comics… kind of punchy and full of vibrant colors & dark shadows. And everything, and I mean everything, about this version of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon/Gotham is soooo hipster! Coffee shops, indie bands, dating apps, and selfies. The creators of this new Batgirl series know their target audience and they are laying it on thick while pandering to them… but in the BEST way!
But aside from the hipster references, the characters are wonderful. Barbara is strong and capable, yet often confused and unsure. So very relatable for anyone her age (anyone my age). The confidence exhibited by herself and the strong women she surrounds herself with is inspiration indeed.
5. Helena Rose: In Intergalactic Fairytale
Helena Rose is one of a collection of comics I was given the chance to check out at the end of last year by Emet Comics. Emet Comics is an amazing publishing company where all of their comics are written & illustrated by women. Talk about girl power comics! Their content is varied, with art styles and storylines to fit any reader’s preference, but all with a unifying theme of female empowerment.
Helena Rose specifically caught my eye for 3 reasons: (1) “An Intergalactic Fairytale” – Obviously I am in to that. Who wouldn’t be? (2) It’s a break from superheroes. 3 of the 4 other comics on this list are superhero tales, and that’s not for everyone. Sometimes you want to read about other characters with problems that don’t include supervillains bent on world domination. The storyline (this isn’t a spoiler – It’s the description on the back of the comic) “An alien prodigy must embark on an adventure through space to find a cure for her terminal illness.” (3) The artwork! Helena Rose is gorgeous! Each page looks like a perfect sketch filled in with watercolors. I want to frame it on my wall. Seriously, this one is worth checking out purely for the illustration.
What girl power comics are you reading? Let me know in the comments below… because I am always up for a new series to check out!!!
Love & Luck,