Graphic Novels for Girls

Very cool. I was never a big comic book reader, but I am a huge fan of Persepolis. And while the graphic novel marketers are obviously targeting teenage girls for one reason, they do seem to be respecting their intelligence:

Teenage girls, Ms. Berger said, are smart and sophisticated and “about more than going out with the cute guy. This line of books gives them something to read that honors that intelligence and assertiveness and that individuality.”

Comics by women for girls also break the “comic book babe” stereotype of the super-busty scantily-clothed illustrated woman.

The right creative team is important. “When you had mostly boys and men making comics, you had comics made mainly for boys and men,” said Johanna Draper Carlson, the editor of, a Web site for comic book news and reviews. “Then you end up with teen-girl superheroes who are drawn like Victoria’s Secret models.”

“I don’t think only women can write for women,” Ms. Carlson added, “but I think it helps provide an alternative perspective and a more true-to-life experience.” Ms. Carlson, who often champions female-friendly comics on her site, is taking a wait-and-see attitude to the Minx line.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Any self-identified comic book nerds wanna weigh in?

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50 comments for “Graphic Novels for Girls

  1. Michelle
    November 25, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    “Then you end up with teen-girl superheroes who are drawn like Victoria’s Secret models.”

    She’s evidently met the new Super Girl.

    I see Karen Berger’s name and I’m immediately interested. They seem to be using channels that would probably capture more preteens than teenage girls (Alloy and Delia’s, though marketed at teens aren’t exactly favored by them), but I think it’s a step in the right direction. At least it’s better than Marvel’s recent stab.

  2. A Pang
    November 25, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    Fledgling comic book nerd here.

    A friend already passed this on to me, highlighting this quote:

    One of Mr. Rugg’s previous comics was “Street Angel,” about a homeless teenage girl who fights crime, which he created with the writer Brian Maruca. Mr. Rugg, 29, called that comic, published by Slave Labor Graphics, his response to the typical depiction of women in mainstream comics, most particularly their impossibly proportioned bodies.

    “It’s the same for men,” he acknowledged. “But I don’t find that as offensive.”

    Very good of them to put that in. The only objection I’d make is that it’s not as offensive because it’s not the same for men; while it’s true that superheroes have unrealistic or at least unusual physiques, women characters are sexualized in a way that men aren’t.

    Anyway, I hope these new books do well.

  3. November 25, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Generally speaking, the good comics aren’t gender-neutral, gender-specific, or stereotypical–they’re just damn good. So if you dismiss the ghettoizing Irigaray pablum, there’s a lot of quality work out there. I’d start with some of the canonical works of demystification like Watchmen, which demands a familiarity with comic conventions, but only to deflate them. Then I’d move on to something else like Moore’s Swamp Thing, which doesn’t even play into gender dynamics…then there’s the Astonishing X-Men written by Joss Whedon, which appeal much in the same way that Buffy did, and also the The Runaways, which Whedon will be taking over shortly. I could go on…but if you want more recommendations, respond and/or email me. I don’t want to clutter the thread with my fandom.

  4. November 25, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    And by “ghettoizing Irigaray pablum,” I mean works aimed in a condescending fashion towards women, as if there’s some version of “quality” that’s exclusively masculine which must be supplemented by something inherently “feminine” to have mass-market appeal. I should shut up already, shouldn’t I?

  5. November 25, 2006 at 11:20 pm

    I say meh. I’ve been reading comic books all my life, and I’ve never read anything that was specifically aimed at me. I mean, it’s great that DC’s trying, it’s what we’ve all been hoping for, but that’s the wrong direction, in my opinion.

    Instead of making their main product female friendly (or rather, more female friendly, I enjoy most of their stuff as is) they’re creating a niche based on what they think women want. And that doesn’t really sit well with me at all.

  6. Cecily
    November 25, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    I second Mael. Encouraging teenage girls to read comic books is nifty, but plenty of teenage girls and grown women read comic books already.

    Personally, I’d rather see them fire or medicate Frank Miller, send a memo declaring rape-as-every-other-origin-story and female-depowering-every-sixth-title OVER, pay for some remedial anatomy classes, and give Stephanie Brown a memorial.

  7. mk
    November 25, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    Word. Why not acknowledge that women and girls are avid comics readers, find out what they like, and make more of it? Personally I grew up on Archie and Unca Scrooge, picked up on Strangers in Paradise years after I saw it all over my dad’s office floor, and still feel a little ill when I remember that I paid money to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. (Seriously, Alloy doesn’t get any points from me for that creative gem, nor for backing the best-publicized plagiarist my alma mater has seen since Dershowitz…)

  8. Galatea
    November 26, 2006 at 12:30 am

    Cecily and Mael hit the nail right on the head. Chicks already dig comics, they’d just dig comics more if females in comics weren’t consistently getting the short end of the stick.

    I dropped Green Lantern in disgust after yet another of Kyle Rayner’s girlfriends got killed. Mark Waid is on the record as saying the reason he held onto The Flash so long is because he didn’t want the next writer to kill Linda Park so that Wally could angst about for a bit. Plus, apparently the majority of superheroines in the biz are there because of epic trauma, not because of any higher motive or desire to help the world. It’d be nice if DC would fix -that- instead of making a whole new line.

    …But I also have a major negative knee-jerk response to those abominable Gossip Girls books. Uch.

    (PS: the most recent incarnation of Catwoman is great, and Young Avengers even includes practical costumes. Darwyn Cooke’s “New Frontier” is superhero comics for people who don’t read superhero comics, and “Lucifer,” by Mike Carey, is just all-around shiny.)

  9. Michelle
    November 26, 2006 at 12:55 am

    PS: Since we’re discussing comics, I thought you all might be interested in this if you haven’t heard of it yet.

  10. November 26, 2006 at 1:16 am

    I haven’t read an awful lot of comics, but one of my favorite works of art ever is a comic book series–Neil Gaiman’s Sandman–and part of that is because although the protagonist is male, girls get lots of airtime, and they’re pretty consistently written like real people, and drawn like them too. In fact, because of the somewhat unconventional nature of the story, there are large chunks of story arcs, or even entire story arcs, that focus entirely on female characters.

    It also features gay people and a transsexual character, also written like real people and refreshingly unstereotyped–I believe Gaiman won a GLAAD award for one of the story arcs.

    Anyway. In my opinion stereotypes are fairly often the result not so much of direct sexism/misogyny but of writing too lazy to bother to come up with something fresher than the sexist stereotypes people are familiar with, and the antidote thus is often just really good writing. Good writers don’t avoid stereotypes because they’re better people, they avoid them because they don’t need to rely on them to tell their stories.

  11. Ellie
    November 26, 2006 at 1:18 am

    I used to read a variety of X-titles when I was young (like, 9), and it wasn’t the boobage that got me to stop reading. It was the too-convoluted story arcs that totally screwed up the entire universe that put me off.

    It doesn’t have to be necessarily feminist-friendly or even realistically proportioned. If the story’s good and the art is at least decent, I’ll read it. If not, then no.

  12. Ivy
    November 26, 2006 at 1:40 am

    Personally, I get really tired of reading that girls supposedly don’t like superheroes. They ought to take a look at some of what teenage girls are already reading. Between young adult fantasy novels with female warriors and manga with “magical girl” characters with superpowers… well, teen girls obviously do like heroes if they’re done well. I worry from the description of these that they will be Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in comic form, when there’s a whole audience of teen girls out there who are reading Tamora Pierce and Fushigi Yugi and would really welcome well-done female superheroes in comics.

  13. November 26, 2006 at 2:28 am

    The children’s bookseller says: Wow – DC finally woke up and smelled Tokyopop’s profit’s. Color me slightly impressed for once. Maybe this means Marvel will bother to do some decent marketing for White Tiger once the trade hits bookstores (assuming it will in the first place).

    However, none of it sounds anywhere near as cool as Babymouse. I’m totally buying my niece a set when she’s old enough.

  14. Miranda
    November 26, 2006 at 4:10 am

    Scott Eric Kaufman, you’re right on the mark. I’d also recommend V for Vendetta, simply because I love Alan Moore. The Evey character is somewhat typical in the beginning, but she gets older and wiser.

    As Isabel said, Sandman is a good read. I’d also recommend the series that spun off of that called Death.

    Tank Girl is usually pretty great as well.

    Love and Rockets is sometimes good, but also sometimes weird and fetishy (eg the Luba character).

    By the way, I agree with the sentiment that I wish they’d change the way they write comics (maybe hire a few more female artists/writers as well), instead of creating “just for girls” comics.

  15. November 26, 2006 at 10:00 am

    I’m a huge comic book fan. I love Dykes to Watch Out For which just had its 500th episode, I love manga(w/ Nana, Parakiss, Kare Kano, Tramps Like Us being my favorites. I also like Fool’s Gold, although it’s an American manga), I like Sandman as well. There are plenty of great female comics artists like Colleen Doran, Lea Hernandez, Phoebe Glockner, the author of Blue Monday (and that’s not incluiding webcomic artists like Spike, the author of YU+ME, and so so much more) that yea, we don’t need a special line, we just need to have them publish the awesome women doing great work already.

  16. nona
    November 26, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    I can’t help but feel that DC wouldn’t have to go to all this trouble if they just took down the NO STINKY GIRLS sign on the superhero clubhouse. I love comics, but I’m getting tired of the way the comics industry (and an awful lot of male comics fans) assume that my boobs disqualify my from liking superheroes. Then, when the find out that’s not the case, they get all threatened because I know more about Batman then they do. It’s very depressing.

    Someone upthread linked to Girl-Wonder, but I’m doing it again because it’s a great site that more people should know about.

  17. elektrodot
    November 26, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    ive always been super bored with super hero comics. altho ill have to admit, the only reason id read one in the first place is if there was a hot lady on the front. not so much because shes hot but because there may be a woman somewhere in the story (which interests me far more than most male characters).

    ahh but theres sooo much more out there. if nobodies read “stray bullets” go and get it now! not only is it about a normal girl that has to deal with fucked up real life (drug addicts, creepy men, and being homeless), but its set in my hometown! (baltimore). the milkman murders is another good one about a woman who murders her family (much more to it than that but i wont give it away)
    i could go on…hah. but what im trying to say is comics dont fit one small (male) box anymore. i personally dont think theres a need to specifically target girls with girl comics…i certainly had no trouble finding awesome ones

  18. elektrodot
    November 26, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    also, like any other girl/woman, i dont read comics that just have to do with women and i think thats what the comic companies would get confused on. some gender neutral great ones include “maus” a story of a jewish mouse family that lived in nazi germany, and “eightball” which is just silly (written by a somewhat famous comic writer whose name i cant remember)

  19. nerdlet
    November 26, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    Okay, I’ve mostly read mainstream stuff. I really intend to check out Castle Waiting, though, anyone read it?

    Watchmen is an important comic book to read if you’re interested in comics history, but if we’re talking in terms of gender, I think it’s fine to start with Sandman.

    See, Moore seems interested in including a variety of female characters in his stories, and having them do real-life things. Plus gay characters! Plus gay female characters! And that’s great, because he rarely just does the one female character in an all-male setting, even in a setting like V for Vendetta where it’s all, hellooooo patriarchy.

    But they’re never actually, you know, competent except for a flicker here and there, and the two main female characters in Watchmen only exist for sex (and most of the others do too, come to think of it), so eh.

    Promethea, also by Moore, is an interesting exploration of gender. And by “interesting” I mostly mean “yeah, I get it, you really like the idea of young sexy women insisting that older slightly skeezy men fuck them, move on now.” Okay, that sentence doesn’t quite work, but neither does Promethea. (Though it is, in fact, gorgeous and one issue is the probably the most amazing use of graphic novel format I can think of.)

    X-Men’s got some great female characters, but it is a setting with a thousand crossovers, timelines, rewrites, and reincarnations. I did like the Whedon run.

    So, Sandman. I can’t find the Gaiman quote, but someone asked him how he writes such great female characters and he said “I think of women as human and go from there.” Or maybe that was someone else. On my second read through I noticed that yeah, the female characters don’t do quite as much as the male characters do (take note of the fact that Rose Walker NEVER DOES ANYTHING BASED ON HER OWN ABILITY and in fact FAILS AT EVERYTHING SHE TRIES), and there’s a lot of attempted/rape, and enough general gross stuff that it makes Gaiman’s other work (whoo boy, American Gods) look like a Little Nemo strip, but it’s still really good.

    Warren Ellis is obscene in pretty much every way, but aside from Transmetropolitan he has a long of strong female characters and he writes great dialogue. NextWave, currently running, is supremely goofy and fabulous. Transmet is a lot of fun, but again, so obscene he makes Sandman look like, well, Gaiman’s other work.

    (Not that Transmet is sexist or anything aside from there being a disproportionate amount of male characters, it’s just that the two female leads don’t get to do anything because they are paired with Spider Jerusalem and nobody of any gender can do anything when paired with Spider Jerusalem because Spider Jerusalem can do everything. And better than you. I think the woman he hires as his bodyguard gets maybe one fight scene, because Spider Jerusalem fights better than you.)

    “Preacher” is fascinating gender studies by way of Texas. Ennis has this twisted kind of chivalry that simply does not fit in with the universe he’s created. I can’t explain without spoilers, but, though I appreciate he takes violence against women seriously and doesn’t write it off as a joke even in such a brutal world, one of the consequences of that is that a major revelation about a main character is really, really stupid. However, the actual characters ring true and the dialogue is brilliant. It’s so brutal it makes Transmet look like Sandman, though.

    (Jesse Custer, like Spider Jerusalem, is kinda better than everyone at everything. But not quite.)

    Mark Millar and Frank Miller are pigs. I admit to being really curious about this, though. If anyone’s read it: does he manage to squeeze in some misogyny or racism there?

  20. Anna
    November 26, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    I’d just like to second the plug for Mike Carey’s Lucifer and add plugs for Runaways, Bone and Leave it to Chance as reasonably good books to give young girls.

  21. syfr
    November 26, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    I started with shoujo when a friend of mine forced me to watch the 13 episodes of The Legend of Basara which were made. I read and collect a few series.

    I’m not really interested in Marvel or DC superhero comics. There’s too much backstory, to many things to read and remember, who did what to whom 15 years ago, and I am just not interested in investing that type of effort.

    The manga I read tend to be individual lines, anywhere from one-offs to 27 books in length, but self contained, and presupposing no knowledge on my part. My biggest problem is a tight budget, and my inability to not want an entire series at a time.

  22. November 26, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    I agree with the effort part. I just want to go, read a story with nice pictures and get on with life. I don’t want to argue on message boards about what is real canon and what isn’t.

  23. Miranda
    November 26, 2006 at 8:46 pm


    you’re thinking of Daniel Klaus (although I’ve probably butchered the spelling). He’s mostly known for Ghost World. I like that and Eightball, but some of the stuff he says (especially in the art school strip) is very not-woman friendly. I think he was a little bit more fair/realistic in Ghost World, but not much.

  24. mythago
    November 26, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    Wonder if Marvel’s CEO, who bloviated about how gosh, they’d love to stop boobie comics but 99% of their audience is male, will wake up.

    It’s really not that difficult–they just need to stop aiming comics at an audience that reads comic books one-handed, and women will buy more of them. Unfortunately, too many artists and writers feel that their creativity is castrated if they can’t write and draw about women whose primary attribute is their fuckability.

  25. Miranda
    November 26, 2006 at 8:51 pm


    I can see your point about Moore. However, I think that V for Vendetta is a solid recommendation. I’m trying not to give any important details away for those interested, so it is hard to explain why. I’m thinking mostly about the characters Rose and Evey towards the end. They play very essential roles in the plotline. Also, although she’s not actually a part of the plot, Valerie is a very strong character.

  26. November 26, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Miranda, you’re thinking of Daniel Clowes, whose David Boring outstrips Ghost World anyway. But what I’m really excited about, comics-wise, is Buffy: Season 8. This genre- and medium-leaping Whedon’s doing is somewhat unprecedented, and really speaks to the (potential) maturity of the comics audience. (That is, if you thought Buffy a decent show, which I did and then some.)

    I also want to second (third?) the recommendation of Love and Rockets. Yes, the Luba character’s an offensive caricature, but only in the way that all the characters in Hernandez books are designed to defamiliarize comic conventions. So over-the-top that “camp” barely covers it, I’d say. (But I could, in this as in all things, be completely off-base.)

    As for nerdlet’s account of Warren Ellis, well, I can’t argue with it. Spider Robinson (a.k.a. Hunter S. Thompson in the Year 3000) is intentionally grating, and the rest of his characters are, shall we say, difficult to like. But there’s a difference between misogyny and misanthropy, and Ellis certainly tends to the latter.

  27. November 26, 2006 at 11:14 pm

    I agree that the bodies on female superheroes are, to say the least, unlikely, but if you are looking for reality when it comes to looks in either gender, you will be sorely disappointed. The figures are steriotypical perfect ‘athlete’ bodies always idealized in the eye of the artist. Also yes I agree that mainstream comics (marvel and DC) do not give enough attention to realistic females when it comes to looks, however they are by no means opposed to strong women and for the most part do not simply relegate them to fucktoy status. Jean Gray, the Phoenix is the most powerful mutant in existance, Emma Frost or the White Queen is now the headmistress of the Xavier School for Mutants and leads the X-men, She-Hulk is lawyer as well as being a mainstay in the Avengers, Batgirl, Huntress, Oracle the original batgirl who is now a paraplegic and runs the intelligence network for Gothams heroes, Wonder Girl (especially the current one), Raven, and K’ori are all well developed multi faceted chracters with their own backstories, enemies, and personalities. Personal favorite that focus on women would be, the Luna brothers 7 issure release Ultra, a great story and their first release. a great story about the ‘behind the scene’s’ aspect of being a super hero. NYX written by the current editor of marvel Joe Queseda. This comic was the first one I ever purchased, the art is beautiful with fairly realistic if stylised figure drawing. The story is amazing because of the women in it. It focus’s almot entirely on a very small group of women and their mutant powers manifesting (which for those non-comic book geeks usually occurs around puberty when a traumatic event happens). If you haven’t read it I recommend it HIGHLY. Independant comics have variety of positve female role models, my current favorite being Snakewoman a Virgin comics release that is a retelling of an ancient Indian myth with very powerful story.
    One last thought, Japanes comics, (manga) have some wonderful strong female characters as a few other people have mentioned. A great artist/author is Rumiko Takahashi (she also happens to be one of the most successful female manga artists in Japan) who does such great stories as Ranma 1/2 and the extremely popular thanks to adult swim Inu Yasha. Another favorite with strong female characters is Revolutionary Girl Utena, that one crosses all kinds of wonderful lines including transgender, homosexuality, death, growing up, love and life.

  28. Neil C.
    November 27, 2006 at 1:50 am

    Birds of Prey, which features female characters, is worth reading from DC. It’s written by Gail Simone, who isn’t just a good ‘female’ writer, but a good writer period (pick up her Secret Six miniseries for some fun, twisted times). The X-Men, when Chris Claremont wrote them always had powerful women, but it seems he had a particular fetish about that, allegedly.

  29. November 27, 2006 at 2:29 am

    The figures are steriotypical perfect ‘athlete’ bodies always idealized in the eye of the artist.


    The men are often bodybuilders – taken to the extreme – while the women are often models – taken to the extreme. I’d hardly call the majority of female characters in comics “athletic” – at least in terms of how they are drawn.

  30. nerdlet
    November 27, 2006 at 3:13 am

    Miranda: Yeah, I can’t hear the Valerie monologue without tearing up. (Okay. Hell. Crying.) But Evey was just so very dumb up until the end. Yes, she’s probably asking questions for the reader, but I *know* Moore is smart enough that he doesn’t need to present things in that way, so she still just seems dumb. (But she’s still better than she was in the movie.) Rose was interesting, though I took issue with certain parts of her character.

    Scott: Oh, I love Ellis characters. Love ’em. In particular, I think he manages to write bitchy female characters in a way few male writers can. They’re not sassy chicks, they’re not nasty women who just need a good cry, they’re just snarly and funny, just like the male characters, and that’s a-ok. I generally find his characters likable enough, but maybe I’m thinking of genuinely unlikeable characters to contrast them with. Dear god, the personalities of the characters under Ellis-written Authority compared to the exact same characters under Millar-penned Authority…

    And oh god Buffy season 8 oh god please let it be good oh god. The Angel post s5 comics have been a huge dumb disappointment.

  31. nerdlet
    November 27, 2006 at 3:16 am

    Oh, Utena the tv series is awesome, but I could never get into the manga. Not pink enough.

  32. Miranda
    November 27, 2006 at 4:05 am

    Scott, thank you for correcting my spelling. I knew I’d butchered it pretty badly.


    The thing that you have to keep in mind about the Evey character is that she is a 16 year old orphan who has been brought up in a social situation where independent thinking is discouraged. She’s dumb as bricks, essentially. But as the story goes on, she is shown reading, understanding, challenging. At the end it’s her choice and her will which decides things.

    I have issues with Rose’s character as well, but my point was that she plays an essential role in the plot, something that female characters are usually denied.

  33. November 27, 2006 at 8:23 am


    I agree that there are plenty of very strong female superheroes, but if you can name ten mainstream female superheroes that are regularly *depicted* as subjects as opposed to back-arching, crotch-exposing eye-candy objects, I’ll be very surprised (and want to know the artists, so I can support them!). For a take on the “athletic” disclaimer that is often used as a defence for unrealistic bodies in comics, I’m going to self-plug a somewhat tongue-in-cheek paper I co-wrote on the comparative Body Mass Index of Marvel male and female characters, and the subsequent column.

    Back on topic – I have some reservations over the Minx line (like… “Minx”? Really?) but Karen Berger is someone in the industry to whom I pay a lot of attention, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the books are like.

  34. elektrodot
    November 27, 2006 at 8:49 am

    i thought the “art school girls” strip in eight ball was funny. it wasnt super woman friendly, yes, but i didnt think it made the pathetic art dudes and horny art teacher look particuarly good either.

    everyone read “stray bullets” now! amazing!

    also has anyone read “y-the last man”? thats probably the most woman friendly comic ever hahah

  35. Neil C.
    November 27, 2006 at 9:54 am

    At least Buffy Season 8 will be written by Joss (for the first arc) and overseen by him, so that should make it better. It’ll be interesting to see his take on Wonder Woman. Now if he could only do a sequel to Firefly…..

  36. Rhiannon
    November 27, 2006 at 11:30 am

    I used to read a variety of X-titles when I was young (like, 9), and it wasn’t the boobage that got me to stop reading. It was the too-convoluted story arcs that totally screwed up the entire universe that put me off

    EXACTLY! How many comics did they really think a teen comic geek could buy in a month anyhow? I really liked the cartoon (the first one) as a teen but it was fairly different from the comic and never really went anywhere and then the new one seemed kind of okay (not as good as the first) but again, had nothing to do with any of the story lines I’d read or even the first cartoon series… sigh.. It’s like they were always roleplaying with the characters and reusing them but never deciding on a campaign.. er.. storyline.

  37. Neil C.
    November 27, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    Where were you comic-loving women when I was growing up? :) Though I can’t complain, the wife is a sports fan among her other great attributes (mainly putting up with me!).

  38. November 27, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    The men are often bodybuilders – taken to the extreme – while the women are often models – taken to the extreme. I’d hardly call the majority of female characters in comics “athletic” – at least in terms of how they are drawn.

    I agree that they aren’t really athletic looking when it comes to reality, but the bodies that are portrayed are similar to women you see on fitness magazines as opposed to fashion models. I think that was what I meant rather than saying they were athletic firgures. It really comes down to the artist from what I have seen. Some are more prone to the big-boobs-small-waist style than others but there are a few who can pull it off. Salvador Larroca can (when he wants to, it doesn’t always happen sadly) draw some of the most beautiful realistic figure’s I’ve ever seen in comics regardless of their gender.

    ten mainstream female superheroes that are regularly *depicted* as subjects as opposed to back-arching, crotch-exposing eye-candy objects

    Okay, in my personal reading and I’m not basing simply on outfits here, I’m talking about their contributions to the comic storyline, Emma Frost the White Queen, Storm, Jean Gray the Phoenix, Rogue from Xmen, K’oriander Starfire, Wonder Girl and Raven in the most current release of Teen Titans, Wasp from the Ultimate Avengers, She-Hulk from She-Hulk, Catwoman as done by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Honestly it was hard not to just make a list of 10 xwomen! X-titles are my favorite when it comes to Marvel, because of how many strong women they portray. The Xmen and Teen Titans authors change sometimes on an issue to issue basis, but I have enjoyed the last two years or so.

  39. nerdlet
    November 27, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    also has anyone read “y-the last man”? thats probably the most woman friendly comic ever hahah

    I found it to be somewhat sexist, and I do believe I’ve ranted here and elsewhere about why.

    Neil C: Oh good. It’s just that the Buffy comics I read were bad, but I have issues with comicizations of tv shows anyway, largely because nobody ever draws the characters to actually look like the characters.

  40. nerdlet
    November 27, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    The thing that you have to keep in mind about the Evey character is that she is a 16 year old orphan who has been brought up in a social situation where independent thinking is discouraged. She’s dumb as bricks, essentially. But as the story goes on, she is shown reading, understanding, challenging. At the end it’s her choice and her will which decides things.

    Hmm. It seemed a little too extreme to be on purpose, but maybe it is. I often have trouble judging Moore’s intent. In Promethea, for example, is he just riffing on the male-magic-is-active female-magic-receives traditional ideas of femininity, or does he really think that’s great for a magic system, or (as I’ve heard) does he actually believe all that stuff because it’s his personal religion? Are the Prometheas written by male characters meant to be a take on how men idealize women, or are they, well, just like that just because? Is the transgendered Promethea really meant to take partial blame for his death (I say his because I believe the character was portrayed as a gay man who used the Promethea avatar to be with a straight man), or did he just say that because of the era he was raised in? Whoo-ee.

  41. November 27, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    She-Hulk’s been mentioned a few times.

    I also have to throw Power Girl into the ring…

    The fact that there is a huge focus on her boobs is a point of constant joking.

    Her story is actually really cool, and a little sad. And, *gasp* her latest incarnation was drawn by a woman.

    (Namely, Amanda Conner, one of the coolest and sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.)

    There are a lot of really smart, well-written women in comics, you just have to know where to look for them. Yes, it’s sad they don’t all have their own series, or are as high-profile as Batman or Supes, but they are there.

  42. elektrodot
    November 27, 2006 at 2:46 pm


    yea i know, theres alot of shit that bothers me about that comic. i was just being silly

    and koneko,
    thanks for reminding me of emma frost! i freakin love her comics but completely forgot about them

  43. lizvelrene
    November 27, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    I made a few listmanias at Amazon that seem applicable:

    A Girl’s Guide to Graphic Novels:

    Another Girl’s Guide to Graphic Novels:

    Women Who Make Comics

    And just to prove I’m a total geek:
    A Girl’s Guide to Anime

    All a few years out of date unfortunately, but still has most of my favorite stuff.

  44. November 27, 2006 at 5:36 pm


    I’m not disputing that there are excellent, strong female characters. That’s one of the reasons I read and love so many superhero comics.

    What I was saying was that if you can name me 10 of these mainstream women who are regularly not visually depicted as sexual objects by default – and I’m not solely referring to the costumes either, but to positioning, facial expression, poses, and the number of times a female character’s butt appears to be talking – I would be surprised. Not a single one of the characters you listed, sadly, would get onto that list.

  45. Neil C.
    November 27, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    From Rich Johnston’s column at Comic Book Resourses:

    In the New York Times over the weekend, DC Comics announced their new female-friendly comics line, “Minx.” It’s an interesting choice to name the new line. Checking the definition, I found a number of definitions, including the more modern “a pert, impudent, or flirtatious girl” as well as the less modern “a seductive woman who uses her sex appeal to exploit men.” Certainly, the name is meant to raise attention, regardless the definition.

    And congrats to LITG-favourite, Andi Watson, whose pitched-in-2003 comic “Clubbing,” a London-based mystery set in and around nightclubs, drawn by Josh (“Dead@17”) Howard is to be published next year. Four years folks, that’s the current length of the pipeline.

    I’ve also been made aware that Marvel are actively looking to create female-friendly titles for next year and are actively seeking out female talent. Could 2007 be the Comics Year Of The Woman In Comics? Or rather The Year That Marvel And DC Rediscovered That Women Have Money, Too?

    The timing of the announcement is unfortunate for DC, as it occurs the weekend after Valarie D’Orazio’s posted her blog “Goodbye To Comics” which continues to cause hushed discussion in the hallways at DC Comics. It’s also spawned considerable discussion in online forums, both with readers expressing considerable support and sympathy for Valarie with concern about her treatment, but also those who’ve noted the inherent bias in her writing as it comes from a disgruntled former employee.

    It may be easy to dismiss this kind of report as a one off or just the perspective one flawed person, but when compared to the experiences and observations of Joe Illidge, Elizabeth Vincentelli, LA Williams, Johanna Draper Carlson and others not quite so linkable, questions are certainly raised.

    Regardless, it’s clear that despite some advances within the comics industry, it’s still a very difficult career for women to work in, coming up against institutionalized sexism. But, as the industry expands with more and more book publishers joining the original graphic novel arena, the future looks brighter — albeit maybe only slightly — for women.

    Because it’s not just the comics that need to be more female friendly.

  46. Neil C.
    November 27, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Resources of course, bad editor I am!

  47. November 27, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    In that article I linked to upthread, Whedon mentions that the Angel comics aren’t canonical, whereas these Buffy ones will be. Presumably, that’s a quality-control vs. copyright issue, and with Whedon scripting the entire Buffy: Season 8 and writing the first arc, I’m not worried about quality.

  48. coming storm
    November 27, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    There are lots of indie comics that avoid Comic Cook Cabe syndrome, and some are suitable for kids who have outgrown the “Power Puff Girls”…

    I can recommend almost anything by Chynna Clugston-Major. “Blue Monday”, in particular. She did some of the art of “Hopeless Savages” which I also recommend.

    “Little Scrowlie”, by Todd Meister and Jennifer Feinberg. Peculiar enough to defy brief description.

    “Finder”, by Carla Speed McNeill. My favorite comic *ever* — real anthropological science fiction in comic form. Available online at

    “Girl Genius”, by Phil Foglio. Also available online, at

  49. November 27, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    Finder looks incredible, coming storm, but I can’t tell where it starts. (Don’t let anyone ever tell you I’m not an idiot, because I really, really am.)

  50. coming storm
    November 28, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    >Finder […] can’t tell where it starts

    Only select bits are available online on the website: the one she’s working on now, the last full trade paperback, and the first chapters of some of the back stories (which seems pretty reasonable, considering). If you wish more, hie you to a comic book store 8^)

    It used to come out in (quasi-)monthly comic form, but it has fallen back on trade paperbacks only. The “trades” section of the front page has blurbs for all the trade paperbacks.

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