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Your Recommendations

I know the issues (to put it very mildly) of Marvel Divas have been well-documented and I've enjoyed reading the excellent discussion that's been going on. But I've been left with a question that I wanted to pose to you all. 

Personally, I like to support positive, well-executed minority-featured comics be they about female, POC, LGBT protagonists or whomever.

So my question to you fine folks is what excellent female-oriented or "girl powered" comic would you recommend for comic book fans?  Which series and/or storytellers are doing it right?

I know Gail Simone has been mentioned and I'm a huge fan of her work. I especially enjoyed her run on Birds of Prey. I was also a huge fan of Batgirl (Cassandra Cain). Any other recommendations?

There might be some true gems out there that some of us may have missed and would love to check out, especially considering that some of us are going to the comic book store later today.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Greg Rucka on Detective Comics - featuring Batwoman and a backup feature with the Question. The main story has some of the best female superhero art I've seen in a long time - tough and sexy without stopping for a distorted pin-up pose every five panels. Actually, just about everything Greg Rucka writes has terrific female characters.

I enjoyed "White Tiger" by Tamora Pierce and Jeff Liebe - it's about the new White Tiger (Angela Del Toro) leaving her previous FBI job and finding her place in the superhero world - so that's a good one if you like origin stories and it's out in trade.
Jul. 11th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
I picked up Batwoman last week and I was very pleased with it.

Thanks for the tip about White Tiger, I'll check that out.
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
oooh I'll vote for White Tiger too. It's great. I picked it up as a Tamora Pierce fan, and really enjoyed it.
Jul. 18th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Love the icon.
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Rucka writes really good women. His Barbara Gordon is a force to be reckoned with. I also found, after reading the novelization of No Man's Land, he does a great Renee Montoya and Harley Quinn.
Jul. 14th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
Well, anyone who read Gotham Central or 52 knows he does a great Renee.
Jul. 22nd, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
What did you think of the novelization of No Man's Land?
Jul. 22nd, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
I freakin' loved it. So many good parts.
From Huntress' watch to Babs' frustration about Bats' OK'ing Huntress being Batgirl to Babs and Cass communicating (Also Babs coming up with the name Cassandra) to the hilariously demented interactions between Joker and Harley and the tragically sad interactions between Sarah and Jim and Harvey and Renee. Loved it all.

Have you read it?
Jul. 29th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Nope; I just saw it in my library and wondered if it was worth a shot. You make it sound like it is - I think I'll go pick it up when I'm there next.
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
Gail did a mini of Rose & Thorn that was brilliant. I also quite enjoyed the first issue of Paul Dini's Gotham Sirens; it was literally the antithesis of Marvel Divas #1. XD Terry Moore's Echo is also great.

My three favourites, though...

Although Joss Whedon and Terry Moore (I think both of them need to stick to creator-owned projects from now on really) totally murdered a lot of what was good about Runaways, before them Brian K Vaughan and Adrian Alphona did amazing things with their series. They're led by an Asian-American girl, and feature or have featured a lesbian alien, a skrull who is technically male but identifies as a female, an overweight girl (gasp! in a comic?), a ten year old mutant girl who has thrown Wolverine through walls, and more at that. Currently, the team's girls outweigh the boys two to one, and in fact there have always been more girls in Runaways than guys. To make it even better, the new creative team is all female - Kathryn Immonen writing, Sara Pichelli on art and the lovely Christina Strain on colours - and it's proving so far to be absolutely awesome.

The other is The Sword. It's an Image title, Luna Brothers, and while a lot of people I think have seen the very concept of Girls and just written them off, they are actually a pair of fascinating, compelling storytellers. I read Girls and fell in love with it, and The Sword is even better. It's about a paraplegic girl called Dara Brighton whose entire family is suddenly slaughtered one night by three superpowered beings who call her father Demetrios and demand from him "the sword". The only survivor of their onslaught, Dara finds herself covered in rubble, out of her chair, and she comes across the sword that they'd mentioned. When she picks it up, she finds that she can walk again, for good. Invulnerable now, and armed with the only thing that can kill these beings, Dara looks for revenge. It's a fantastic story about a normal girl consumed by rage and determination. She's a real, genuine character and a fantastic lead. (Also, if you end up liking the Luna bros., their "Ultra: Seven Days" is also great, with a strong female cast.)

The other one I love is Black Summer by Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp. This one isn't so much just girls as it is a strong ensemble cast made up of both women and men, with a pretty equal bias towards both sexes. It reminds me of Watchmen (only with a stronger female base) in that the plot revolves around a group of retired superheroes who are forced to defend themselves when one of their members assassinates the President of the US. Warren Ellis wrote Black Summer with the idea in mind that superheroes do what is "right", and the question of what happens when their idea of right contrasts with the public idea of right. In the case of Black Summer, the assassin disagrees with the war in Iraq and holds the opinion that killing the president will halt the war. However, the comic focuses more on the fallout and the other characters (two men and three women) having to deal with it.

I'm looking forward to hearing what others have to say. I have a soft spot for strong girls. :D
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Seconding Runaways. (Especially BKV's run.)
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thirding Runaways, but I've managed to enjoy all the runs done so-far.

Other recomendations I can think off...

Well, I go by authors rather than characters (as best illustrated by the previously mentioned White Tiger. Mini is good, but don't look for good things to have happened to her after that mini), due in part to Cassandra Cain.

Gail Simone's "Welcome to Tranquility" (Wildstorm imprint) is a fun series to go with (and I'm enjoying her run on Wonder Woman), and her Birds of Prey needs to be mentioned multiple times. Because it's that good. It's about a sort-of retirement community for Super heroes/villains and the sherif who keeps it under control. Collected in two trades.

The latest Manhunter series is a good one to pick up, as heroines who are not afraid of lethal force are rare--especially when they are the protagonists.

Alan Moore's "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" really stars Mina Murray (nee Harker). This is especially evident in the first volume.

Joss Whedon's "Fray" also needs mentioning. I have a love/hate relationship with Season 8 so far, so I'll have to get back to you on that one ;)

"Street Angel" is Nextwave-style fun with a non-sexualized heroine in the lead. How can a comic have a lead heroine who isn't sexualized? Simple, she's Twelve. Explaining this series is like trying to explain The Middleman--it must be experienced, and it's being made into an indy movie so keep an eye out for it.

The three volumes of the "Courtney Crumrin" Series are definitly worth a pick up. An urban fantasy with a 12 year old intelligent yet antisocial girl who despite learning of the supernatural, finds out that people are more often worse than the monsters. Dark, spooky and awesome.
Jul. 11th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
Fourthing on Runaways, and seconding Black Summer.
May. 18th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
seconding Girls.
I'm reading The Sword. hope it's as good as you said
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Echo by Terry Moore is very different from SiP and it starts a very real female character. I loved SiP, but it's not superheroes, so it might not be for you (Still, main character was a lesbian, and a lot of the series revolve around the issue of sexual identity and self-worth)

(Deleted comment)
Jul. 18th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
(apologies for the late reply, work and all)

i think a buddy and i watched the dvd of girl genius and we were disappointed by the art work and concept.

wait, actually, i think i'm mixing girl genius up with another series.
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Ed Brubaker's Catwoman run is pretty amazing. It's Brubaker doing his noir thing, only with Catwoman, and there's some nice sexual tension between her and Slam Bradley.
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Do they have back-issue bins?

The original Amethyst mini-series from around 1983 is worth looking for. I don't think it's ever been collected in book form. (At least, all Amazon has for sale are the comics.)

Not a lot of pretenses, just a fun story about a girl whose "average" in our world but a Princess in another dimension, fighting villains for control of a magical kingdom. There's a nice cross-section of female characters, too. So it's not just one girl who gets to be heroic.

When it came back as a regular series later on, it was good for several issues and then just went off the rails. The heroine's adopted family had all this melodrama and so on. Then Original Crisis-O-Rama hit and the heroine was blinded and started hanging out with Dr. Fate and... [headdesk]

But those early issues are well worth having, if your store doesn't charge an arm and a leg for old stuff.
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
Firstly I just want to say thank you for bringin this up! I am always on the look out for strong, positive female characters in comic books because I get so sick of frequent fridging.

Secondly, I am enjoying the new Power Girl series, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gary. Despite that fact that Peej could easily be written as a superpowered bimbo she is snarky and clever. I loved her dismissal of a mad scientist out of her office. Obviously, it being Peej, her boobs are incredibly large and she seems well aware of this and willing to use it to her advantage without becoming sleazy. Plus the art by Amanda Conner is amazing.
Jul. 13th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
I definitely liked the first issue of Power Girl; she was both competent at superheroing and thinking beyond that in terms of useful things to do.
Jul. 18th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
My pleasure. After the controversy over Marvel Divas, I just kept thinking how can we make something positive out of all of this.
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Shoot, I had a list of these on my hard drive somewhere, and I can't find it. Off the top of my head:

Humm. 'Promethea' is one of my favourite comics ever, and also one of those comics I generally shove in the hands of those of my friends who insist that all comic books are a)for boys and men, b)about boys and men, and c)only feature women as objectified tropes whose personality is defined by the size of their breasts. 'Promethea' features a large cast of girls and women with varying, believable personalities, has killer art and wonderful, wonderful writing and is both funny, touching and erotic at times. It's Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III and Mick Gray are behind this treat. Futuristic Sci-Fi/Fantasy, immersive like whoah.

Also by Alan Moore: 'The Ballad of Halo Jones'. The B&W art is dynamic, Halo's story and character development is subtle and not over-explained by the writing but shown through the art, and the ending still leaves me a bit misty. (If you've not had enough Moore recommendations by this point, pick up 'Lost Girls' - porn as it should be done: erotic and beautiful.)

Jaime Hernandez: 'Locas' from 'Love and Rockets' - early California punk scene, Latina girl power and strong female lead characters. It was collected into a single volume in 04, I think, definitely worth picking up.

'Rapunzel's Revenge' is also good, and I believe I've seen praise for it on both S_D and here.
Jul. 11th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Violently seconding Halo Jones. I first read it like ten or fifteen years ago and every single time I've reread it since I've loved it more and more.
Jul. 11th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
God I had a crush on Halo Jones when I was little, she was just amazing, so yeah, I'd second both that and Promethea.
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
The first one that pops to mind is Jaime Hernandez. His bits of Love & Rockets (also known as Locas) stuff is absolutely amazing. So if you want good depictions of females of all ages, mexicans in generals and the problems with having an aunt that is a legendary female pro wrestler this is a good place to go. I always preferred him to his brother.

Jeff Smith's Bone is also good, Rose and grandma Ben are interesting characters that have a strong part in the book, if not being the title character.

*looks in bookshelf* damn, now that you mention it, comics like these are seriously lacking in my bookshelf too. I think I need to read these recommendations myself.

EDIT: I also second the Ballad of Halo Jones, one of Moore's best work.

And if someone wants to go deeply into the back issue bins of odd comics I remember that Atari Force had a really interesting female lead, but I haven't reread it in decades.

Edited at 2009-07-11 03:23 pm (UTC)
Jul. 11th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Dart and her Mom ([i] Atari Force [/i]) had a remarkably complex relationship for what was supposed to be a toy-promo kiddie book.
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
Omg I love Castle Waiting. It's about... generally kickass fairytale-esque things and an awesome princess who runs away from her abusive husband to an amazing castle sanctuary thing and makes all kinds of nifty fairytale-ish friends and ffff. It has a few race issues that ick me a bit though, as in everyone is white except some gypsies and all they do is STEAL THINGS :| They are in a pretty small part and I enjoy it a lot despite that but yeah if that sort of thing bothers you too much you might want to skip the very beginning of it. Or just that chapter. OTHERWISE THOUGH IT'S FUCKING ACE. Not superhero-y, but very adventuresome and storybooky.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 11th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
More seconding, actually Manhunter is the second thing that sprung to mind, after BOP.

Also, it's not superheroes, but Ross Campbell's Wet Moon is awesome - girls of different sizes, shapes, ethnicities and tastes, acting like real friends and enemies, in a very gothic world. The art is beatiful, it tends to the cheesecake, and the grotesque (one armed girl who takes pin-up shots of herself covered in mud and leaves for example) but also very realistic, the parallel scenes of Cleo and Myrtle looking at themselves in the mirror always make me tear up a bit.
Jul. 18th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
LOL! I'm loving this post too. And yes I need to resume reading Y: The Last Man.
Jul. 11th, 2009 11:03 pm (UTC)
I'd like to put fifth or sixth or whatever the FANTASTIC Runaways by BKV and Adrian Alphona. Amazing writing and art, and definitely worth whatever they charge you.

Manhunter is what got me into DC Comics, so I may be a tad biased, but dude. good.

Air, a new series by Vertigo, is very fresh and unique. It's not a superhero comic, but it's worth checking out.
Jul. 12th, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
I've always loved DeFalco's Spider-Girl, currently appearing in Amazing Spider-Man Family.

Also, Peter David's Fallen Angel is great, back from hiatus this month.
Jul. 21st, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Something that just occurred to me recently: Yoko Tsuno is someone you might want to check out if you can. Although I haven't read any of her stories, they do sound interesting. Yoko is Japanese, an electrical engineer, and has "adventures that cross the border between fantasy and science fiction" according to her page at cinebook.co.uk. Her series was originally in French, but a few of the books have been translated into English.
Jul. 21st, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, and the current arc of Madame Xanadu portrays her in a lesbian relationship. It doesn't look like it's going to end very well (at least in my opinion) but the overarching story is interesting and I like the art. bluefall did a recap of the last two issues at s_d 2.0 earlier today, if you haven't seen them yet.
Jan. 4th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
I don't know why I didn't mention this before, but Minx books. Totally great.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )


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