By Mary Rockcastle – When I stomp into my local comic store in my two-inch heels every Wednesday morning after my first class, the employees at the Forbidden Planet in Union Square know what to expect from me. My interests lie almost exclusively in female produced or girl-centric comics.
Let me tell you, now is the time to be reading comics if you’re interested in exciting lady stories. Even DC Comics, who are notorious for their lack of lady stuff, are producing crazy engaging books for women and girls as of late. My shelves are piled high with new issues so I thought I’d share a few of my recommendations with you for current comic runs and self contained graphic novels starring awesome women.
Adventure Time: Bitter Sweets Written by Kate Leth, Illustrated by Zachary Sterling
I figured I’d start at the most PG rated titles and work my way up to the mature content, but just because you can find this book in the kid’s section doesn’t mean it’s immature. Kate Leth is my icon, muse, and hero, and after her first self-contained Adventure Time novel Seeing Red hit the New York Times Best Seller mark, her second book was sure to be a delight. Leth, who is an outspoken queer feminist activist, writes a friendship based adventure tale about the science-y smart Princess Bubblegum and her Peppermint Butler. Sterling’s art, which I’ve mooned over for years, is a perfect fit for this action packed all ages comic.
Lumberjanes Written by Grace Ellis & Nicole Stevenson, Illustrated by Brooke Allen
This comic is dripping in girl power, and I absolutely love it. From the all girl team of writers, illustrators, and letterers, to the kick-butt mystery solving team of best friends the comic revolves around, this series has it all. Launched by BOOM! Comics, Lunberjanes is aimed at fans who have graduated from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and are ready to see more girls solve mysteries and fight monsters. The eighth issue just hit the shelves yesterday, so run out and grab this treat!
Gotham Academy Written by Brandon Fletcher & Becky Cloonan, Illustrated by Karl Kerschl
Gotham Academy is one of those comics I shove into everyone’s face who wants a recommendation for a new current run. Only on its second issue, the characters manage to capture you in a thick but exciting plot, and the art is so beautiful you have to stop and inspect every page. With a dream team like Fletcher and Cloonan, you really can’t go wrong. The comic’s female protagonist is relatable but mysterious and you’ll surely be aching to find out what’s afoot in this spooky school.
Written by Brandon Fletcher and Cameron Stewart, Illustrated by Babs Tarr
If you haven’t been living under a comic book rock for the past three months, you’ve certainly heard, or maybe just seen fan art of, the Batgirl #35 reboot. Let me just say that the first two issues live up to every expectation and more. Hands down my favorite comic at the moment, Babs breaks the comic world over her knee like a twig with her first narrative work. The illustrations are so beautiful you have to stop for several minutes to take it all in before you finally turn the page. The story is delightful and honest in its portrayal of much loved Barbara Gordan. I cannot recommend this title enough. Seriously. If you’re not reading this you’re messing up.
Written by Scott Snyder, Illustrated by Jock
Only on its second issue, Wytches is easily the scariest comic I’ve read since Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods. Yeah, I’ll be honest with you: I was bummed when the comic didn’t turn out to be about your typical girl power witches with pointy hats and vendettas against men who had scorned them. Instead Snyder delivers a terrifyingly gruesome tale staring a young female protagonist who witnessed her tormenter be murdered, and now has a debt to pay. Definitely recommend this title to readers with strong stomachs and a taste for something super creepy.
Lead image from Batgirl #36
About the contributor
I’m an illustrator and Crafty Lady living in Brooklyn. I like petting people’s dogs, feminist activism, and the smell of laundry.