A recent study has shown that 53% of comic book readers are women! How fantastic is that?
That means that for every male that reads a comic, there’s a female who’s also thumbing through a book or two. Yet, the comic landscape is still predominantly male-heavy. But the good news is that there have been a ton of awesome female-fronted comic book series that have come out within the last few years.
To celebrate these new strides in both comic book readership and development, here’s a round-up of all of the best female-fronted comic book series we’re reading right now and why you should pick up copies for yourself!
So, you know those drawings and figures of DC’s female characters as pin-up girls circa the 1940s that are absolutely gorgeous? There’s now a series based off of those! Essentially, DC Bombshells follows an alternate history where all of the DC ladies are on the front lines of World War II, shaping history. Only two issues have come out at this point, but the series is fantastic so far. It’s written by Marguerite Bennett, who also happens to be penning the A-Force series over at Marvel, and each issue is chock full of fantastic artwork. DC Bombshells is not to be missed, even if you’ve never really been a DC fan in the past.
We’re not going to stop raving about the amazing Ms. Marvel until everyone picks up a copy. This series (at least, the first trade paperback) made our best books of 2014 list last year and has only gotten better. Each issue is stronger and more entertaining than the last, with Kamala learning more about herself and gaining self-confidence. (And then there are the pretty great cameos that happen from time to time…) Whether you’re a seasoned comic book-reading veteran or new to the world of comics, Ms. Marvel is a stand out title that you need to pick up. You won’t be sorry that you did.
We can’t say enough good things about Lumberjanes. Truly. It’s jam-packed with adventure, silliness, phrases like “Friendship to the max!”, and a whole bunch of girl power. Each of the characters in the series is relatable and yet different from any characters you’ve ever come across before. While the series is ongoing (with issue #18 coming out this week), the Lumberjanes vol. 2 trade paperback comes out in early October, so catching up won’t be a problem for you. Plus, with a movie adaptation of the series on the way, there’s no better time to jump into Lumberjanes!
Update: This one happened!
Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, is a name you really should know. Not only is she getting her very own standalone movie in a few years (the first of all the kick-ass Marvel ladies), but she has also been having a fantastic comic run over the last few years. In fact, Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel in this most recent run by the talented Kelly Sue Deconnick. Carol is a strong woman, both physically and mentally, but is not without her flaws. She bridges the Earthly Marvel universe with the galactic, which just makes for a great reading experience. Need more convincing to pick up an issue? The Agent Carter writers are picking up the Captain Marvel duties in the next volume of her adventures! So, definitely start with the Kelly Sue Deconnick run (which you’ll easily find the trades for) and work your way forward!
If you haven’t heard of Nimona, you’re seriously missing out. It’s a one-off webcomic-turned-graphic novel starring a confident shapeshifter named Nimona who teams up with a villain and his sidekick in order to wreak some havoc! Created by Noelle Stevenson, who also created Lumberjanes and did the art for Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this graphic novel explores the intricacies and importance of non-romantic relationships and the intimidating power of women. It’s an engrossing read that even non-comic book fans can’t get enough of. Nimona is so charming and fun to read that you won’t be able to put it down.
‘Gotham City Sirens’
Okay, so this series is a few years old and, while we’re recommending current runs, this is one that we can’t not mention. This DC series is basically Three’s Company with Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman and it’s just fantastic. The series shows the ups and downs of female relationships and really gives each of these characters a lot of depth, especially when they’re interacting with each other. Even though it’s sad that it was cancelled after two years (which is too soon, in our opinion), it’s good news for you because you can now just pick up all of the trades for it! Whether you’re already a fan of these three characters or haven’t yet read comics about them, you’re bound to thoroughly enjoy this series.
If it’s ladies you want, it’s ladies you’ll get when you pick up A-Force. Long story short, after the Marvel universe was dissembled during the Secret Wars, all of your favorite Marvel ladies are now living together on Arcadia. The rulers and protectors are the A-Force, led by She-Hulk, which is pretty much an all-female Avengers team. This female-fronted comic series has it all: female relationships, Captain Marvel punching a shark, and an all new heroine you’ll want to keep your eye on. Only four issues of A-Force have come out so far, so it won’t be too hard to catch up!
Update: This one is in the works!
Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr took Barbara Gordon in a whole new direction when they inherited Batgirl from Gail Simone, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. They shifted the focus to Barbara’s struggle to find her feet as a young hero in an increasingly modern world — she even uses social media to turn a situation in her favor — but also her attempts to balance that with being a college student. It brought Barbara to a very real place for a lot of readers, and there’s a lot they can resonate with, and a little levity is a welcome change sometimes — especially in a Batman-associated title.
Saga has no shortage of praise for its intricate storytelling — from fans and critics alike. It’s racked up a few awards to its name, including an Eisner for best continuing series in both 2014 and 2015, and truly is a one of the best titles out on the shelves right now. It follows the story of Alana and Marko, a star-crossed couple from warring planets on the run with their young daughter, Hazel — who narrates the series — and the lengths they will go to to keep their family together. There’s no shortage of complicated, multi-faceted women in this series — both “hero” and “villain” alike — and it will hold you transfixed from cover to cover. If you love your ladies and Space Opera tales, Saga is a must-have, especially for those just getting into comics, as there’s no complicated and long-running history behind it — one of the perks of going indie!
‘Jem and the Holograms’
A reboot of the ’80s cartoon to the modern age — not to be confused with the upcoming feature film — this comic has catapulted itself quickly to the top of most people’s must-read lists. Every character is beautifully explored, including the rival Misfits, and it’s an incredibly diverse title — not only do several characters identify themselves on the LGBT spectrum, but you also have women of different races and body types. Yes, for fans of the series who long speculated over the relationship between Kimber and Stormer — it’s now confirmed. If you like your female empowerment with a side-order of flash and some truly outrageous hairstyles, then Jem and the Holograms is the title for you.
Other lady-centric comics you should consider picking up
- Operation Sin
- Bitch Planet
- S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary – This short series is made of Agent May, Mockingbird, Agent Carter, and Quake (aka Daisy, aka Skye) one shots!
- Thor (2014)
- Rat Queens
- The Wicked + The Divine
- Pretty Deadly
Thanks to Donya Abramo for contributing a few great comic book picks! For more comic book recommendations from Donya, be sure to listen to our Hero Hype podcast!