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…And Taking Names: Graphic Novel Heroines

There’s nothing I love more than a strong, butt-kicking female heroine in graphic novels. You know who I’m talking about: a girl that is tough, smart and knows her way around a weapon. Sometimes they can be hard to find, but luckily YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens are full of them. Here’s a list of my favorite female graphic heroines.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch (2011 Great Graphic Novel for Teens)

Mirka doesn’t buy the whole “only boys can have swords and fights dragons” business her brother feeds her. She knows she’d be the best dragon slayer in Hereville if she only had a dragon-slaying sword and some dragons to slay. When she gets her wish, a dragon-slaying sword of her own, she finds out just how tough being a hero is.

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dale Hale and Nathan Hale (2009 Great Graphic Novel for Teens)

Rapunzel’s the girl on want on my side in a fight. Not content to stay locked in the tower, Rapunzel busts herself out and then sets out to find the people who separated her family and to save her mother. Along the way she collects something of a merry band of riff-raff and gets into a scrap or two that requires her to whip out her secret weapon: her long, deadly braid.

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura (Top Ten 2010 Great Graphic Novel for Teens)

Barbara is preparing for when the giants attack. Never mind normal stuff like friends and school. But when life at home starts getting complicated and scary, Barbara must face an even bigger challenge: the real world and its real dangers.

Foiled by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro (2011 Great Graphic Novel for Teens; previously reviewed on The Hub)

Aliera is training hard to do well at her upcoming fencing tournament, so she really doesn’t have time to deal with distractions. Yeah, she’s interested in her new lab partner–and also her new foil that allows her to see creatures from another world and, weirdly, the two seem linked.

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg (2008 Great Graphic Novel for Teens)

Sometimes art can heal, and sometimes art can be a weapon. The Janes are taking on THE MAN and using their art to tell their story. Subversion and protest never looked so good.

Who did I miss? What other graphical females are out there kicking butt and taking names?

— Amanda Margis, currently reading Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev and listening to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and read by Jim Dale!

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  1. Jessica M Jessica M

    I really loved Rapunzel and Aliera from Foiled. They were both strong characters! I also thought that Emily from Stonekeeper: The Amulet, ended up being a strong heroine, too.

  2. Laura Perenic Laura Perenic

    I liked Wonder Woman. Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult. Its the first time this iconic character has had her story told by a woman and Piccoult brings a new dimension to this famous comic heroine that has more to do with mental facets than her costume.

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