This month for my Women in Comics post, I’m focusing on science fiction graphic novels. Science fiction is generally one of my favorite genres and there are many great examples that are graphic novels. Whether you prefer near-future, dystopia, or science fiction blended with a hint of fantasy, this list will have a great book to add to your to-be-read list.
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow with art by Jen Wang (2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten) – Anda is a dedicated player of Coarsegold Online, a massively-multiplayer online role playing game by the time she meets a gold farmer from China named Raymond. As she learns about the work that he does – which includes long hours and no benefits – she becomes outraged and tries to take action to help him. The book is transparently aimed at teaching readers about the politics and economics of gaming as well as sparking an interest in activism. It will appeal to fans of online games and of Doctorow’s other works.
Alex + Ada by Sarah Vaughn with art by Jonathan Luna – When Alex receives an X5 android as a surprise birthday gift, he is pretty sure he wants nothing to do with it, but once he meets Ada he becomes deeply conflicted about the idea of returning her. This comic follows Alex and the android he names Ada as they meet and navigate a complicated world where fear of artificial intelligence runs rampant in the wake of an AI organized massacre. Alex must decide what his beliefs about the rights of androids are and how he should interact with a completely lifelike, but non-human being. This is a great series for those with an interest in robots and artificial intelligence.
Rocket Girl by Brandon Montclare with art by Amy Reeder – This is a book that I picked up based on a comment left on my original blog post in this series and I’m glad I did. It follows Dayoung Johansson, a teen police office from an alternate timeline – a 2013 where futuristic technology has allowed a single huge corporation called Quintum Mechanics to take control of law enforcement. The only people willing to stand against them are the members of the New York Teen Police Department, which is staffed entirely by teenagers. Dayoung is one of their officers and must travel back in time to 1986 to try to prevent this future from ever happening.
Finder: Third World by Carla Speed McNeil – This Finder adventure, which is part of the larger series, focuses on Jaeger and his work as a courier, which makes use of his ability to get into and out of almost any location. By following Jaeger as he completes a number of missions, readers are introduced to his strange world and slowly bits and pieces of his backstory are revealed. This book will leave you wanting to learn more about the world that McNeil has created and the characters that inhabit it.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and adapted by Hope Larson (Great Graphic Novels 2013) – A Wrinkle in Time remains an all-time classic in the world of science fiction and Hope Larson has transformed it into a beautiful graphic novel that will bring the story to a whole new audience. Her artwork will resonate with those who are already fans of Madeleine L’Engle’s world, but it also does a nice job of bringing the story to life for new readers and adapting it for the graphic novel format.
Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan with art by Andy Belanger – This new series from Becky Cloonan follows Alex Braith as she ventures out to a distant space mining operation to recover the remains of her sister and solve the mystery of her death. The story will appeal to fans of futuristic space travel and the artwork helps to create a believable world for the characters to inhabit. Though the series just begun, it is already off to a tense and interesting start.
Air by G. Willow Wilson with art by M.K. Perker – Though she is now best known for writing the Ms. Marvel series and being slated to write Avengers comics going forward, G. Willow Wilson is also the author of the series Air, which is an intriguing and difficult to classify science fiction comic about air travel, conspiracies, lost countries and so much more. Blythe is not your typical flight attendant. She has a philosophy degree, a fear of flying, and seemingly an attraction to strange goings on. When she is swept up in the path of a mysterious man she keeps encountering and ends up being hijacked and having her plane crash in a single day, her life takes a turn for the decidedly weird. But, in the end, this proves to be only the beginning as more and more of what is really going on in the world is revealed to her. This is an interesting story for older teens and mature readers that will keep you guessing throughout.
Legend by Marie Lu, adapted by Leigh Dragoon with illustrations by Kaari – Set in a future Los Angeles that has become a dystopia, this story focuses on June, an elite military genius, and Day, a wanted criminal. Though they are the same age, their lives could not be more different due to the class differences of their society. When June’s brother is murdered, the two are thrown together as Day becomes the prime suspect in the crime. When they meet, however, June discovers more than merely the truth of her brother’s death. This graphic novel adaptation of Lu’s novel is true to the original and will garner even more fans for the series.
Let me know in the comments if there are other great science fiction graphic novels by women that I should add to my reading list!