Women in Comics: Star Wars

With the latest Star Wars movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story, coming to theaters later this month, it seems like a great time to explore Star Wars comics. In the years since the first Star Wars movie was released, there has been a huge range of licensed books and graphic novels set in the Star Wars universe and many of these stories have been created by women. This list features a few of these comics. Star Wars fans will see some familiar characters and a few new ones as well, but throughout there is the same sense of adventure that is found in the movies. Whether you and your patrons are getting ready for the new movie or want more stories after seeing it, this list will have something to fit your need.

Han Solo coverCaptain Phasma coverRogue One cover

Han Solo by Marjorie Liu with art by Mark Brooks – Let’s start the list with a perfect read for Han Solo fans waiting for the new film to come out. In this action packed story, Han is convinced to help the Rebellion one more time and has a chance to compete in a race along the way. Liu’s story captures everything fans love about Han Solo and offers a thrilling addition to his legend. Brooks’ art captures the action perfectly contributing to a sense of tension and suspense throughout the story. Continue reading Women in Comics: Star Wars

Women in Comics: Fairytales & Fables

Fables and fairytales are some of the oldest types of stories around and they continue to be an important part of the literary world. With their combination of art and story, comics and graphic novels are a particularly great medium for this sort of story-telling. These are just a few of the multitude of great options that are out there for fans of fables and fairytales.

Troll Bridge CoverThe Little Red Wolf CoverThe Tea Dragon Society Cover

Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman with art by Colleen Doran – In this modern day take on the classic tale of the troll under the bridge, a young boy goes wandering in the countryside only to encounter a troll living under a remote bridge. To describe the plot much more would be to give away the ending, but the story comments on many modern issues that go beyond classic troll stories, including technological process, urban development, and the choices each person makes and must ultimately live with. Doran’s artwork brings realism to a story that could have been completely fantastical and complements Gaiman’s story perfectly.

The City on the Other Side by Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson – Opening in San Francisco shortly after the 1906 fire and earthquake, this book introduces readers to Isabel, a young girl who lives with her wealthy but remote mother. When Isabel is sent away to her father’s for the summer as her mother travels, she suddenly finds herself unexpectedly crossing the veil to the world of fairies where the Seelie and the Unseelie are at war with one another. Tasked with protecting and delivering a necklace that is important for ending the war, she finds herself on an adventure with new friends, including a Filipino boy who can also cross between the two worlds. This fun romp of a fairytale mixes fantasy and adventure well. It is being released later this month.

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais – Told in a style somewhere between a graphic novel and a picture book, this story flips the typical story of Little Red Riding Hood on its head. In this case, the protagonist is a little wolf who always dresses in a red cape. When he is tasked with taking food into the forest to his grandmother’s house, he will encounter unspeakable danger. In this version of the tale, it is ultimately about revenge, guilt, and the unending harm that can come from both. The gorgeous artwork complements the story and makes for a great
reading experience.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill – From the author of Princess Princess Ever After, this delightful story follows Greta as she learns the dying tradition of caring for tea dragons from Hesekiel and his partner Erik. Tea dragons, which are small dragons who grow tea leaves on their horns and antlers, store the memories of themselves and their caregivers in the leaves that they grow and brewing tea from these leaves allows the drinker to experience these memories. However, because the process of cultivating their tea is long and difficult, few have continued the tradition. But Greta and her newfound friends, including Minette, a shy former prophetess, manage to rebuild the Tea Dragon Society for themselves. This is an adorable story with cute artwork and a great cast of characters. It is perfect for fans of Princess Princess Ever After and is sure to earn O’Neill even more fans.

Henni by Miss Lasko-Gross – In this modern fable, Henni is a young girl who lives in a dogmatically religious community where her freedom to be herself is strictly limited. Seeing her father attacked for daring to cross the religious leaders has a huge impact on her at a very young age, but still she stays a part of the community until she sees evidence of the true corruption of the tenets she was taught to believe in. At that point she flees into the unknown, desperate to find a just place where she will have the freedom to be herself. By setting this tale in a fantastical world populated entirely with humanoid creatures with the ears and tale of cats, Lasko-Gross makes this a relatable story that can feel applicable to so many situations. The emotional and moody illustrations and the terrifying obstacles that Henni faces throughout make it a powerful reading experience. And, by ending simultaneously with a moral and an open-ended final scene, Lasko-Gross makes the fable genre seem fresh and modern.

What are your favorite fables and fairytales in graphic novels? Let us know in the comments!

– Carli Spina, currently reading Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Women in Comics: Quests

Characters setting out on quests are an important part of many literary genres and formats. From the Epic of Gilgamesh to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, quests have been part of some of our most enduring pieces of literature. These stories often work perfectly as the basis of graphic novels, meaning that there are many quests in comics and graphic novels. This list brings together just a few great examples of quests in comics and graphic novels. Whether you prefer fantasy or nonfiction, there is a quest here for you!

M.F.K. CoverYvain CoverAlgeria is Beautiful Like America Cover

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Women in Comics: Some Love Stories for February

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this month is a good time to consider the comics and graphic novels that you have on your shelf that will appeal to to fans of romance and love in all its forms. These books are just a few options for these readers.

Cover of The Prince and the DressmakerCast No Shadow coverI Love This Part cover

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – Set in Paris in what seems to be La Belle Époque, Prince Sebastian is stuck between the wishes of his parents and his own wishes. His parents desperately want him to find a wife and have been setting him up on ever more pointless dates. He, on the other hand, wants to continue his life as it is, including his secret practice of periodically dressing in traditionally feminine clothes. When he meets Frances, who is an incredibly talented fashion designer and dressmaker, he quickly moves to employ her full time under the guise of having her serve as his personal tailor. Together they develop the fashion and persona necessary for him to take the city by storm as the daringly dressed Lady Crystallia. But, the pressure of his secret increasingly impacts both Sebastian and Frances and will test their friendship and their working relationship. Told with beautiful drawings and a fun-loving spirit, this is a great story about the pressures that society puts on people to conform and on the sorrow of having to hide your true talents and self.

Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky and art by Anissa Espinosa – Greg is used to his quirky life in his off-beat town. He may not have a shadow, but that doesn’t bother him nearly as much as his town’s continual attempts to find the perfect tourist trap. What he isn’t expecting is to find a mansion nestled in the woods just outside his little town where he meets and falls for a beautiful girl. But, it wouldn’t be Lancaster if things were that simple. She may be funny and sweet and cute, but she’s also very definitely dead. As their relationship grows, he’ll not only learn why he is the only person who can see her, but also resolve some of his personal issues along the way. This is a story not only of a budding new relationship, but also a story about the power of family, friendship, and remembering those who have died.

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin with art by Jenn St-Onge and Joy San – This new comic is a love story across the years. After meeting and falling in love in the 1960’s, Hazel and Mari are pulled apart by the demands of society. They marry men, have families, and find a certain type of happiness. But when they find themselves at a church bingo evening when they are grandmothers, they find that the spark has not extinguished even after all of these years. Now they have a second chance for love and the opportunity for the happiness they always wanted.

Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt with art by Isabelle Arsenault – This comic tackles a lot of tough topics, including divorce, alcoholism, being siblings, and first love, but it approaches them all with a deft hand. The story follows Louis as he moves back and forth between his parents’ homes. Louis is in the throes of his first serious crush on a girl in his class named Billie. As they move between his father’s house and his mother’s apartment, he and his brother, Truffle, must confront the realities of their father’s struggles with alcohol. Throughout it all, Louis is also consumed by his efforts to work up the courage to speak to Billie. The story is a relatable and heart wrenching one about both family love and first love that will keep readers rooting for Louis throughout.

I Love This Part by Tillie Walden – Told with spare language and illustrations in black, white and shades of greyish purple, this story shows moments in the lives of two girls as they bond over music, make their way through school, and develop a relationship that shakes both of them. Despite the limited use of text, Walden conveys powerful emotions and makes the reader empathize with both of these characters as they struggle to make sense of their emotions. By the end, readers will be invested in the journey of the two characters and wishing for more of their stories.

What are your favorite comics and graphic novels about love and romance? Let us know in the comments!

– Carli Spina, currently reading A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Women in Comics – Looking Ahead to 2018

As another year begins, it’s time to look ahead to the exciting new comics and graphic novels by women that we can expect in 2018. Hopefully this list will give you something to look forward to as the new year starts!

Cover of All Summer Long by Hope LarsonCover of Be Prepared by Vera BergasolCover of Moonstruck by Grace Ellis Continue reading Women in Comics – Looking Ahead to 2018

Women in Comics – Pets

For pet owners, their beloved animal companions can be loyal friends, family members, and a never ending source of humorous stories. All of these characteristics make them great characters for comic books, so it is no surprise that many authors have chosen to write stories about them. Below are just a few great fictional and nonfiction reads about pets and the role they play in our lives.

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Women in Comics – The Wonderful World of Sports

Though comic books may not be the first place you consider looking for sports, the way that they combine powerful stories with powerful artwork makes them a great vehicle for telling sports stories. Many creative teams have taken advantages of what the format has to offer to tell exciting stories of athletes, competition, and teamwork. This list highlights just a few of these comics that are perfect for fans of sports and the competitive spirit.

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Women in Comics – Monsters, Ghosts, and the Supernatural

With so many people starting to prepare for their Halloween celebrations, it seems like a good time to highlight some comics about monsters, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures. Not all of these comics are scary. Some are creepy, some are funny, and some are cute, but if you love supernatural characters, this list is sure to have a book that will keep you glued to the last page.

Nightlights CoverBaba Yaga's Assistant CoverAnswer the Call Cover Continue reading Women in Comics – Monsters, Ghosts, and the Supernatural

Women in Comics – Refugee Experiences

Graphic novels can offer a wide range of perspectives on a shared topic, from extremely personal biographies and autobiographies to historical fiction to journalism. In the case of books about refugees, graphic novels offer the opportunity to tell deeply personal stories from a variety of perspectives while also sharing compelling images that bring the reader into the story in a way that is hard to do with words alone. The books in this list can be a powerful way of teaching young readers about the real lives of refugees around the world and throughout history.

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The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui – Weaving together the stories of multiple periods in the lives of Thi Bui’s family members, this graphic memoir is simultaneously a story of war, the refugee experience, and parenthood. The book opens with the author in labor with her son. Her experience of becoming a new parent serves as a jumping off point for a reflection on her parents’ experiences growing up in Vietnam during a time of turmoil and multiple wars, culminating in her family’s escape to a refugee camp in Malaysia when Bui was a child. Through her consideration of her own childhood and those of her parents, Bui shows the long shadow that these traumatic experiences can cast and offers a window into one type of refugee experience.

Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution by Julia Alekseyeva – Julia Alekseyeva tells the story of her great-grandmother Lola interspersed with biographical segments about her own life growing up as part of an immigrant family. Starting with her childhood as a poor Jewish child outside Kiev, this book traces Lola’s life through the Bolshevik revolution, her time working for the Soviet government, and her decision to move to the U.S. as a refugee. The book covers her time in the Red Army and her work as a secretary for the predecessor to the KGB, which will offer readers a peek into a fascinating part of history. Continue reading Women in Comics – Refugee Experiences

Women in Comics – Extending the Story

Last month I wrote about graphic novel adaptations of famous books and series, but increasingly authors are moving beyond merely adapting works into graphic novels and instead creating graphic novels that are entirely new stories in an existing universe. Whether they are building on universes created for TV shows, or movies, these works do more than adapt existing stories. For fans of the original work, they can be exciting opportunities to spend more time in a world that they love and gain a new insight into their favorite characters.

Girl Over Paris coverWires and Nerve coverThe Wendy Project cover Continue reading Women in Comics – Extending the Story