Women in Comics: Back To School Edition

Frontier Classroom by Corey Leopold. CC BY 2.0.
Frontier Classroom by Corey Leopold. CC BY 2.0.

Sad as it may be for some, summer has come to a close and the new school year is upon us. In honor of this time of the year, here is a list of great comics by women that focus on back to school, whether this means starting college, transitioning to middle school or starting over at a new institution. The books range from realistic to fantastic, but they all capture the emotions of the start of a new school year.

Giant Days by John Allison with art by Lissa Treiman – Susan, Daisy, and Esther are three university students facing all of the typical problems of relationships, school work, and living away from home. Though it is set in Britain, the themes are universal and will have appeal both for those who fondly remember college and those who are looking ahead to it. This new incarnation of the webcomic by the same name follows the same three characters as John Allison’s original series, but this time with Lissa Treiman’s artwork. Designed to be a self-contained 6 issue series, it doesn’t presuppose any knowledge of the earlier series, but it will likely leave many interested in finding those earlier stories as well. Continue reading Women in Comics: Back To School Edition

Women in Comics: Science Fiction

Robot by Robin Zebrowski. CC BY 2.0.
Robot by Robin Zebrowski. CC BY 2.0.

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 LifeIn 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 + AdaAlex + 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.  Continue reading Women in Comics: Science Fiction

Women in Comics: Fantasy

Neuschwanstein Castle | Schwangau | Bavaria | Germany by Christian Junker - AHKGAP. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Neuschwanstein Castle | Schwangau | Bavaria | Germany by Christian Junker – AHKGAP. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Fantasy is in many ways the perfect genre for comics and graphic novels because the combination of text and art allows creators to even more vividly bring to life the worlds that they create. Given this, it is not surprising that so many comic books and graphic novels fall into this genre, including some of the most famous superhero stories. This post includes some of the best fantasy stories found in comics and graphic novels and offers many different options for fans of all types of fantasy.

castlewaiting-coverCastle Waiting by Linda Medley (2007 Great Graphic Novels For Teens) – Set in a world made up of anthropomorphized animals, bearded women, mysterious travellers, and magic, this graphic novel is in the style of traditional fables, but with a more modern focus. Though set at the castle of the title, which is isolated since a Sleeping Beauty-like incident decades before, the book is actually broken into a series of stories, each of which focuses on a smaller group of the castle’s inhabitants. It is an interesting and unique read that is perfect for fans of fairy tales and fables. Continue reading Women in Comics: Fantasy

Women In Comics: Looking Ahead to 2015

Photo entitled "Change the last number! Happy new year!" by clement127. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Photo entitled “Change the last number! Happy new year!” by clement127. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

As 2015 opens, I have decided to focus this month’s Women in Comics post on the great comics from women that we can look forward to this year. It looks as though 2015 will bring many exciting options for fans of everything from superheroes to memoirs. Get ready for some great reads in the new year!

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Marvel will be bringing their Squirrel Girl character back as an ongoing series created by Erica Henderson and Ryan North. The series starts this month, so you can check it out right now.

G. Willow Wilson: Author G. Willow Wilson has two exciting projects coming in 2015, the release of volume two of Ms. Marvel at the end of March and her involvement with the X-Men series starting this month. Both are part of her recently announced exclusive deal with Marvel, which may well point to a future with many more Marvel Universe stories from Wilson. Continue reading Women In Comics: Looking Ahead to 2015

Women In Comics: Bringing History To Life

While comic books and graphic novels may be synonymous with superheroes and fantastical events in the minds of many, in reality this approach to storytelling can be applied to any genre. One particularly effective use of comic books and graphic novels is to bring history alive through their signature combination of text and artwork. Whether this is done through historical fiction, biographies, or historical texts, authors and artists are able to draw their readers into a historical period by both telling them and showing them what it was like at that time, so it is no surprise that many in the comics field work in this genre.

This month’s post will introduce you to some of the great women who are writing and illustrating comic books and graphic novels that incorporate real historical periods. Some are writing personal stories and some are crafting fictional tales that happen to have a historical setting, but all of them draw readers into the past through their storytelling and artwork.

Moving PicturesMoving Pictures by Kathryn & Stuart Immonen – World War II is a popular subject for historical fiction of all types, so it is no surprise that there are many great graphic novels about the time period. Moving Pictures definitely belongs on any list of these works. This tightly focused World War II story centers around Ila, a museum curator who has stays in France to protect artwork in her museum as the Nazis move into the country. This story does an excellent job of hinting at the larger horrors of the war while maintaining its narrow viewpoint and the spare black and white art complements the story perfectly. Continue reading Women In Comics: Bringing History To Life

Women In Comics: Superhero Edition

Image by Julian Fong. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Image by Julian Fong. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Last month when I started writing my Find a New Favorite Female Comic Artist or Graphic Novelist post I envisioned it as a one-time list of suggestions, but as I got into the process of collecting books with women in charge of the story, artwork, or both, I realized that (1) there are far too many examples for a single post and (2) I was having way too much fun to only go through the process once. When I published the post and started getting supportive comments with even more reading suggestions, I decided that I wanted to turn it into a recurring series. So, my current plan is to continue writing Women In Comics posts that offer suggestions for those interested in finding great new comics and graphic novels.

As I was preparing to write this post, both Marvel and DC released plans for upcoming superhero movies for the next several years and this gave me the inspiration to focus on the contributions that women have made to superhero comics. This post will highlight a wide range of superhero stories written or illustrated by important women in the field. Without further ado, here are some more great stories to choose from: Continue reading Women In Comics: Superhero Edition