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: Memoirs

I always love reading memoirs. They are such a great way to experience new perspectives on the world and to learn about an author in an intensely personal way. But as much as I enjoy text-only memoirs, I love graphic novel memoirs even more because the artwork brings a whole new dimension to the work. With these books, all of which are written and illustrated by the same individual, readers are brought into the author’s life in a way that text alone cannot achieve. Whether you already have a love for memoirs or not, these books are sure to keep you engaged and make you think about the world a bit differently.

Relish by Lucy KnisleyRelish: My Life In The Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (2014 Alex Award winner, Great Graphic Novels 2014) – I’ve mentioned Lucy Knisley’s works before in this series of posts, but Relish is such a great example of a graphic novel memoir, that I couldn’t resist including it here. In this memoir, Knisley focuses on her love of food, integrating illustrated recipes with stories of growing up with a mom who is a chef and a dad who is a foodie into a unique coming-of-age story. This was the first book I ever read by Knisley and I think it is a great entry point for her works, particularly if you love good food. Continue reading Women in Comics: Memoirs

Women in Comics: Manga

For March, rather than focusing on a specific genre, I thought I would take a look at a wide range of manga created by women. Though I think many readers assume that most of the top manga creators are men, in fact there are a number of famous and important works created by women. Here are just a few examples.

Fullmetal AlchemistFullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa – Featuring two main characters, one with a prosthetic arm and leg and the other a disembodied soul in a metal body, Fullmetal Alchemist is a fun series set in a world where alchemy offers practitioners the ability to transform the world around them, but not without a price. The story offers a perfect combination of a steampunk setting, compelling characters, humor, and adventure. Told over the course of 10 volumes, the story is one that has gone on to spawn two anime series, video games, and a series of Japanese novels. This is a great manga for serious manga fans and new readers alike. Continue reading Women in Comics: Manga

Women in Comics: Love and Relationships

Happy Valentine's Day by Song Zheng. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Happy Valentine’s Day by Song Zheng. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

With Valentine’s Day (and Galentine’s Day) just around the corner, February seems like a good month to write a Women in Comics post about books that are focus on love and relationships. Whether this means romantic love (or the lack thereof) or strong friendships, many women have created comics that focus on real or fictional relationships. Check one out to get in the spirit of the season!Soppy CoverSoppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice – In this volume, Rice tells the story of her relationship with her boyfriend through red, white and black images. Told through short standalone comics that form snapshots of their life together, the book alternates between funny, cute and poignant. The art style is a unique one that fits well with the stories Rice is telling and makes the book approachable to even those who do not frequently read comics. Continue reading Women in Comics: Love and Relationships

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

Find a New Favorite Female Comic Artist or Graphic Novelist

graphic_novels2As a big fan of graphic novels and comics, I read across many genres from superhero comics to nonfiction to humor and beyond. While I love the work of many different authors, today I want to highlight some of the best work from female artists who create comics and graphic novels. The list below includes some books I have read and some I can’t wait to read, but they are all written or drawn (or both!) by women who are among the best in the field.

Memoir
JapanAiJapan Ai by Aimee Major Steinberger (2009 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2009 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers – This book, drawn in Manga style, chronicles Aimee’s trip to Japan, where she immerses herself in Japan’s particular cuteness. More of a journal than a traditional comic, this is fun book that will leave you dreaming of a trip to Japan. Continue reading Find a New Favorite Female Comic Artist or Graphic Novelist