Feminism is about showing women as fully fleshed out human beings, and that’s what Harley is. She doesn’t make choices that are smart or good for a woman, but she gets to make those choices. Men are allowed to be fuck-ups in all kinds of characters, and women aren’t. We have to be idealized. She gets to not be.
- Who Is Wonder Woman? –
Even for readers who have never read any comics about Wonder Woman, this story is a great place to start. The classic villains Giganta, Dr. Psycho, and Cheetah work together to try to bring Wonder Woman out of retirement and defeat her. Wonder Woman grapples with identity issues, and trying to find a way to help people without causing harm, throughout this story arc. Colorful illustrations add to the action in this surprisingly character-driven story. My only recommendation with this collection is to skip the last issue. Normally, I believe in reading a whole story, but the last issue is an annual issue, unnecessary to the story. Its artwork is less compelling, and this was a let-down after the rest of the volume.
- DC Comics Bombshells –
Another colorfully illustrated story, Bombshells might seem a little far-fetched at first glance in a list of graphic novels about empowered women. Despite its aesthetic based on 1940’s pin-up models, this graphic novel depicts an alternate history of World War II dominated by strong female superheroes. Batwoman saved the Wayne family, Mera features more prominently than Aquaman, and even the few male characters are well written. These comics are also written by a female team. One of the writers, Marguerite Bennett, said about the artwork:
I loved the design of [Batwoman when I first saw her] — she looked so capable and sly and brazen, all this lazy grace, like she could flirt with you or absolutely wreck you with her bat.
Beautiful yet deadly, these characters are fun to read about.
- Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps –
Kelly Sue DeConnick is a great writer in the world of comics, and this story is a new look at a great female superhero. DeConnick wrote:
I didn’t set out to write Carol as a “strong female.” There was none of this that entered my consciousness at all. I was just writing Carol as a person, and Carol is a heroine—someone who like Captain America stands up for what is just and protects those who can’t protect themselves.
Victor Von Doom is the god of this alternate universe, and the Carol Corps is faced with challenges when the women begin to learn that Von Doom has created a world of lies. Captain Marvel and her squadron take on a secret mission to uncover the truth.
These are just a few of the newest graphic novels that are well written and relate the stories of inspirational female superheroes. My next post will look at women in graphic novels from a slightly different angle. In the meantime, enjoy these recommendations.
Dietsch, T. J. (2015, October 2). Bombshells: An oral history of the DC collectibles line that exploded in popularity. Retrieved from http://www.cbr.com/bombshells-an-oral-history-of-the-dc-collectibles-line-that-exploded-in-popularity/
Riesman, A. (2015, February 17). The strange, hidden story of Harley Quinn and how she became the superhero world’s most successful woman. Retrieved from http://www.vulture.com/2014/12/harley-quinn-dc-comics-suicide-squad.html
Saraiya, S. (2015, November 18). “If you want to see ‘angry feminist,’ I will show it to you”: “Captain Marvel”writer opens up about the backlash against the new Carol Danvers. Retrieved from https://www.salon.com/2015/11/18/if_you_want_to_see_angry_feminist_i_will_show_it_to_you_captain_marvel_writer_opens_up_about_the_backlash_against_the_new_carol_danvers/