GIRL COMICS FOR GIRLS - 16 and ups!
Today brings us to PART TWO! These are comics that can be enjoyed by anybody, of course, but I find that they especially appeal to girls. They’re what you might call ‘gateway comics’ - for girls interested in graphic novels but not sure where to start. None of them require knowledge of continuity of any kind and can be enjoyed all at once.
ONWARD! I’m using Wiki links this time instead of Amazon, but don’t go spoiling the endings.
BLANKETS by Craig Thompson was one of the first graphic novels I read in high school. It’s autobiographical, and deals with a strict religious upbringing and his personal struggles with it, and with love and family. It’s beautiful, the drawings are gorgeous and it is, above all else, an incredibly honest story.
BLACK HOLE by Charles Burns isn’t a tale for the squeamish, but it’s fantastic. At times dark and fairly twisted, it’s the story of a group of kids in the 70s who contract an STI that causes genetic mutations. It’s a coming-of-age story, really, and Charles Burns’ art never fails to impress!
The FLIGHT series is fantastic - it’s a great sampler for girls interested in checking out a bunch of different art styles without having to invest in a longer story. There are 8 books in total, and should be pretty easy to find. Hundreds of artists and writers have contributed, from big names like Becky Cloonan and Scott Campbell to artists just starting out (plus one of my friend-faves, Katie Shanahan!).
The SANDMAN series is great, but I got into it through the one-off stories about Death. There are two that are easily available: The High Cost of Living (one of the best titles I’ve ever heard, really) and The Time of Your Life. Both can be read without a working knowledge of the rather complex Sandman mythology, and both are fairly quick reads. If you lean towards the spooky and supernatural, you might really like this. Follow it up by checking out Endless Nights and then check out the rest of the series! Also: Read American Gods.
Do I ever get tired of selling copies of BATWOMAN: ELEGY? No. Not really. Listen, it’s enough that J H Williams III and Dave Stewart are the best art team alive, but this character is fantastic and Rucka does an awesome job. Originally a miniseries within the run of Detective Comics, Elegy introduced Kate Kane, a woman who is forcibly removed from the army after refusing to comply with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (read: she’s gay and won’t lie about it). She puts her training to use as Batwoman, socialite by night and crimefighter by later-night. Just read it. I’ve never heard a bad review.
DC: THE NEW FRONTIER is a perfect way to see if capes and tights are your thing. Drawn and illustrated by friend-of-the-shop Darwyn Cooke, this self-contained Green Lantern origin story is so perfectly retro that it’s hard not to love. It’s no secret that Darwyn draws my favourite Wonder Woman (so thick! So strong!) but this is just great. Even if traditional Superman stuff turns you off, give this a second look.
LOCKE AND KEY is my new favourite series. It’s the first graphic novel I’d read since New Frontier that I could not put down when it was time to sleep. It’s spooky, a little graphic, and not shy of curse words, but if you can handle the TMI scenes in CSI, you can handle Locke and Key. Gabriel Rodriguez’ art blows my mind. Joe Hill’s slow-to-unravel storytelling is to die for. If you’re a fan of eerie mysteries and haunted houses, you’ll tear through this. It’s ongoing, but the first four books are readily available and it picks up with Clockworks #1, which came out just last week!
I’m gonna cut this off here, but I have so many more I could share… If you want?
GIRL COMICS FOR GIRLS! Part one: TEENZ
I was asked last night after that leeeengthy post about women in comics to recommend some graphic novels! I can do zat. Not all are created by women, but I’m a girl and these are some things I like. Maybe you will, too!
My apologies for Amazon links. Always try your LCS before buying online!
FOR DA TEENZ
ALLISON DARE by J. Torres and J. Bone was one of the first comics I bought from my shop, long before I worked there, at a Free Comic Book Day in 2006. It’s in the vein of Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones/Relic Hunter, but lead by a young and fiercely independent girl. I love this series to pieces.
WAR AT ELLSMERE by Faith Erin Hicks is a local publication! Faith shops at my store and is the creator of Superhero Girl. It’s a story set in a boarding school (I’m a sucker for that) and has a bit of family drama, a lot of secrets, and a great female protagonist. Plus… a little bit of magic?
ANYA’S GHOST by Vera Brosgol also takes place at a private school, but it’s co-ed. Anya is a Russian girl who doesn’t care about anything more than fitting in until she finds a ghost trapped in a well and decides to keep her around. This book is, and I don’t say this lightly, perfect. Spooky, fun and beautifully illustrated.
CORALINE by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russel is a book, graphic novel and film. The movie is my favourite, but the story’s great however you can get it. Things I love: stories for kids that don’t sugar-coat. It’s healthy to get a little scared. I also love how the parents aren’t portrayed as perfect suburban PTA folks, but as real and very flawed human beings. I can identify with that.
RUNAWAYS by Brian K Vaughn and Adrian Alphona is a kickass series that I’ll admit, I haven’t yet finished! It’s a little more mature than some of the other titles, but I give kids the benefit of the doubt. Anybody with a troubled family could get down with this group of mutants who discover that their parents not only evil, but out to get them. The art is beautiful and the colours leap off the page. If you’re queer or questioning, you’ll identify.
YOUNG AVENGERS is along the same lines as Runaways, but with a more typical ‘cape’ superhero story. I liked it, even though I lost a lot of the references due to a pretty limited knowledge of the Avengers universe. If you’re a girl who likes books with a little punch, check it out!
SMILE by Raina Telgemeier just won the Eisner for Best Teen Publication and rightly so! I’ve met Raina a few times and always loved her. She’s so enthusiastic about getting kids and teens into comics, it’s infectious! This autobiographical work deals with the aftermath of losing her two front teeth in the sixth grade and how it affects her life as she’s growing up. She also illustrates the Babysitters’ Club graphic novels, and those are RAD.
That’s all for tonight! Comics for grown up ladies (and pretty much everyone, really) tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll think of tons more as I go.
On the Gulf Between YA Comics and Prose
The YA and Comics panel was moderated by USA Today Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson with panelists M.K. Reed, Lucy Knisley, and Tracy White. Much of the discussion was about how to reach teenage readers. While web presence was discussed and seen as important, the panelists all agreed that due to the anonymity of the internet, it was hard to tell how many of their readers were actually teens, and thus the importance of librarians and teachers was stressed. They acknowledged the double-edged sword of print publishing: on the one hand they get exposure and legitimacy, but on the other hand, editors and publishers are quick to make changes to fit a certain demographic and are cagey about the more explicit material prose YA gets away with. (via That Was the MoCCA Weekend That Was)
Yup, there’s way less of the Three S’s (sex, substance use, and swearing) in YA comics than in YA prose. At the panel itself, I believe it was M.K. Reed who said something a long the lines that when everything is drawn, your book’s going to be edited pretty quickly if it’s half making out. I suppose that’s the real challenge facing YA comics— getting publishers to take the same risks with art that they do with prose.
Reblog if you’d like to see a Young Adult Wonder Woman manga given a shot
All right, so Ben Caldwell’s Wonder Woman pitch got attention back when I was on the way to Afghanistan so I never got a chance to comment on it (even to note it has lovely art), but tonight I’m thinking about Wonder Woman, DC current direction for her, fans and such. A postcard campaign got the series renumbered to 600 rather than reset at 1 for this latest reboot. Letter campaigns got Manhunter two reprieves. A letter campaign brought Stephanie Brown back from the dead.
I think there’s an off chance we can get this published, or at least get it in their heads that we want Wonder Woman to be for young girls too. And if it works, we can finally have a Wonder Woman book to give to our younger family and friends. That should be something worth shooting for even if you don’t like certain aspects of it.
So, if you’d spend postage to get this a second chance, please Reblog. We’ll get organized if there’s enough of us.
Lois Lane, Girl Reporter
Here are some notes and images from Lois Lane, Girl Reporter, a pitch for a series of illustrated young adult novels I worked on a few years ago for DC Comics. Story by me, with considerable brainstorming help from my pal John Campbell, and art by Project: Rooftop fan favorite Daniel Krall.
My wonderful editor, Chris Cerasi, was a real champion of the series, which we codenamed “Project 77,” and while we had a great time working on it and finding this secret window into the DCU, it doesn’t look like the current leadership of DC is remotely interested in this kinda thing. I thought some Lois Lane fans here on the interwebs might at least like a look at what might have been…