Comic books are a great medium for reading if you feel like a change from normal literature. Although at first glance it can seem like there are too many male heroes but if you look a little deeper there are many strong female leads.
Here are five:
Originally released in 2015, A-Force was an ongoing comic book which featured an all-female team of Avengers. With characters such as She-Hulk, Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel, they were one serious and decidedly feminist team taking on all ranges of enemies from giant megalodon sharks to Loki the Norse god. Although the sales fell off after a year the comics had critical acclaim. If you’re curious and would like to find out more the Marvel website is a great source.
2. Rat Queens
This comic tells the exploits of four rowdy, foul-mouthed adventurers in a medieval fantasy world. Be warned these are not your typical heroes: There’s a rockabilly elven mage, hipster dwarven warrior, and a lesbian hippie halfling (hobbit) who likes hallucinogens and alcohol. Later in their adventures they’re joined by a transgender one eyed orc. It puts a modern spin on an old-school genre and is confident in addressing issues most comic books steer clear of. You can take a look at the series and even read the first issue for free.
3. Black Panther: World of Wakanda
This comic is a spin-off from the Marvel Comics' Black Panther title and is written by ‘bad feminist’ Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey the first two black women to author a series for Marvel. It’s a Wakandan love story “young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown at all costs. What happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other?” You can find more info on the series here.
A graphic memoir following the author Marjane Satrapi through childhood up to her early adult years in Iran. It focuses on her experiences of growing up during the Islamic Revolution and the impacts of war, then later starting her new life in Vienna, Austria. By using both image and text it creates a form of visual literacy (the belief pictures can be read) to enhance the message conveyed. In 2007 it was made into an animated adult film. It’s a highly rated comic described as ‘haunting and humorous’.
5. Bitch Planet
This series takes place in a dystopian reality, where a group of men hold the power and women are sent to an off-planet prison when they are deemed non-compliant. (There are many comparisons to our current world...) It’s sometimes brutal and not afraid to confront any subject, Issue no.6 has flashbacks to sexual assault, and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick isn’t afraid to include them. “These things have to exist in the world of Bitch Planet, we have to talk about them, but we’re trying to figure out a way to do it that isn’t exploitative, that doesn’t contribute to trauma.”” You can read the first one online for free.
It’s great to see so many issues being explored through comic books, these five are a great place to start. Be warned they can become a pretty addictive read and you’ll soon be flying through whole series in a week!