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Listen. Right out the door. Ladies have all different kinds of tastes. I guarantee a whole bunch of female readers love the exact comics I do for one reason or another. I’ll get to the reason for the article in a second, hold on.
Comics — speaking mostly of the superhero comics now — do have something of a problem with openness to new female readers. I think it stems from the origins of superheroes as something of a male power fantasy. Indeed, comics have evolved since then and a lot of titles rise above it, but it’s easy for most comics to get stuck in that trap.
It’s a turn off for new, female readers and I get it. It’s really frustrating when male characters are underwritten (most of the guys in the Nu52 Teen Titans for instance) or written to artificially fulfill a hollow expectation (late-era, Daniel Way ‘LOL RANDUM’ Deadpool for instance).
Now, I’ve imagined if, say, a lady friend of mine asked me for recommendations on superhero comic books to get into, outside of what her tastes were, I’d really have to think on a comic that wouldn’t seemingly work to turn her away.
So, in case I’m called on to do this in the future, I’ve come up with some pretty simple recommendations to any lady friends looking to get into superhero comics.
Marvel NOW’s X-Men features not only an entire lineup of women, but a lineup of solidly written characters with real conflict and real emotion. This isn’t just a gimmick, this team works on an organic level. In fact, despite a minor backlash at its announcement, this comic book has been super well received.
Basically, and most importantly, it’s not just a good comic book that heavily features women characters, it’s just a good comic book in general.
The art is amazing, and doesn’t cast all the women in supermodel bodies. They all have their own body type and each relatively well within reason.
Plus, where DC promised “every female character in pants!” only to basically rescind that promise a few issues later, this issue contains some Marvel NOW redesigns that easily walk the line between cheesecake and actual functionality. Rogue is basically wearing a pantsuit for crying out loud.
Nothing but good buzz from this. Penned by a lady writer with the aim to create, among other things, a heroine who girls can look up to. Half my job is already done!
Featuring unique, eye-catching art and snappy writing, this would surely be a comic capable of getting new readers interested in the medium. Not to mention she’s a brand new character so there’s no need to memorize decades of trivia to keep everything straight.
Plus, not only is it a good treatment of a woman character, it’s also one of the more diverse characters out there. You don’t see a lot of superheroes with Muslim Pakistani backgrounds. It’s a good thing and something I hope we see more of.
Gail Simone’s sometimes controversial writing has long been known for not just it’s great treatment of women characters, but it’s great quality overall. It continues here with Batgirl as well. In fact, Gail was fired from the book, but public outcry got her back on almost immediately.
Constantly one of the best selling DC books out there, it’s a great way to get started with the Batfamily. It also features one of comic’s first openly transgendered characters, as well.
Although, to be fair, you’ll still have to put up with some comic tropes that tend to bleed in.
As a rule, I’d suggest this hypothetical lady friend branch out and see what catches her eye, advising her to steer more toward Marvel than DC. At least for now. I think their titanic success with the movies has pushed them to a place where they understand they’ll be getting an influx of new readers and the upper management doesn’t want to lose any potential customers.
Also, and this is important, there are a ton more comic books out there than the super heroes ones. And a lot of them have great female characters. Saga, Pretty Deadly, Fables, Zero, and Sandman just to name a few.
BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK? Did I misrepresent something? Are there any big ones I missed? Let me know if the comments below.