I have always liked comic book movies/TV shows as far back as toddlerhood when I was obsessed with Wonder Woman (who was created by a man in the 40s to prepare people for the matriarchy he saw evolving in 100 years, for more Wonder Woman fun facts I highly recommend checking out Independent Lens: Wonder Woman if it comes on your local PBS station) but I didn’t read comic books mainly because I thought of them as being extremely male-centered and perpetuating unrealistic ideals about gender, sexuality, race, and body image (for everyone). Now this is not a post where I tell you that has all changed, but I will say that it is improving and that Marvel Comics, in particular, is trying to gain readership by appealing to women and minorities. Because of these changes I have started reading comics; in fact, I read a lot of comics so here are the one I am currently obsessed with and think people should read sadly my beloved Wonder Woman is NOT on this list because DC are a bunch of assholes (I also wrote this so I would stop sending Melissa badly written text messages about all of the awesome comics out now).
While doing research for this post I read a fantastic article in the Washington Post about Marvel’s drive to focus more on women and from a purchasing perspective I can say that I for one have bought into it hook line and sinker. Three of the six comics on this list are from Marvel. What I find most interesting and frustrating is that She Hulk and Captain Marvel both have ties to the Avengers and Captain Marvel also has ties to Guardians of the Galaxy both Marvel Studio movie tent poles (well they would like Guardians to be) and yet the only women featured in those movies are Black Widow, Maria Hill and Gamora. I’m not going to out-and-out blame Disney for the apparent disconnect in what’s going on at Marvel Comics (lots of female driven story’s written by women) versus Marvel Studios (a few female characters on both TV and film), but I would ask them to take a look at how much money Frozen made and think about adding some more female super heroes to their movies. I mean Captain Marvel is a beautiful blonde whose powers are almost the equivalent to Superman’s according to Wikipedia, she possesses “superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, flight, physical durability, a limited precognitive “sixth sense”, and a perfectly amalgamated human/Kree physiology that rendered her resistant to most toxins and poisons” and is “exceptional espionage agent, pilot, hand-to-hand combatant and marksman.” I can’t see any reason why Marvel Studios wouldn’t want this woman in ALL THE MOVIES. They could cast Margot Robbie from The Wolf of Wall Street.
I just started reading Captain Marvel with Part One of the “Higher, Further, Faster, More” story-line. I picked it because I was impressed that her uniform has long sleeves and pants, that her alias is not gender specific, and that it is was by a woman, Kelly Sue DeConnick which is rare but hopefully becoming less so in the comic book world. Since the 60’s Marvel has had to publish a Captain Marvel title every year or two due to copyright issues with DC. It has featured a range of dudes under this alias, in 2012 Major Carol Danvers AKA Ms. Marvel became the current Captain Marvel. DeConnick has been with the series since its inception in 2012. In this story-line, we follow Carol to space for the Avengers and goes on an adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy. I am three issues into this story-line and am pretty hooked. I highly recommend Captain Marvel for people who are looking to read a comic about an established superhero with a dry wit and love of cats (or flerkens). [I LOVE CATS!! ME ME ME! -M]
If you are new to comics and want to start with an origin story, I highly recommend the current edition of Ms. Marvel. Written by G. Willow Wilson, Kamala Khan is far more than just a Muslim, she is also an American teenager from Jersey City who is trying to come to terms with her new-found ability to shape shift as well as her complex feelings regarding her culture at home and that of the world and city around her. She initially made news in November when it was announced that she would be the first Muslim superhero. You might also like this if you enjoy reading things about teenage girls and there problems. I especially like that not only is the comic focusing a lot of time getting us acquainted with Kamala but also spending time getting us acquainted with her family, friends, and Jersey City.
Jennifer Walters isn’t just the super hero She Hulk she is also trying to start her own law practice after getting fired from one of the top law firms in New York City. She is smart, tall, green, and enjoys booze alone and/or with her bff Patsey Walker, AKA Hellcat. I’ve read the first three issues of the current series and I’m really digging the focus on Jennifer being a lawyer first and super hero second. I think she would be great as Tony Stark’s attorney in either/both the Iron Man or Avengers movies –get on it Marvel Studios.
From Greg Rucka
Queen & Country
When it was announced that Ellen Page will play MI6 agent Tara Chase from Greg Rucka’s comic Queen & Country I went on amazon and bought Queen & Country: Definitive Edition,Volume 01. I liked the story-lines in all three Operations. The art in the first two, “Operation: Broken Ground” and “Operation: Morningstar” portrayed Tara and her colleagues in a naturalistic gritty way but the art in “Operation: Crystal Ball” was gratuitous and would have been off-putting had I not read it last. It was particularly annoying because the only reason for the change was, I’m guessing, to appeal to more dudes, which sucks because Rucka is a great writer who has really inventive stories that he grounds in reality so they read better with naturalistic drawings, not boring, run-of-the-mill tiny waists and big tits. I am happy to report that I having begun to read Volume 2 the art has gone back to a more naturalistic interpretation.
After reading Volume 1 of Queen & Country I noticed that Rucka had written Lazarus which the comic store near my job had on their new-and-notable shelf. Lazarus is set in a dystopian future where earth is run by a few select ultra wealthy families and the rest of us either work for them (serfs) or are left for dead (waste). The focus is on Forever, a Lazarus who is her families bodyguard who can come back from the dead and keep fighting. Forever struggles with her place in the family and the demands of her job. I’m really interested in where this one is heading since it deals with complex issues that are looming in our future such as the environment, the power of money, science and genetics to name just a few.
Just plain AWESOME
And then there is Saga, recommended to me as a gift for my brother I ended up reading volume 1 before I wrapped it and then I immediately bought volume 2 on Amazon. Saga mostly tells the story of Hazel and her family BUT is also about space assassins and a wealthy class of robots. It features lots of strong women from Hazel’s grandmother Klara and her mother Alana both warriors for their respective species and then there is Hazel’s father’s ex-fiance Gwendolyn who is out to kill the whole family to name just a few. They also live in a spaceship that a tree that they found in a planet that had a forest of spaceships. It’s pretty fucking awesome.
Come back some time in July or August when I’ll write about graphic novels Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel, The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures by Phoebe Gloeckner and Bad Houses written by Sara Ryan. I will also talk about digital comic Bandette and OLD and NEW X-Men, X-Men: Days of Future Past and the all female X-Men because according to Marvel we demanded it.
Gif from brianlamontburgess.