Comic Books Written By Women That Prove The Medium Isn't Just For Teenage Boys
There are tons of awesome comics written by women. From superhero comics starring badass female characters, to more intimate, brainy narratives, there are plenty of books to choose from, no matter what your preferred genre is.
Many of the best comics of the last few decades have been written by women, whether it be Kelly Sue DeConnick's Pretty Deadly or G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel (let's give credit to their artists, too!). Best of all, the amount of female voices in comics seems to increase with each passing year; a major improvement over the boys club that was the 20th century comic book industry.
Today, we benefit from the ideas of so many brilliant female comic book writers. For example, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home is a touching memoir about her childhood that explores what it's like to grow up with an abusive parent.
Check out this selection of the best comics written by women, all of which prove the industry is no longer just for dudes.
- 155 VOTESPhoto: Pantheon
Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is one of those books you should have read by now. This comic book autobiography by the Iranian writer Marjane Satrapi tells the story of a girl growing up in the late 1970s and early '80s during the country's Islamic Revolution.
Published in two volumes, Persepolis and Persepolis 2, Satrapi chronicles her childhood in a culturally-fluctuating Iran, as well as her teenage and adult life abroad.
Satrapi captures what it was like to grow up during a time when women were suddenly told to follow new rules ushered in by a strict regime. Her stories about leaving home are full of melancholy and wistfulness for the Iran of her childhood.
This diasporic text is heartfelt, important writing that should not be ignored.
- 241 VOTESPhoto: Image Comics
Kelly Sue DeConnick. This Image series is unlike anything else out there. A feminist take on '70s exploitation films, Bitch Planet takes the reader to a dystopian society where "non-complient" women are sent away to a prison planet. Basically, if a woman isn't doing what her husband says, he can literally ship her off to another planet.
The series follows a group of prisoners, highlighting both their life in captivity where they have to struggle to survive, as well as who they were before they were arrested and sent to the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost.
DeConnick spins a masterful story about strong, independent women.
- 330 VOTESPhoto: Image Comics
Marjorie Liu. Monstress is a different kind of book. This Hugo Award-winning comic series tells the story of an "alternate Asia," where a species of magical creatures struggles to survive in a society comprised of sorceresses who revel in hunting down and eating them. Maika Halfwolf is one of these creatures, and she lost the people she loved most to the hungry sorceresses. Now, she's out for revenge.
While Monstress features many layers of meaning, writer Marjorie Liu told The Hollywood Reporter that her idea stemmed from the fact that she loves stories about girls fighting monsters.
"I wanted to write about girls and monsters, which has been a theme of mine from almost the start of my career — girls and giant monsters, and the supernatural. I wanted to tell a story about war, and surviving war — and I wanted to set it all in an alternate Asia."
With an almost completely female cast, Monstress highlights the perspectives of women on both sides of the war, and the story is all the better for it.
- 436 VOTESPhoto: Mariner Books
Alison Bechdel explores her own childhood in her graphic memoir, Fun Home, which is perhaps the saddest and most affecting work on this entire list. Bechdel carefully retraces the steps of her relationship with her father — a closeted homosexual prone to fits of rage — who eventually committed suicide. Bechdel also explores her own homosexuality, an aspect of her identity that connects the author to a father she was never close to.
Fun Home isn't an easy work to get through, as Bechdel tells and retells anecdotes from her past, each time with a new hint, clue, or realization that might unlock the path to understanding her life at home with her dad.
The story is bittersweet, as Bechdel uncovers more connections to her father than she originally anticipated, but also realizes that there will always be differences that push them apart.
- 522 VOTESPhoto: DC Comics
Marguerite Bennett. Do you ever miss the days when superheroes would take a break from crime fighting in their own cities to go punch Nazis? If you do, then DC Comics: Bombshells is the series for you.
Writer Marguerite Bennett reimagines World War II as a conflict fought by super-powered women such as Batwoman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman. Together, these three heroes — along with plenty of other female DC characters — take the fight to the Germans.
If you enjoyed watching Gal Gadot wreck enemy soldiers in the film adaptation of Wonder Woman, then you'll absolutely love everything Bombshells has to offer.
- 648 VOTESPhoto: Marvel
G. Willow Wilson. Huge changes came to the character of Ms. Marvel when a young, shape-shifting, Pakistani American named Kamala Khan became the first Muslim character to headline her own Marvel Comics series. There's so much to love about Kamala, who has to deal with a lot more than just fighting the many villains of the Marvel Universe.
Wilson, who converted to Islam, wanted to create a character who felt a sense of duty to her family and her community in Jersey City, and who struggled with her faith while fighting crime.
In an interview with The New York Times, Wilson explained that "This is not evangelism. It was really important for me to portray Kamala as someone who is struggling with her faith. Her brother is extremely conservative, her mom is paranoid that she's going to touch a boy and get pregnant, and her father wants her to concentrate on her studies and become a doctor."
Ms. Marvel continues to be one of the most unique takes on the superhero genre ever conceived. If you want a different kind of superhero tale, this is the book for you.