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Customer Discussions > Graphic Novel forum

Women-centered graphic novels

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Showing 1-25 of 80 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 6, 2011 10:17:52 AM PST
cosificando says:
Hi everyone!
I'm look for some recommendations for women-centered comix.
Let me clarify: by women centered, what I mean is
- Written by women
- Drawn by women
- About women

For example, I LOVED Fun Home. I also enjoyed Persepolis (although that french style is less my thing, but I did still like it). I also liked "Te quise como solo se quiere a los cabrones", but it is written by a woman and drawn by a man. You can tell. The male gaze is all over the place. I'm about to start Chico & Rita, but again, male artist who drew it and you can tell in the pages that I've leafed through.

(Also, any autoras españolas sería bastante guay!)

So, can anyone make any recommendations for me? The comic shops in my city have not been helpful (along the lines of "Have you read Wonder Woman?"), but I've been informed that the Spanish comic scene is still very young and with few women.
A warm pre-thanks to any answers!

Posted on Mar 6, 2011 1:46:24 PM PST
Esgaldil says:
Blue Monday and Scooter Girl by Chyna Clugston (artist/writer) come to mind - young adult humour/romance, very well made.

Posted on Mar 6, 2011 4:01:36 PM PST
Kenshiro28 says:
I know you were turned off by the super hero suggestion, but Birds of Prey written by Gail Simone was pretty good (though there were still mostly male artists, sorry to say).

Posted on Mar 6, 2011 4:25:29 PM PST
"La Perdida" by Jessica Abel is criminally underrated... it's the story of a young girl who moves to Mexico and becomes inadvertently involved in some politically revolutionary activity. Jessica has always been good in the alternative comics scene, but she really stepped her game up in this book... her story is good and her artwork is gorgeous!! She really commands the brush!! I can't recommend this one highly enough!!

anything by Julie Doucet... she's French-Canadian, so the French language does come up, but she's such an imaginative artist, you can surely forgive her!! I particularly like "My New York Diary" which recounts her loss of virginity and a toxic relationship she experienced while her star was on the rise, in the greatest city in the world, no less!! Her artwork is an acquired taste, to be sure, but it's charming and beautiful once you get into it. Fantastic stuff!!

"Summer of Love" by Debbie Dreschler... I believe Debbie (like Julie) has pretty much retired from comics, but this story (originally serialized in the 5-issue "Nowhere") is really great, set in the late 60s-early 70s, basically about a young woman's coming-of-age and her sister's subsequent embracing of the lesbian lifestyle. Her art is great as well.

Other artists to look out for include: Megan Kelso, Ariel Schragg and Carrie McNinch, who does a wonderful mini-comic called "You Don't Get There From Here", which basically is a diary in comics form... probably have to order it directly from her, though.

and I would feel remiss if I did not mention los Hernandez bros. They have been creating the fantastic "Love & Rockets" for over 20 years. Both Jaime and Gilbert have strong female characters in their respective serials... strong and believable, unlike the silly male power fantasies currently published by DC/Marvel!!

Hope this helps!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011 10:44:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2011 10:55:46 AM PDT
cosificando says:
I will have to try La Perdida... I saw it a while ago, but the weird translating really put me off. I couldn't wrap my head around that one; I wish there were a version that had the original spanish in it alongside the english. I will give it another look though.

Thank you Diamonddulius for all the recommendations!
It's just a real drag when it's hard to find women-centered graphic novels. I think a lot of people aren't really attuned to the issues that come with a male artist drawing a female author's work. It warps the true essence of the work (not always bad), but it's not a woman-produced piece anymore. Or that having stories with women in them (be they strong or whathaveyou) is great, but it is not the whole side of the story. Women's voices matter and I want to support women writing AND drawing comics!

I was just browsing for some of the recommendations and I came across this book, and I thought: "This is exactly what I mean!" So I thought I'd include it as an example of why I think it's important to distinguish between artists who are men and artists who are women:

Look at the cover of that book! It actually made me a bit nauseated... I don't want to expose myself to that kind of graphic novel.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011 1:43:26 PM PDT
You might like Beast by Marian Churchland (writer and artist).


There are a lot more female writers/artists in the manga realm than there are in Western comics.

Posted on Mar 18, 2011 5:50:21 PM PDT
Well, I wouldn't obsess so much on gender insomuch as the simple division of labor... the best comics are usually done by one person. One person writes and draws it. The division of labor came about to increase productivity... to churn out as much product as humanly possible. Again, I have to cite Los Hernandez bros as understanding the "female condition", so to speak. Their women are beautiful, but not objectified. They are strong and believable. The book you cite (Hazed) was published by Image, a company notorious for producing genre garbage. Not only do the artists working there not understand women, they rarely understand people in general... Superheroes are their stock-in-trade, and sales are infinitely more important to them than a genuine expression of an artist's point of view. Don't lose hope, more and more women are coming into the artform!!

Posted on Mar 18, 2011 8:31:34 PM PDT
Norman728 says:
Well, if your receptive to Manga as an alternative.

Try anything by CLAMP as they are an All-Female Production House. their more famous titles are:

Magic Knight Rayearth
Tsubasa Reserve Chronicle
Angelic Layer
all of which have been animated.

PS: All their works are peripherally connected.

Posted on Mar 21, 2011 8:16:24 AM PDT
Lukas Blakk says:
Skim by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

Posted on Mar 21, 2011 9:17:32 PM PDT
Persephone says:
Charm School Volume 1 (v. 1)

Posted on Mar 25, 2011 6:49:44 AM PDT
i just finished the first volume of Batwoman - which was written by a man and drawn by a man but which featured a strong female lead character and a top notch writer and artist team.

highly recommend the book to anyone looking for a female superhero done right.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2011 5:19:43 PM PDT
- Written by women
- Drawn by women
- About women

I can't recommend any of the following, as they fail the criteria.

Promethea - Alan Moore
Fables - Bill Willingham
Sandman - Neil Gaiman
The Maxx - Sam Kieth
The Vampire Lestat (Graphic novel) - art by a man, about mostly male characters.

Posted on Apr 8, 2011 3:01:22 AM PDT
L. Mcclung says:
There is a real difference between the ones created by men, and the ones by women. Alan Moore, for example has some strange lesbian fixation as they are portrayed literally as both saint and sluts. In that each book (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, etc) has a lesbian who is a savior, or one who has influenced the main characters' life, but is always dead already by the time the story starts. Promethea is like reading the research of Bailey, as gay men have the 'inner woman' are like women (really?). Neil Gaiman just doesn't get it. These are the 'positive examples' as often I simply have to put a book away as it makes me physically ill, yet the author/artist has won or nominated for the top awards. The Boys by Warren Ellis shows women to be only objects for men to have sex with, is extremely homophobic and the only female in the group of 'Heroes' who stop this is called 'The Female' and she never speaks but is 'kept' by one of the five men. This is top rated. Even in Walking Dead, the lingering over particular details, the rape and sex obsession focus make it have this edge of 'too much info' streaming from the mind of a guy. Yes, it is facinating and well written but I wouldn't want him to baby sit my daughters.

One book that is very good, written by a women is Skim, which won 8 or 9 awards.

If you look at her other book, it is part of the Minx line, which I think is a graphic novel line done by women for women. The highly recommended Plain Janes, is part of the Minx line, written and drawn by a woman.
The Plain Janes (Minx)

One coming of age book which I found bonding was Lost at Sea
Lost At Sea
Which seems to be written by a male, but is very much in the indie graphic novel about getting into a bad relationship and the numbness and just wanting to be and feel a time when that isn't where you are anymore.

It would be nice to read more graphic novels about females who have B or even A cups - like the semi famous poem: Ode to my itty bitty titties - which is from a woman about how she is tall but not so developed and her view of her breasts at 30 years old.

For manga, Claymore - a story set in a world where monsters called Yuma are killed by females specially trained and sent by an organization called Claymores. It covers the development and awareness of several of the women as they begin to see the organization is not there to help them, and find solutions to avoid it or perhaps even overthrow it. That is more in the fantasy action line.

Posted on Apr 8, 2011 9:53:23 AM PDT
V. R. Smith says:
Someone mentioned "Batwoman: Elegy" even though it's written and drawn by men, and I would really second that. The author is Greg Rucka, and his handling of female characters is absolutely top-notch. I know exactly what you mean by "male gaze," which is why I wouldn't recommend "Birds of Prey" even though it is written by a woman, but the art in "Batwoman" is amazing.

Also by Greg Rucka and worthy of a read is "Stumptown." Again, he does a great job with a flawed, relatable, real female character--this one is minus the superheroics.

Posted on May 5, 2011 1:03:31 AM PDT
Casey says:
If your recomending Greg Rucka and Women. You left out Queen & Country (Definitive vol.1-4 then the 3 novels A Gentleman's Game, Private Wars and The Last Run). Tara Chase is a fantastic realistic female. I could part with every book on my shelf for a price, but not this series. Rucka always puts women in a good light. Rucka's wife is a great writer Jen Van Meter(probably were he gets female input to make the women feel real). Maybe check out some of her stuff (Hopeless Savages, Spider-man:Black Cat....)

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2011 7:38:53 AM PDT
I am ashamed to say I haven't read many comics written by women. I understand the original posters worries about male artists kind of corrupting the vision of a female writer but I think that isn't always the case and it would be limiting to dismiss the Hernandez Bros work or Greg Rucka's stuff because of their gender.

I think Rucka and Williams Batwoman is pretty much the perfect female superhero book. Yes, she is a lesbian but this is never sensationalised and is a vital part of her backstory which I won't spoil here.

While I haven't read The Boys as far as I know isn't it kind of a satire of superhero comics? So The Female would be a comment on how most superhero teams have the token female member usually in a completely impractical fetishised outfit. That said I have flicked through it on occasion and it doesn't really seem like the kind of thing I would enjoy all that much but I know I can't really judge it without reading it.

Finally Lost At Sea is written by Bryan Lee O'Malley who has found more fame as the writer/artist of the Scott Pilgrim series. It also has lots of great female characters and is very funny and I'm sure would appeal to most women.

Posted on May 8, 2011 5:22:25 PM PDT
ron m. says:
I would suggest anything from Love and Rockets by the Hernandez brothers, especially Jaimie Hernandez. They have a number of collected editions out. It's a classic underground series that started in the 80's. Highly respected due to the great writing and characterizations as well as the artwork. Maggie the Mechanic (Love & Rockets)

Posted on May 9, 2011 10:51:43 AM PDT
Since you've already read Fun Home...have you read anything by Ariel Schrag? Her books are pretty fun. She's written Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag (High School Chronicles of Ariel Schrag), Awkward and Definition: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag (High School Chronicles of Ariel Schrag) and Potential: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag.

There is also Jane's World Collection Volume 1 by Paige Braddock. There are 8 volumes so far, and still counting. It's a great woman-centered comic that actually updates online.

My last suggestion would be Erica Moen, who makes DAR Volume 1 (A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary) and Dar Volume 2 (A super girly top secret comic diary). They are both autobiographical comics, written/drawn/etc all by her.

Hope this helps!

Posted on Aug 12, 2011 11:25:57 AM PDT
four women by sam keith- its about women. but its not written or drawn by one :( . But quite honestly I view Sam Kieth as America's answer to John Marsden. Marsden is a very popular writer here in Australia and he was made famous by writing books from a teen girls point of view.

I think you life would be very empty without Sam Keith in it, I really, really do! All his main characters are girls/women and he draws them like NORMAL people. I also love Richard Moore for doing the same thing with his big nosed curvy lasses.

btw quite a lot of manga artists and writers are female.

Posted on Aug 26, 2011 9:20:01 AM PDT
Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 is created by a guy, but man does Joss Whedon write an amazing female character.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2011 10:08:59 AM PDT
cosificando says:
Okay, it seems as though this thread has gotten off track. I was not and still am not looking for comix with "strong female characters".

Are there any more suggestions for comix that meet one or two of the criteria:

-Written by a woman
-Drawn by a woman

Posted on Aug 26, 2011 3:21:20 PM PDT
Sid says:
Rebecca Sugar, from Adventure Time, just put out a comic called Pug Davis. That's probably totally not what you're looking for though. Oh, but a guy did the cover, and a guy may have done the lettering. Who knows, it's a crazy world. But if you were to broaden the scope of this, I also would suggest anything by Sam Kieth. He's a brilliant writer and artist. For a guy.

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 3:32:15 AM PDT
Well, I couldn't leave this thread standing without mentioning Elfquest, by Wendy and Richard Pini.

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 3:36:02 AM PDT
Matthew Lane says:
My suggestion would be stop being so gosh darn sexist & just find a graphic novel in a genre you like... It doesn't matter who wrote it, if its well written. But if you insist on being myopic about it look into Womanthology.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 27, 2011 3:45:02 AM PDT
cosificando says:
How is it sexist to want to support women artists? This isn't to say that someone should read ONLY women authors and artists, but rather this is a thread to compile a list of authors and artists that are women so that people who are interested can buy their works.

There is nothing "myopic" about trying to find graphic novels that are about and were created by a member of over half of the world's population. Despite your passive-aggressive insults, thanks for the suggestion of Womanthology.
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Discussion in:  Graphic Novel forum
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Initial post:  Mar 6, 2011
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