I Read Comics Like A Girl is your weekly article talking about female representation in comics and all the best female-fronted titles out in print.
I’m riding a Mad Max high right now. It feels like everyone else has seen it already, which is ludicrous because it hasn’t even been out a week, but that’s a testament to the reactions people have been experiencing to this movie. It’s loud, it’s violent, and it’s more than a little campy, but it’s an amazing example of the different faces of representation. We’ve talked before about how strong isn’t the only thing we want from female characters, but in the world of Mad Max, it’s precisely that strength that makes these women remarkable—and realistic. This is a good week for female-fronted media, on the screen and on the page. With that in mind, let’s talk about some exciting titles that come out this week:
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett
Art by Jorge Molina
This widely-anticipated book not only features an all-female Avengers cast, but it’s being written by two incredibly talented women who have proved their mettle in the field of female superheroes: G. Willow Wilson, who we know and love for creating Kamala Khan and writing a fresh, young, and empowering Ms. Marvel, and Marguerite Bennett, who has been writing the Neil Gaiman original Spawn character Angela, arguably the character that invented the term “badass bitch.”
Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella & Jennifer Blood
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Nancy Collins
Art by Dave Acosta
This, too, has been incredibly anticipated since we first learned that the Fairy Godmother of women in comics, Gail Simone, had personally assembled a team of female creators to work on an epic crossover of all of Dynamite’s best female characters. I know a lot of people—male and female—who have been hesitant to pick up some of Dynamite’s female fronted titles, for reasons similar to what we’ll talk about later with Zenescope. When you have a cover that is 90% sexualized female anatomy, it’s hard to look past the objectification, and in comics we all judge a book by its cover. But with writers like Nancy Collins on the job, no matter how physically impossible and gravity-defying Vampi’s costume is, the character has dimension, personality, depth. Much like in Mad Max, the secret to enjoying the aesthetics of Vampirella and Jennifer Blood are to acknowledge the camp.
The Little Mermaid #4
Published by Zenescope
Written by Meredith Finch
Art by Miguel Mendonca
Zenescope has a pretty bad rap in the industry, and if you’ve seen their covers—frankly, if you’ve seen the anatomically ludicrous interiors—you probably understand why. It’s hard to see that many pornography-proportioned plastic looking people and take the story seriously, but some of the titles are worth giving a chance. The Little Mermaid is more than just wank fodder, it’s more than just a pornographic retelling of a children’s classic, it’s a fascinating story with its own life. At some points it subverts our nostalgic view of the 1989 Disney classic, at others, it alludes to the gruesomeness of the original Han Christian Andersen tale, all while incorporating new and unique storylines—in this case, discussing the ethics (or lack thereof)) of scientific exploration.
Sailor Moon Biker Gang art by Babs Tarr