Skiffy and Fanty’s theme for 2015 fits in really well with the world of comics, which has been making conscious strides to feature more stories by women and about women, from the independent comics world (long the home of more diverse storytelling) to the Big Two, and across all ages and genres. So for this post, I’m going to share some quick recommendations for comics by and/or about women.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, VC’s Clayton Cowles
I had nearly forgotten how much fun silly comics could be, and The Unbeatable Squirrel-Girl brought me back to the light. I never really cared much about the character of Squirrel Girl before — she was kind of a one-joke character. “Her powers are dumb, but she beats everyone!”
What North, Henderson, Renzi and Cowles do with the character, however, is nothing short of delightful. Squirrel Girl (aka Doreen Green) decides to make a new start in life and enrolls in college; but she does a terrible job of being a civilian and immediately gets into massive trouble. Every panel and every page of this book is funny and fun.
But not only is she hilarious, Squirrel Girl is self-confident in a really encouraging and refreshing way, and she solves problems with more than just the proportionate strength and speed of a squirrel. If you want serious superhero deconstruction, go read something else, but if you want to laugh your whole way through a comic, try The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. It’s just two issues in, so you should be able to catch up no problem.
Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch, Marshall Dillon
One of the way comics are actively expanding is by remembering to sell to many different age ranges. Wayward is perhaps best described as a YA urban fantasy comic, a next-generation Buffy the Vampire Slayer set in Tokyo. We join our hero, Rori Lane, a half-Japanese, half-Irish girl, as she moves to Japan to live with her mother. Rori discovers that not only is Japan a big cultural departure from the US, it also sports monsters and magic and all sorts of trouble — and she’s somehow a part of it.
As someone who went through a notable anime and manga-loving phase in high school and pursued a degree in East Asian Studies and Mythology, this book is totally up my alley. The first trade paperback arrives April 7th, so you can grab it and then forge ahead with this series.
Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, Rico Renzi, VC’s Clayton Cowles
“What if the irradiated spider bit Gwen Stacey instead of Peter Parker?”
What could have served as a competent but forgettable one-shot What If? has instead spawned a whole new ongoing series, thanks to massive sales of Edge of Spider-Verse #2 — Gwen Stacey Spider-Woman. What was supposed to be a one-shot to introduce this version of the character for the Spider-Verse crossover event turned out to be so sharp and fun that Spider-Gwen is getting her own ongoing comic (hopefully lasting beyond Secret Wars) — starting this week.
And that’s it. What would you recommend?