We don’t know about you, but one thing we’ve never found ourself bemoaning is an over-abundance of well-rounded female characters in our lives. So, in the hopes of bringing some more awesome women to your attention in mediums you might not have had the chance to explore in depth, we’ve gathered together 5 fairly recent graphic novel and comic releases that feature diverse and well-written female protagonists that you can join on their vibrant, touching, and thought-provoking adventures.
5) Second Quest
From David Hellman, visual artist of the game Braid, and Tevis Thompson, independent writer and critic, Second Quest is a graphic novel that invites its readers to think about videogame culture. Using the familiar world of The Legend of Zelda as a springboard, Second Quest explores deeper themes such as sexism, xenophobia, and the propagandas that permeate society. The plot of the novel revolves around Azalea, a young girl who doesn’t accept the world she lives in and must choose between following her heart or suppressing her desire for adventure and truth for the greater good. Second Quest was successfully crowdfunded in 2012 and you can now download the ebook from the official website, where you can also read the first 20 pages for free. Second Quest is a thought-provoking and wonderfully rendered read, with a great female protagonist and its engagement with the conversation of how women are being represented in videogames makes it more than worthwhile for anyone interested in such a discussion.
4) Bitch Planet
Bitch Planet is a comic set in the near future, where women who cause trouble are deemed ‘non-compliant’ and sent to an Auxiliary Compliance Outpost called ‘Bitch Planet’ where they have to try to survive in the toughest of conditions. I think you can see where this is going. In this patriarchal world, it doesn’t take much to earn the title of non-compliant, it can come from something as simple as being fat. The cast of Bitch Planet is diverse in terms of their socio-economic background, race, sexuality, and personality and every third issue acts as a biography for one of this wide-ranging cast. The series is unapologetically feminist, it’s funny, and the art style of Valentine De Landro compliments the writing of Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick wonderfully.
3) In Real Life
Videogames aren’t always the most inclusive medium for women to be involved in and In Real Life is a graphic novel which tackles some of the many problems women face. Written by Cory Doctorow and featuring the fantastic art of Jen Wang, In Real Life is the story of gamer, Anda, who faces a series of moral dilemmas within the MMORPG world she’s recently joined. It’s a novel which offers women representation as gamers and raises interesting ideas about cultural differences, being a female gamer, and how online activity can affect our offline lives.
2) Rat Queens
Rat Queens is a fantasy comic series that’s been going since 2013. It revolves around a wonderful cast of kickass female mercenaries who inhabit a fantasy land of dragons, quests, magic, and killer hangovers. The adventures of the Rat Queens are chaotic, hilarious, and violent and each of the characters has her own distinct look and personality with a refreshing amount of depth. If you want to get involved, the first five issues can be found in one volume on Amazon where the series is described as “ Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack” How could you fail to be interested?
Nimona is the debut graphic novel from Noelle Stevenson that’s based on her massively successful webcomic and we hope she creates many more. Irreverent and very funny, this graphic novel is the story of Nimona, a shapeshifter and supervillain sidekick who has a knack for mischief and a mysterious past that’s catching up with her. Nimona might be flawed with villainous aspirations and a thirst for vengeance, but she’s also incredibly endearing and funny making her refreshingly unstereotypical and a genuinely enjoyable character to root for. This graphic novel has a wonderful cast of characters and Noelle Stevenson’s writing is as vibrant as her art.
Images via Amazon