Kick-Ass Female Ensembles in Graphic Novels

Amanda Diehl

Staff Writer

Amanda Diehl escaped to Boston to get her MA in Publishing & Writing. Though she loves her new home in the Northeast, she will forever mourn the loss of Publix and sweet tea. As for Amanda’s voracious love of reading, she got it from her mama, though her favorite genres are romance, horror, and the occasional memoir. She reviews romance novels for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and when she’s able to scrounge together some free time, you can find her napping in front of the TV with the latest trashy reality show or scarfing down brunch-related foods. Twitter: _ImAnAdult

With Marvel dominating the box office as of late, there’s no shortage on ensemble, male-heavy superhero casts. For those of you suffering from testosterone, crime-fighting overload, I’ve got the perfect remedy for you! Meet some awesome comic book women who aren’t after saving the world and don’t need a host of superpowers to kick a little ass.

SagaTC800WSaga: Saga is everywhere and to me, it deserves every ounce of exposure it’s getting. Described to me as a space opera-esque Game of Thrones, I was immediately hooked. With notable females such as Alana – our mama bear protagonist, The Stalk – a spiderwoman (Not talking Peter Parker here) freelance assassin, Izabel – your resident ghostly babysitter, and Lying Cat – my personal favorite, there’s a female role model for everyone. I also might add that this is not an exhaustive list and bonus points to Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples for featuring women of color.

Revival: For fans of the horror genre, Revival is a graphic novel that focuses on the undead in rural Wisconsin. This isn’t a zombie story where a world is ravaged by the post-apocalyptic infected.  Instead, the dead are coming back to life, but not like your typical hungry-for-brains counterparts. Often, they undead retain parts of themselves and may appear relatively normal. Officer Dana Cypress, a serious woman with more problems than she lets on, is appointed to handle business. And handle business she does. With a dysfunctional, sisterly relationship at its core, Revival is a more touching narrative than the scythe-wielding woman on the cover implies.

lumberjanes comic coverLumberjanes: Heavily recommended by the Book Riot community, Lumberjanes follows the adventures of five BFFs at the Lumberjane Scout Camp. Toss out the s’mores making and the Kumbaya singing and replace it with battling yetis and Scooby Doo-style mysteries. An all ages comic, Goodreads summarizes it as a combination between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gravity Falls, two things that I should probably have tattooed on my body on account of my love for them. While Saga and Revival have more of an individual female cast, as some of the ladies act independently of one another, Lumberjanes focuses on the awesome group female dynamic and, as someone raised on the girl group greats like The Golden Girls and Designing Women, Lumberjanes warms the cockles of my heart with its camaraderie and sisterhood.

Rat Queens: If you prefer fantasy and like your heroines a little more rowdy, Rat Queens features a quartet of foul-mouthed adventurers. Writer, Kurtis Wiebe, describes the series as a cross between Lord of the Rings and Bridesmaids. With its fair share of magic and monsters, Rat Queens is more than just your traditional D&D setup, featuring a rockabilly elven mage, a hippy thief, an atheist cleric, and dwarven hipster warrior, who claims she started shaving her beard way before it was cool. Weapons-for-hire, these ladies are all about gettin’ their bread by any means necessary.

I know I’ve left off a huge list of comic book greats and the Book Riot team had some awesome additional mentions like Love and Rockets, Sex Criminals, Halo Jones, Fables, and Tank Girl. Which ones would you add to the list?