Here are 5 comics series to read if you are new to the genre
In case you are wondering, comics are indeed back in style.
From the success of this summer’s Suicide Squad to the popularity of The Flash and Supergirl, comic book culture is having a moment in the mainstream — so now is the perfect time for you to start reading comics. Whether you’re browsing through your favorite bookstore or looking for a new show to watch on Netflix, comics are everywhere — from popular series being rebooted into books for a new generation of readers, to cartoons and TV shows starring some of comics’ most popular (and not-so-popular) heroes.
Are you interested in getting into comics and reading about the cool women who live in the comic world, but don’t know where to start? Here are 5 titles that you should get your hands on the next time you’re perusing your local comic book shop, bookstore, or blog.
1. Bitch Planet, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro
Bitch Planet, from its debut, came out with a bang. The name alone tells it all — the story focuses on the world in the not-so-distant future, where women can be placed in jail for being “noncompliant.” And “noncompliancy” is defined by everything from being too fat, too skinny, or not feminine enough. The women of Bitch Planet are ruthless and real, and plot their survival in a world that is bent on destroying their spirit.
The book takes a no-nonsense approach to tackling racism, sexism, and overall oppression (think Orange is the New Black in a sci-fi setting). And the way that women of color and other marginalized women take center stage is something that is still largely unseen within media — and that we need to see a lot more of. With the second volume coming out this fall, it’s the perfect time to catch up.
2. Ms. Marvel, editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artist Adrian Alphona
Contrary to popular belief, comics can be a great medium for teenage girls to dive into. One of my favorite series made its way into my heart precisely for this reason. Ms. Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson, focuses on 14-year-old Kamala Khan: a Jersey City native trying to navigate school and the pressure to fit in. After winding up in a freak accident one night, she wakes up to find her life changed forever — and she starts on the path to becoming a superhero.
What’s great about Kamala is how relatable she is. She writes fanfiction, fangirls after other superheroes (her superhero persona was inspired by Captain Marvel), and argues with her parents. Ms. Marvel is also one of the few pieces of mainstream media out today that realistically portrays a Muslim family (and the first Muslim-American to headline her own comic series by Marvel).
Blending tradition with modern crime-fighting, Ms. Marvel shows us some of the best things about being a superhero — especially when that hero is a teenage girl.
3. Agents of the Realm, Mildred Lewis
Webcomics, or comics published by indie artists online, are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to buying traditional superhero comics. They’re also a great option for those who are unsure of what genre interests them, or for those who are looking for better representation than mainstream comics will allow.
Agents of the Realm is an ongoing webcomic series created by Mildred Lewis. Centered on five young women after their first year at university, they discover their alternate identities as magical girls — superheroes with the ability to transform to fight evil and save the day. Inspired by the complexity and cuteness of traditional magical girl media (think Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura), Lewis adopts the genre for American audiences — and tells a story that truly captivates audiences.
If you’re looking for something gorgeously drawn with a story that sucks you in, check out Agents of the Realm.
4. Saga, writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples
For those of you who might be into fantasy, look no further than Saga. This book has been given the seal of approval from more of my non-comics reading friends than anything else on this list. Saga may be the best place to start if you’re uncertain about whether you’ll enjoy comics.
Saga combines fantasy, post-apocalyptic action, love, and loss. Set in the middle of a post-apocalyptic war between two rival peoples, two lovers and their newborn daughter try to defy the odds and survive. The story mixes a variety of storytelling elements to create something new, and it works so well.
If you’re looking for something that mixes science fiction with action and romance, Saga might just be the pick for you.
And to round out this list, we have Lumberjanes. This series is quietly feminist, and all around a fun read, as it focuses on a group of girls and the antics they get themselves into at summer camp. Perfectly nostalgic for the carefree vibes of summer, Lumberjanes quietly challenges the notion of girlhood — and allows us all to explore a variety of ways to express that without feeling obligated to traditional femininity.
Though there are only five picks on this list, I’m sure there’s something for everyone. Which one is your favorite – and what recommendations would you add to this list?