This year has been a great year for ladies fronting their own series in the comic world. There’s a number to mention, but here are my Top 5 Female Comic Leads of 2014!
The criteria for this list is that the series has to have issues published this year and doesn’t exclude digital only series. Of course, if you disagree with my choices or think that there’s another series that deserves the top spot, let me know in the comments! It’s always interesting to see what others think.
Let’s get down to it…
SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN
This year saw a digital first series featuring Wonder Woman, starting back in August. For only 69p an issue, the series provided short stories following Wonder Woman’s adventures around the world. What makes this series special is how it brings together a big collaboration in artists and writers, to showcase their artwork and writing skills through the medium of Wonder Woman. My favourite issue of this series so far has been #7, where Diana isn’t just Wonder Woman, but the front woman of a rock band called ‘Bullets and Bracelets’ drawn by Marguerite Sauvage and written by Sean E. Williams. There’s some great variety amongst the individual issues, from a more classic comic style in Ethan Van Sciver’s work and the entire series is kicked off with Gail Simone’s heading the first two issues.
Batgirl kicked off again under Gail Simone’s hand back when the New 52 was getting the ball rolling in 2011. Barbara Gordon reprised her role as Batgirl after a retcon on her paralysis, which was met with some scrutiny amongst fans. However, despite that since 2011 the series has stood strong over the years and this year with Issue 35 we saw a complete overhaul in Babs’ costume, artwork and story direction. We jump from the climatic finale against Knightfall and straight to Barbara leaving for college, some of the continuity is intact, including the little spat between Black Canary and Barbara. The reboot, that isn’t really a reboot, only has three issues out at the moment, but it’s a perfect chance for new readers to jump in and get to know Barbara Gordon. The new series is a fantastic starting point, written by Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart with art by Babs Tarr and propels Batgirl into a setting far more relatable to her readers.
If you’re not familiar with The Wake, it’s totally one worth checking out. Written by Scott Snyder, this 10 part mini series started last year and just finished back in July this year. Unlike Batgirl and Wonder Woman, The Wake give you two female leads in the forms of Dr Lee Archer in issues 1-5 and Leeward in the last 5 issues, not to mention the spectacular villain, The Governess. This comic isn’t for the faint of heart, suggested mature for a reason, The Wake is primarily a horror, you could say it’s Alien meets The Abyss, but it’s so much more in depth than that. If you haven’t given The Wake a shot, do yourself a favour and go and get it. Right now.
This one ought to go without saying. The new Ms. Marvel in the form of Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Muslim headline superhero (but not the first Muslim superhero!). Kamala took over the mantel from Carol Danvers after her promotion to Captain Marvel back in February this year. Created by Sana Amanat and written by G. Willow Wilson, the writing is authentic to Kamala’s Muslim-American origin. Representation is a big deal in the media world at the moment and Kamala is a fantastic step forward for Marvel in trying to achieve that. The past part about this though? It’s actually a damn good series anyway, it’s not just some half assed attempt to make Marvel’s line up more inclusive. Kamala is funny, she’s smart and she’s kick ass. Definitely worthy of my number 2 slot.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Image comics, so it’s no real shocker that it’s an Image comic that takes my number one spot. Rat Queens is fantastic. If you’re a fan of a more fantasy genre with magic, swords and ogres and general badassery. The series follows the Rat Queens, a professional adventuring party of the elf mage, Hannah, Dee the cultist who happens to be an athiest cleric, Betty the halfling thief and Violet the beard shaving warrior dwarf. The comic again is for mature readers, it doesn’t hold back on anything in terms of sex, gore and awesome parties. Rat Queens has a colourful cast of characters, including the other pro adventurers like the Four Daves. Rat Queens has is fantastically written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and beautifully drawn by the duo Roc Upchurch and Stjeban Šejić. Wiebe himself has described the concept of the series as ‘Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids’ and.. That’s a pretty accurate sumation of it.
So those are my Top 5 Female led comics of the year. These are the ones I truly believe are the ones to be watching in 2015, as the writing is consistently good, the artwork is fantastic and all of the women in these comics are well rounded and show that a well written female character isn’t just a male character with boobs. They’re strong but they’re vulnerable, interesting and have their own flaws, goals and desires. There’s nothing 2D about any of these women.
Now for my honourable mention, the real one to watch in 2015. You probably won’t be too surprised by this one, but it’s absolutely worth talking about…
The reason that Thor didn’t make my top five is because it’s literally just started, with only three issues out at the moment. You could argue the same of Batgirl, but her continuity is still strong whereas Thor is entirely new with the mantel handed over. The identity of Thor is still unknown, but fans have been scurrying away in trying to figure it out since her first appearance. All we know is that it’s someone who can walk on the moon without much difficulty. Thor will also provide a fantastic start point into the new Avengers team alongside Falcon’s new role as Captain America.
So what’re your thoughts? What would you put as your top 5 female led comics of the year?