Star Wars Characters Who Deserve Their Own Books or Movies

It’s no secret that I love Star Wars. Despite growing up in the ’80s and having a white Princess Leia toothbrush, I don’t remember ever being a fan of that galaxy far, far away as a child. I remember liking the Ewoks, but I’m pretty sure I only had that toothbrush because my grandfather’s pharmacy sold them. I think my brother had an Ewok one, if I remember correctly. Anyway, toothbrush aside, Star Wars held no interest for me until late 2016, when my boss told me I should really see the movies, starting with Episode IV (which made NO sense to me at the time).

So after my then-5-month-old went to bed, I watched A New Hope, and the rest, as they say, is history. For those few hours, I got to be part of a different world. My exhaustion and weariness fell away, and I felt…hopeful, for the first time in a long time. At a time when I was struggling as a new parent, deeply exhausted, nervous about the upcoming election, and feeling very alone, Luke, Leia, and Han brought me into the fold. I could see why Leia was such a different female protagonist at that time, and how important that must have been. Only a few months later, her image would be everywhere during the Women’s March, and it struck me that I wasn’t the only one who looked to Leia for hope and inspiration.

Shortly after that, I watched the rest of the original trilogy, tried (and failed) to watch the prequels, and then a few months later, watched Rogue One. I would rewatch Episodes IV and V whenever I needed to feel better (which was a lot). About 6–8 months later, I started dipping my toe into the Star Wars comics, and shortly after that, tried some books, the first one being Bloodline by Claudia Grey. Yes, Leia remained—and remains—a favorite. I’ve since surrendered to the Star Wars love, and read many of the comics. Book-wise, I am working my way through both Canon and Legends. One of the things I love about Star Wars is how vast the world is. So many planets and worlds and backstories and characters: there is always more to learn and more to read about.

The teaser for Episode IX dropped recently, and I admit, I am still bitter that it’s not going to be Leia’s movie, as originally envisioned. How I would have LOVED a Leia movie. I’m holding out hope that one will be made in the future (hint, hint, LucasFilm/Disney…I mean, if you need some ideas, I’ve got plenty). But although I adore Leia, there are so many great characters whom I’d love to read more about in their own books or see in their own movies. Here are just a few.

Mara Jade

I recently read the original Thrawn trilogy, since everyone told me that was the place to start with Legends (and they’re not wrong). Filled with wonderful characters, I was especially intrigued by Mara Jade. Since finishing the trilogy, I’ve read more about her and there is just so much to learn and so many stories and potential books that could be written from her life. Such a complex, fiery character and I really hope she somehow makes it into the new canon somewhere. There have been rumors about her possible appearance in Episode IX, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Winter Celchu

I first read about Winter in the Thrawn trilogy. Raised as a sister to Leia after her parents died, Winter later became Leia’s aide, and helped raise Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin Solo. She’s in a lot of the Legends books, but oh, how I would love a Winter-centric book (it would also provide backstory to Leia, which I’m always here for).

Enfys Nest

Who could forget that reveal in Solo? (And I didn’t even love that movie.) I mean, COME ON. A wise-beyond-her-years teenager leading the Cloud-Riders and born into a family where the women helped to protect the galaxy—there is so much story here, waiting to be told and developed and expanded upon. I know her character is fairly new, but I hope it’s developed somewhere.

Shmi Skywalker

I feel like Shmi gets short shrift. I recently read the novelization of The Phantom Menace and as a mother, it ripped my heart out to read her separation from Anakin. I’d love more of Shmi, more backstory, and her take on the galaxy and raising a young Anakin. We often think of her as a means to the bigger story, but without her, there’d be no bigger story.

Lumiya (Shira Brie)

Yes, I am Rebel Alliance through and through, but sometimes the Dark side has some pretty interesting characters—hello Asajj Ventress, Boba Fett, and Thrawn. And the more I learn about Lumiya, the more I want to read about her life. She grew up in the heart of the Empire and was groomed by its leaders, had impeccable Empire training, infiltrated the Rebel Alliance and received several commendations from them, and was eventually killed by Luke Skywalker. Her story is complex, her creation is layered, and damn if I don’t want a book about this person.

Seriously, though, there are a ton of characters whose stories would make for awesome books, movies, or comics. Fellow Rioter S.W. Sondheimer wrote an article about this a few years ago, which you can read here. She brings up Breha, Hera, Sinjir, and Mon Mothma, among others. There’s also Tenel Ka, the Nightsisters, Quinlan Vos (yes, he has Dark Disciple but that’s only a small part of his life), Shaak Ti, and so many more.

Which Star Wars character do you want more of in a comic, book, or movie?

Fashion Disasters: Power Girl

Some comic book characters who have been around for decades have iconic costumes that have stood the test of time. Some have progressed through a series of stylish ensembles to reflect their ever-changing time periods.

And some, apparently, get dressed in the dark.

Here on Fashion Disasters, we’ll showcase those poor slobs who just can’t seem to get it right. Today: Power Girl! (You knew this was coming, didn’t you?)

Power Girl has long had a controversial costume, with her iconic look shrouded in rumor and apocrypha (if not shrouded in much else). The sad truth is that that costume? The one you’re thinking of? That’s probably the best look she’s ever had. But let’s take it from the top!

Power Girl debuted in All Star Comics #58 (February 1976), as a new member of the Justice Society of America, which at the time was operating on Earth-2, a parallel world to the more familiar Earth-1. Power Girl—also known as Kara Zor-L, or Karen Starr—was Earth-2’s answer to Supergirl. Like Supergirl, she was Superman’s cousin and a Kryptonian refugee. Unlike Supergirl, she debuted not in the demure ‘50s but the swingin’ ‘70s, and so came complete with a more adult costume, a kicky short haircut, and a proud Women’s Lib attitude.

Also, that costume.

The apocryphal story about the costume is that Wally Wood, the artist who designed Power Girl, kept making her breasts—and the hole in her costume, commonly known as a “boob window”—bigger with every issue, waiting to see if his editor would stop him. Supposedly, the story goes, no one ever did, and Peej quickly became known as one of the most stacked heroines in comics. I’ve read Power Girl’s time in the JSA and haven’t been able to trace any kind of steady increase in cup size, but that story is a great example of the kind of slobbery “hur hur” humor that Power Girl is almost constantly subjected to. The fact that she was introduced as an outspoken feminist probably didn’t help; in fact, it seems to have increased the glee male creators and critics take in mocking her body.

And actually, Peej rotated through three slight variations on that original costume in the late ’70s. One covered up the boob window; the other traded it for a simpler scoop neck.

In fact, for all the boob window’s infamy, the scoop neck probably had more appearances in the Bronze Age than any other version.

In 1985, however, DC eradicated Earth-2—and all Kryptonians but Superman—with Crisis on Infinite Earths. By rights, Power Girl would have been doubly gone. But someone up there liked her, and so she stuck around, with a revamped origin. Instead of being an alternate universe Superman’s cousin, she was the granddaughter of an ancient Atlantean sorcerer who had been kept in magical stasis for millennia to protect her from his enemies. Also, she was vulnerable to “natural objects,” so you couldn’t shoot her with a gun, but you could hit her with a tree branch. Comics!

This new origin required a new look, and so we got…this

I mean, it’s…different. And the cowl neck is…cozy? Honestly, this costume is a great example of how more fabric doesn’t necessarily mean less objectification, considering how hard it works to make it look like her boobs and butt are hanging out even though she’s fully clothed.

But it’s not her fault. It was the ’90s. Everyone in comics looked like that, even Batman. (Especially Batman.)

(No, I don’t know why she’s on fire. That’s not an Atlantean power. They’re too damp.)

A couple years later, she returned to her typical color pattern—and to inexplicable combat cleavage—with this:

Is it easier to look at this if I promise you this is as bad as it gets? I mean. The boots. The piping. The diamond boob window. The epaulets. The HEADBAND.

Hmm, what does this remind me of?

via GIPHY

When even Olivia Newton-John is judging you, you know it’s bad.

(Terribleness of the costume aside, this cover is legit amazing. More superheroes should fight living statues while their teammates are like “Uh…?”)

Thankfully, the ’90s couldn’t last forever, and in the early aughts, Power Girl returned to her classic look (as well as her classic origin story). Somewhere over the course of the ’80s and ’90s, however, comic book art became less anatomically correct and more stylized, which meant that the old look had a new…intensity:

It was reclaimed a bit when Amanda Conner started drawing the character, so much so that I think that when most people think about Power Girl, they think of Conner’s version:

And really, that’s well-deserved. There’s a personality to Conner’s Peej, a joyfulness and a solidity and a genuinely fashionable sensibility. Sure, the boob window is bigger than ever, with no visible means of support underneath it, but the seaming of the costume, the redesigned boots, and the stylish haircut (hard to tell in this windblown image, but Conner gives great hair) all contributed to make this Power Girl feel like a person and not just angry cleavage.

This was…not the case for every artist around this time:

But! As with so many other characters, Peej got a new look courtesy of the 2011 New 52 reboot. Unfortunately, again as with so many other characters, it was a really really bad look. Two looks, technically:

In the front is her new Power Girl costume, which…well, styling a P around one breast is certainly a choice. As is all the detailing. And making the whole thing very obviously footie pajamas. And the weird Farrah Fawcett hair.

In the back is…wait, does that cape have cap sleeves? Why is this costume so weird???

Anyway, yeah, in the back is the costume this version of Peej wore as Supergirl back on Earth-2 before popping over to Earth-1:

I included this in my Supergirl costume rankings where I put it at #35 (out of 49) and declared it a mess, but a charmingly specific-to-Supergirl’s-1970s-aesthetic mess. I stand by that.

After a few issues in the P-boob costume, Power Girl’s new look got…literally torn off of her in a fight with Supergirl. Yeah. I know. Supergirl’s underwater version of the Fortress of Solitude generated a new look for Karen that was awfully familiar…

Like the Amanda Conner redesign, this look (by Mahmud Asrar) is a thoughtful reexamination of Power Girl’s classic look, this time answering the question: “What would that costume look like if it was generated by a sentient underwater robot house?” (A question we’ve all asked ourselves in many contexts.) I like the collar and the belt, and the detailing on the boots and gloves and seaming on the suit is science-y without being too fiddly.

After a few years, though, Power Girl returned to Earth-2 and a more Supergirl-branded costume:

This is legitimately Very Good, sartorially speaking. It evokes her classic look while gracefully sidestepping the boob window issue; it’s clean but not boring; there’s a nice balance of blue and red; the gloves and cape are interesting without being overly busy. I genuinely love it, as a costume.

The problem is, it’s a Supergirl costume, and this is Power Girl. From her very first appearance, she declared herself to be independent of his name, his iconography, and his legacy. As much as I love Superman and the whole Superfamily, slapping an S-shield on a grown-up Karen Starr feels disrespectful.

But without the shield, what do you do with the elephant in the room? And here’s where I confess that I truly, legitimately like Power Girl’s classic look, complete with boob window. I like the crispness of the white. I like the silhouette. I like the gold epaulet, when she’s got it. When drawn by Wally Wood or Amanda Conner, the cheesecakery is secondary to the craftsmanship and character, and it’s a look that’s uniquely hers, which is difficult to find in our superhero-saturated culture.

None of that changes the fact that it’s ridiculous, or that it’s the source of so much sophomoric humor and polarizing debate that it’s become a distraction. Or that the comics themselves have twisted themselves into ever more agonized contortions to justify it. See, for example, this scene from JSA: Classified #2 by Conner and Geoff Johns, where Karen explains her wardrobe choices to Superman:

You heard it here, folks: Power Girl has a hole in her costume because she’s not as good as Superman. Looking at her weeping as her breasts attempt to annex her neck, and reading dialogue that even Shakespeare would think was leaning a little hard on the genitalia metaphor, I have to conclude that there’s no salvaging this ensemble, whether I like it or not. The costume’s got to go.

Power Girl is back in the classic look, but she’s also, as near as I can tell, trapped in some kind of realm between worlds, and has been for over a year. Still, if she survived the original Crisis, she can survive anything, so she’s sure to be back soon. For all our sakes, let’s hope it’s in a different costume.

Previously in this series:

Roy Harper
Guy Gardner
Elektra

The Wonder Woman Comic That Will Offend Everyone

If you are unfamiliar with Wonder Woman’s earliest adventures, let me be the first to inform you that they are bananapants. Not only are the plots themselves flat-out bananas—“Let’s tell a story from the point of view of a pine tree that helps Wonder Woman defeat Nazis in Canada and reunite a woman with her abusive dick of a husband!”—but the morals are often…head-scratching. (See the aforementioned reunion between woman and abusive dick.)

One particular story from Wonder Woman #1, published in 1942, is the epitome of everything wrong with Golden Age Wonder Woman. It starts from the second that Wondy and her friend/sidekick, Etta Candy, head off to Texas on a train with a caricature of a black person.

Wonder Woman 1 Etta and Diana

This is the recolored version of this page. I’ll leave it to you to imagine what the original looks like. (Hint: it is not better.)

Before we have time to recover from that nonsense, they throw us into the weirdest fatphobic dialogue I have ever clapped eyes on.

Wonder Woman 1 Diana and Etta

The heck does that even mean, Diana? Fortunately, this issue ends with Etta telling Diana she doesn’t like dieting and demanding her candy back.

Oh, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Plot stuff happens, and our heroines (?) encounter a couple of Axis agents in the form of two Mexicans: Pancho, a phony ranch hand, and Pepita, your standard issue Spicy Latina.

Wonder Woman 1 Pepita and Mint

As a Mexican American, I, too, lure unsuspecting men to their doom with tainted cigarettes and a poorly written accent.

(The dude there is Etta’s brother, Mint. He’s kind of a knucklehead, so if you want to add “dumb country hick/hillbilly stereotype” to the list of this comic’s sins, you’d be well within your rights.)

Pepita is (reluctantly) working under some Japanese spies, none of whom I am going to show you because it is so, so bad. There’s also some racist wordplay in here, which I am also not going to show you, but I posted it on my Tumblr, if you have the stomach to click through.

And finally, just in case you weren’t offended by all the cruelty to humans, we get some cruelty to animals! Didn’t I mention? Pepita is an expert bullfighter.

Wonder Woman 1 Pepita

It’s like this comic was trying to hit all the squares on a-hole bingo. Good grief.

But again, the problems exemplified in this issue were not isolated cases. Anti-Japanese sentiment in particular was rife throughout Wonder Woman’s earliest adventures. And characters both good and evil felt the need to poke fun at Etta’s weight on a regular basis.

For all that Wonder Woman has been lauded as the first great superheroine—a woman who could kick just as much ass as any of her male counterparts—there are some remarkably un-progressive, un-feminist ideas in here. For instance, women working with the Nazis are never truly guilty: they have invariably been forced to serve such vile masters (except for that one time the woman turned out to be a male Japanese spy in disguise). That includes everyone from Pepita to Baroness von Gunther, who was Wondy’s first recurring supervillain…until we find out the Baroness was only working for the Third Reich because they were holding her daughter captive.

And reuniting a woman with her husband is always seen as a happy ending, no matter what. Wonder Woman comments that she is jealous of the wife in Sensation Comics #9, even though her husband had previously chained her to the stove to prevent her from getting a job.

Sensation Comics 9

1. That’s Wonder Woman in disguise, not his actual wife. Not that it helps.

2. Who has chains just lying around the house? Does…does he chain her up often???

The story ends with the husband making a fortune manufacturing a new weapon, so his wife doesn’t need a job after all. PROBLEM SOLVED.

I imagine it’s quite jarring for modern readers, who often think of Wonder Woman as a feminist icon, to be reminded that she was created by a flawed man in a flawed, thankfully bygone era. It certainly threw me for a loop, and I already knew about half this comic’s questionable content before diving in.

But if you’re willing to wade through those flaws—and make no mistake: they are numerous—then Wonder Woman’s early adventures are entertaining, ridiculous, and entertainingly ridiculous. You’ll get giant space kangaroos, Martian field trips via astral projection, and a heaping helping of Diana’s heckin’ stylish culottes. Plus it’s fun to see where the Amazing Amazon started out, and to remember how far she’s come.

All of the comics discussed here can be found in Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Volume 1.

6 Environmental Comics to Celebrate Earth Day

Since we are nearing Earth Day (April 22), I thought it would be fun to explore some comic books that explore the environment, sustainability, and/or climate change. Here is a list of six books that cover these topics in various ways.

I’m Not a Plastic Bag  by Rachel Hope Allison

I'm_not_a_plastic_bag

This short comic starts with the journey of a plastic bag and other plastic items to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. However, the comic manages to bring together humanity’s excess use of plastic, and our desire for connection. An imaginative and magical read.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki

Nausicaa

While many may know this title from the animated movie, this manga tells the story of a war that subsumed the earth in an environmental disaster. Nausicaä, a princess of the Valley of the Wind, adventures into the toxic forest, making discoveries and fighting for tolerance.

Animosity by Marguerite Bennett and Rafael de Latorre

Animosity Volume 1Animosity envisions a world where animals suddenly are awakened. Some want vengeance for the cruelty of humans, while others want justice and others still want to leave in harmony. At times very gory and other times sweet, it’s the story of Jesse, an 11-year-old girl, and her dog, Sandor, who are trying to make their way across the U.S. to find her half-brother. While it may seem as an odd addition to this list, the story makes clear how critical our relationship to animals really are.

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni

Climate_changedIn contrast to others on this list, Climate Changed is a work of nonfiction. The work goes back and forth between discussions of the science behind climate change and the author’s own relationship to the topic and memories of his childhood. It’s at times a devastating but important work.

The Rime of the Modern Mariner by Nick Hayes

The_Rime_of_the_Modern_MarinerTaking a page from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” this cursed mariner and his crew find themselves adrift in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In this work, the cursed mariner meets figures of ecological disasters. A timely and imaginative read.

 

 

 

And as a bonus because of the onset of Avengers: Endgame…

Occupy Avengers  by David F. Walker and Carlos Pacheco

Occupy_AvengersTrying to deal with his guilt from Civil War II, Hawkeye teams up with Red Wolf to investigate contaminated water on a reservation in New Mexico.

David Walker explains about the series: “The Flint, Michigan water supply was contaminated purely because of greed and lack of empathy for human dignity. So how do you tell that story with Iron Man, Thor, or Captain America coming in to save the day? That would be really tricky.

“One of the things with Occupy Avengers is that we didn’t want it to turn into a Scooby-Doo ending. ‘We would’ve gotten away with it too, if not for you kids!’ We want it to be about empowerment and showing that the poor, oppressed, and victimized can find power.”

These are just a few comics that cover these areas. What are you favorite comic books about the environment, sustainability, and/or climate change?


For more reading, check out these books on sustainable living and these climate change books

 

32 Badass Avengers Shirts to Prepare You for Endgame

We’ve all screamed ourselves hoarse by now about Avengers: Endgame, which is set for its U.S. release on April 26. It’s the culmination of over a decade of anticipation and nerdiness. But as bittersweet as it is to see this chapter come to an end, we still can’t rein in our excitement, especially not when Carol Danvers is here to save the day. It’s a perfect time to wear your Avengers shirts with pride.

If you don’t have time to marathon all of the MCU, though, fear not! We’ve got an Infinity War quiz for a quick recap, and we’ve scoured the Internet for some awesome Avengers shirts to get you in that Marvel mood. And of course, there’s the Endgame trailer if you’re down for some extra angst.

 

Cap is concerned about your language

captain america shirt stylishslothdesigns

The original squad

avengers squad logo shirt elitelookcouture

And another option if you’re more of a word nerd

avengers-names-shirt-elatrend

Mickey meets Marvel

micky-disney-marvel-avengers-shirt-simplylushco

You heard Cap: Walk it off.

captain-america-shield-quote-walk-it-off-mainstreetmerch

Now Bucky’s a ghost story and a ghost. Too soon?

bucky-barnes-winter-soldier-arm-shirt-unicornempireprints

It’s definitely too soon for Peter though

peter-parker-infinity-war-spider-man-snap-shirt-miscreint

Team Cap has never looked cuter

team-cap-avengers-civil-war-shirt-oneskillwonder

Falcon and Bucky, the best wingmen

bucky-barnes-winter-soldier-sam-wilson-falcon-shirt-oneskillwonder

A simple design with just Hawkeye’s arrow

hawkeye-clint-barton-purple-arrow-shirt-graverobbergirl

Hawkeye never misses

clint-barton-hawkeye-purple-target-shirt-designtypegeek

The whole gang before the snap

avengers-shirt-minortrends

 

Channel your inner Natasha at the gym

natasha-romanoff-black-widow-shirt-MDeMasiDesigns

Especially if you’re training for Ragnarok

training-for-thor-ragnarok-shirt-jargonclothing

And here’s something more dramatic for all your Black Widow needs

natasha-romanoff-black-widow-shirt-kawaiianpizzaapparel

They’ve got a Hulk, and now you do, too

iron-man-tony-stark-hulk-quote-shirt-aroundthew

 

A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S.

avengers-friends-shirt-shirtlolart

Yes, you are worthy (Plus size over here!)

thor-hammer-worthy-shirt-mjolnir-heruniverse

Hulk abs, without the workout

hulk-abs-shirt-primeliving

A hero checklist for the burgeoning hero in your life

avengers-hero-checklist-shirt-target

Time to groove with Groot

groot-shirt-target

She’s weird but her aesthetic is A+

wanda-maximoff-scarlet-witch-quote-shirt

Seriously, Wanda really has great sartorial taste

wanda-maximoff-scarlet-witch-shirt-emjacex

Bruce and the Hulk

hulk-bruce-banner-shirt-peels4utshirts

Hey, call him by his name!

thor-hammer-mjolnir-shirt-geekslittlecorner

Fight like Mantis

mantis-avengers-guardians-of-the-galaxy-shirt-rose4apparel

And/or fight like Nebula

nebula-avengers-shirt-rose4apparel

Gamora deserved so much better

gamora-avengers-guardians-of-the-galaxy-shirt-seasaltcrew

Madonna and child, but in space

gamora-groot-shirt-snarkfish

Kick names, take ass

mantis-quote-shirt-miscreints

Shaved head not included

nebula-avengers-guardians-of-the-galaxy-shirt-kawaiianpizzaapparel

If only we could say the same for half the gang

thanos-infinity-glove-snap-shirt-famialias

12 Exceptional Comics About Trans and Genderqueer People

We live in a rich and wonderful time for LGBTQ comics, particularly comics about transgender and genderqueer people. It’s been a long time coming! Even when LGB people were starting to show up on the page, T and Q people were often notably absent. No longer! There’s some really amazing work out right now that covers trans issues, includes diverse characters, and is generally conscious and awesome. If you’re looking for some great trans and genderqueer comics in print, start here.

Comics About Trans And Genderqueer People

100 Crushes by Elisha Lim

Written in a looping handwritten script, this book is a series of meditative vignettes about LGBTQ people of all types, including genderqueer people. Like the best of us, this book never demands that the individuals it covers define themselves.

Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

There’s a lot to love about this autobiography. Maia’s struggle to assert eir pronouns is poignant and relatable. If you’ve ever had to come out twice, then you’ll appreciate the complications e experiences as e navigates eir family’s misunderstandings and misapprehensions.

Gumballs by Erin NationsGumballs by Erin Nations

The really nice thing about this book is that Erin profiles other people on the LGBTQ rainbow. That, plus the vignettes about Erin’s life and transition, make this a true gumball machine of trans-inclusive joy.

 

How Loathsome by Ted Naifeh and Tristan Crane

Edgy and goth, this exploration of queer outsiderhood involves a ton of sex, drugs, and nightlife. It’s a gem for fans of dark, gritty art and messy personal drama.

Oath Anthology of New (Queer) Heroes, edited by Audrey Redpath

It’s all about the heroes! (And, to be honest, the romance too. There’s more than a touch of romance to these short comic stories.) Whether it’s a child choosing their preferred clothing or a trans man and a superhero bonding over their secret identities, this collection will dispatch your boredom like a laser beam through a cheap set piece.

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

This epic lost love/girls’ school drama (iiiinnnnnn spaaaaaaaace) features both genderqueerness and devoted fans. Mia works as a member of a crew that rebuilds giant, broken space structures, but her true motivations are more serious. She intends to find the love she lost…at any cost!

The Other Side: A Queer Paranormal Romance Anthology edited by Melanie Gillman and Kori Michelle Handwerker

This book is not just about romance—it’s about spoooooky romance with queer couples and gender-neutral pronouns galore! As it is an anthology, you’re almost guaranteed to find a story and art style that suit you.

The Pervert by Michelle Perez and Remy BoydellThe Pervert by Michelle Perez and Remy Boydell

In the midst of her transition to female, a factory worker engages in the sex trade to raise money for hormones and nicotine gum. This is an unflinching look at one woman’s experiencing crossing the gender binary, complete with complications, pitfalls, and doubt.

Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology edited by Joamette Gil

While it is generally about female characters, this book includes a couple of transgender and genderqueer witches to enchant the savvy reader. After all, who says that only assigned-female people can be magical?

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The dressmaker has talent. The prince has a secret. The two are destined to become co-conspirators in a scandal that could rock the ailing aristocracy of Europe…or set its fashion landscape on fire!

A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson

This lightening-quick read should be a standard text in all life skills classes. It’s basically a primer on they/them pronouns for cisgender people told by a genderqueer person and their ally buddy.

The Spire by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely

Sha, Commander of the Spire’s City Watch, gets word from the new Baroness: there’s a high-profile murder she needs to solve. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose her job—and maybe more. In a world where humanoid skews face discrimination even as they attempt to pass among “normal” people, the job quickly gets more complicated than Sha anticipated.

How To Find Kick-Ass Lady Comics As a Total Noob

Last night, I had a hot date. In bed. With my three cats and my latest pile of comics. As you do.

First, I tore through volumes 4 and 5 of Lumberjanes. I’d fallen knock-me-in-the-junk in love when I’d read the first volume at the end of 2016 and, while volumes 2 and 3 hadn’t given me the same high, I really dug these latest two volumes. They made me excited for the forthcoming sixth one.

And then, because I have trouble falling asleep when I’m on a reading roll (the opposite of a reading slump), I cracked open volume 1 of Rat Queens, which had been published several years ago. I was first drawn in by the vivid artwork. Then, by the sass. Finally, by the story. I must say, it’s hard for me to resist a posse of kick-ass women kicking ass. By the end of the volume, I was in love.

After that, I did what I always do after falling madly in love with a book: I internet-stalked it. I searched Twitter and Tumblr with full-on grabby hands. I searched the entire world wide web.

via GIPHY

Which is when I discovered that, despite its fiercely feminist appearance, the comic had an unfortunate history. At which point, I felt pretty much the same sense of heartbreak I’d felt when my husband introduced me to Firefly years after it had already been canceled. (Thanks a lot, jerk.)

I blame all of this upon the fact that I am a total noob, with no sense of what has been going on in the world of comics for the past 10 years because, well, I haven’t been reading comics for the past 10 years. In fact, I’ve had no interest in comics for the past 10 years because the superhero genre didn’t interest me, at least not within the context of comics, and I naively thought that superheroes were what comics were all about. I didn’t realize that comics could also be about strong, take-no-shit females who embodied awesomeness in their normal, everyday lives, sans tights-and-cape getup. Or about close, female friendships. Or about both simultaneously. That all changed when I went to the Book Riot Live after-party last year and picked up the first volumes of both Lumberjanes and Bitch Planet.

Since then, I’ve also gotten into Giant Days and Saga (the latter gifted to me by one of my own fierce, female friends), and have looooved Nimona. I’ve read Phoebe and Her Unicorn and put it aside for my daughter, because I suspect she’ll love it. I’ve also set my sights on Gotham Academy, Runaways, Strong Female Protagonist, SLAM!, Animosityand many other titles.

But how to know when a series has a troubled past? How to know if a comic truly embodies feminist ideals, especially in an industry that is historically unkind to women? How not to misstep? Because—while I could blissfully skip along, enjoying art created by those who have histories of abuse toward women—I feel it would make me a hypocrite. My career has been built upon shattering silence around issues of female sexuality and rape culture.

via GIPHY

Just to start, I suppose I can turn to the smarty-pants, comics-loving Book Rioters, who are themselves feminists, and who KNOW THINGS.

There are also some pretty sweet sites that are fully dedicated to women in geek culture, such as the Mary Sue, and Women Write About Comics.

From there, I guess it’s just a matter of finding my footing. Getting to know the lay of the land as I go. (Literally. A friend and I have capital-P-Plans to do a tour of New Jersey comic book shops.)

In the meantime, you can feel free to lay it on me, too. I want your feminist comic recommendations! Give it to me noooooooowww!!!

Marvel T-Shirts To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame

If you’re as excited for Avengers: Endgame as we are, you’re probably already thinking about the perfect way to show your fandom colors for the premiere. And let me tell you, these Marvel T-shirts are the perfect way to show off your love for Avengers: Endgame. From Captain Marvel to Black Panther—now you can represent your fave in style for the final showdown against Thanos.

Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

Just like Steve Rogers says, you gotta “walk it off” when the fight gets real. Show your Cap pride with this shirt from Brand By You.

Walk It Off Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Maybe you’re more of an Iron Man fan. Here’s a subtle nod to the infamous millionaire playboy philanthropist from Bossi Everything.

Stark Industries from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Who wouldn’t fall for this adorable Spidey heart shirt from TshopOne?

Spider-Man Heart Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Gotta show some love for our most recent badass addition to the MCU fam with this shirt from Queen Lova.

Higher Further Faster Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Wakanda Forever from Blind Science.

Wakanda Forever Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Show where your true loyalties lie with this Team Cap shirt from Queen Lova.

Team Cap Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Or this epic Thor shirt from Zeia Shop.

Thor Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

A most Marvelous top to show off your Marvel love from Queen Lova.

Marvelous Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

“I Am Groot?” “I Am Groot” from Little Corner Of Design.

I Am Groot Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Captain Marvel to the rescue! We all know she’s coming in to save the day, so here’s another great Carol shirt from Lambada Co.

Captain Marvel Comic Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

You may get some looks for this Thanos “Oh Snap!” shirt from Scars on Mars.Thanos Oh Snap Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

This Straight Outta Wakanda tee from Wonder Tees Shop.

Straight Outta Wakanda from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

This incredible “not today, colonizer” tee from Leggings All Day Shop.

Not Today Colonizer Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Everybody needs a pocket Groot, and you can get yours from USclothing4Kin.

Baby Groot Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

An iconic Black Panther look from Wellington Design Co.
Black Panther Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

For everyone who loves all the characters too much to choose a shirt with just one, here’s the perfect design from Cup Of Tees UK.

Avengers Infinity War Cast Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Commemorate Mantis’s most iconic line from Stylish Sloth Designs.

Mantis Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Support the MCU ladies with this shirt from Oneskillwonder.

MCU Heroines from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

This blue and white Cap shirt from Good Mood Designs.

Captain America from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

T’challa King shirt from ART by ARM.

Black Panther King Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Moonlight as Tony Stark with this shirt from The Bold Designer.

Iron Man from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Support the original MCU Avengers team with this shirt from Dizon Collection.

Avengers Fab 5 Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

An Iron Man and Captain America team up shirt from Bebeshki.

Iron Man and Captain America from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

A Higher Further Faster comics tee from Box Lunch.

Captain Marvel Higher Further Faster Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

Show off your love of our favorite Wakandan princess/scientist with this Shuri shirt from Box Lunch.

Shuri Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

This awesome Ant-Man shirt from Box Lunch.

Ant-Man Shirt from Marvel Tees To Show Off Your Love for Avengers: Endgame | bookriot.com

 

For even more ideas for an Endgame look, check out these superhero shirts, Captain Marvel merchandise, and superhero hoodies.

5 Instagram Comics To Follow

I’ve recently discovered the world of Instagram comics, and my only thought is: where has this been all my life?! I’ll admit it—Instagram is probably my favorite social media, and I’m always looking for an excuse to add some adorable goodness to my feed. These heartwarming and hilarious accounts are perfect for that! From tiny background Slytherins to sweet little woodland creatures, these accounts will bring some much-needed joy to all that endless scrolling of your distant acquaintances’ perfectly aesthetic ‘grams.

5 Instagram Comics To Follow | bookriot.com

 

My Life as a Background Slytherin

I first discovered Emily’s Cartoons on tumblr, but I love following My Life as a Background Slytherin (and its various offshoots, including My Life as a Background Ravenclaw) on Instagram because these hilarious Harry Potter inspired adventures always brighten my day. Who doesn’t want to see a squat little Slytherin girl getting up to shenanigans at Hogwarts?

 

Strange Planet

View this post on Instagram

s t a r d a m a g e

A post shared by Strange Planet (@nathanwpylestrangeplanet) on

Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle is the breakout Instagram comic hit of the moment. These adorable strips feature little blue aliens hilariously describing and dealing with life on Earth. I’m completely in love.

 

Poorly Drawn Lines

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symbiosis (old comic)

A post shared by Poorly Drawn Lines (@poorlydrawnlines) on

Reza Farazmand’s comics are colorful and hilarious and often involve cute talking animals—what’s not to like?

 

Rocio Diestra

The forbidden love that broke the internet: pineapple pizza. It’s a no from me, but who doesn’t love an underdog? Especially star-crossed ones. I’m in love with Rocio Diestra’s style, and her comics are so lovely and relatable.

 

Liz Climo

Prepare yourself for the pure adorableness that is Liz Climo’s Instagram. You weren’t ready, were you? Basically, I just want to be climb into these comics and befriends all of these precious little animals.

If you like reading comics online for free, you might also like these 50 must-read webcomics, these SFF webcomics, these queer webcomics, these other instagram comics you should check out, and these comic artists to follow on instagram.

QUIZ: What Graphic Novel Should You Read Next?

Graphic novels are a colorful and intriguing format for creative storytelling. But if you’re new to the format, it can be hard to decided where to start. Fear not! This graphic novel quiz is just the place to find the perfect fit for you. Whether you’re a long-time fan of graphic novels or looking for your first pick, this quiz will give you a great book to add to your TBR.

Graphic Novel Quiz

Share your favorite graphic novel in the comments! Check out more Comic and Graphic Novel recommendations from Book Riot, or take these quizzes to help you find your next favorite book:

What Essay Collection Should You Read Next?

What YA Book Should I Read Next?

Which Steamy Romance Should You Read Next?