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.


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.


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!!!

YA Graphic Novels Hitting Shelves April–June 2019

The second quarter of 2019 is an exciting season for YA graphic novels! After a slow start to the year, your TBR is going to be bursting with DC Universe graphic novels, newest volumes in favorite series, exciting new graphic novels from award-winning authors and illustrators, and some great debuts!

Spring 2019 YA Graphic Novels

Mera: TidebreakerMera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne

In this DC Universe original graphic novel, Princess Mera is heir to the throne of Xebel, but in order to battle an uprising, she must assassinate Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. Her mission and her loyalties become even more complicated when Mera and Arthur begin falling for each other.

Out April 2.

Lumberjanes Vol. 11Lumberjanes Vol. 11: Time After Crime by Kat Leyh, Shannon Watters, Brook Allen

Molly isn’t ready for summer with her best friends to end, so she makes a deal with the disembodied voice outside of camp to slow down time to make it last for as long as possible…except it doesn’t quite turn out like that. Instead, time freezes and skips all over the place, and it’s up to the Lumberjanes of Roanoke Cabin to fix it!

Out April 2.

Ms. Marvel Vol 10Ms. Marvel Vol. 10: Time and Again by G. Willow Wilson, Saladin Ahmed, and Rainbow Rowell

Kamala is having a sleepover with her best friends when evil strikes Jersey City, leaving her torn between duty and loyalty her friends. All the while, Bruno is back in town and he and Kamala bond over experimenting on her powers—what could possibly go wrong?

Out April 9.

Backstagers Vol. 3Backstagers Vol. 3 by James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, Rian Sygh

The Backstagers crew reunites in this long-awaited third volume for anti–Valentine’s Day antics and haunted Halloween shenanigans!

Out April 30.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With MeLaura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Laura Dea is Frederica Riley’s dream girl, but she doesn’t make a very great girlfriend. When a psychic gives Frederica a mysterious piece of advice to “break up with her,” Frederica thinks she means Laura Dean. But how can she do that when Laura Dean keeps coming back?

Out May 7.

Under the MoonUnder the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodheart

When teenager Selina Kyle is left to fend for herself on the streets of Gotham, it takes all of her bravery and toughness to survive. But does survival mean that the future Catwoman will risk her humanity along the way?

Out May 7.

Spectacle Book 2Spectacle Vol. 2 by Megan Rose Gedris

Twin sisters Kate and Anna are back, still trying to Kate’s killer. It seems like the closer Anna gets, though, the more obstacles she encounters, making it difficult for the sisters to protect their circus home from the killer at large.

Out May 21.

This Was Our PactThis Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

Every Autumn Equinox, Ben’s town releases lanterns into the sky and no one knows where they go. This year, Ben and his classmates form a pact: they’re going to follow the lanterns, but no turning back and no quitting. As his classmates break the pact throughout the night, 0nly Ben and loner Nathaniel are left to discover the truth.

Out June 11.

Hotel DareHotel Dare by Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre

Siblings Olive, Darwin, and Charlotte are stuck spending the summer at their grandmother’s creepy old motel, which is boring and tedious work…until they discover that each motel room is a portal to a different dimension. Exploring is fun, but when the inhabitants of the various worlds begin to cross over, it’s chaos that only Olive, Darwin, and Charlotte can solve!

Out June 11.

Queen of the SeaQueen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

Loosely based on the true story of Elizabeth I and her sister Mary, this graphic novel tells the story of Eleanor, who is banished to an island when her sister takes the throne. There Eleanor meets an orphan named Margaret, and together the girls hold the key to unlocking a treasonous plot that could change their lives forever—or imperil them.

Out June 25.