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CBR News
06-02-2014, 11:58 AM
Casey Gilley's got 99 problems, but finding fifteen comics with awesome female representation ain't one.


Full article here (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=53182).

NateDizzy
06-02-2014, 12:32 PM
I feel like Ms. Marvel should get an honorable mention. Kamala's story is still very new, but she is fast becoming one of my favorite characters to read.

afrocarter
06-02-2014, 12:38 PM
Rat Queens and Saga are both brilliant. I'll be picking up a couple more of these.

kmbezner
06-02-2014, 12:50 PM
What a great selection. I just started Batwoman and Captain Marvel but they have easily become my favorite superheroes. I'll admit though I was a little disappointed that Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise didn't make the cut. As for webcomics I would recommend Dresden Codak by Aaron Diaz and anything by Kate Leth or Erika Moen for discussions of queerness and feminism.

Pinsir
06-02-2014, 01:18 PM
Feminism will soon defeat anti-feminism.

Ilan Preskovsky
06-02-2014, 01:21 PM
Killer selection of comics. Agree entirely with the ones I've read and want to read the ones I haven't.

hufnagel0
06-02-2014, 02:39 PM
Feminism will soon defeat anti-feminism.

I dunno about soon, but I guess I wouldn't be surprised if it were. And not just feminism/anti-feminism. It feels more and more inevitable that folks looking for diversity within the medium is gonna start to drown out the old guard. We just need to keep up the press for that diversity. And guess what? Most of this great list is made up of creator owned titles. The more our comics journalists and blog sites focus on lesser known creators and stories, the healthier our whole industry will become and more artists could make a living in the medium. This, again, diversifies the content available, which attracts a wider audience, who then spend more money on creators' stories... it's almost like being welcoming to a hobby could help everybody involved in the hobby's industry, including the customers.

geologami
06-02-2014, 03:29 PM
Some others that deserve at least honorable mentions: the Executive Assistant series, Amelia Cole, Apocalypse AI, Carbon Grey, Courtney Crumrin, Lazarus, Bandette, and Robyn Hood. And while they're not really comics in the traditional sense, I also really like the strong female characters in My So-Called Secret Identity (http://www.mysocalledsecretidentity.com/) and Gunnerkrigg Court (http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/).

Park Slope Pixie
06-02-2014, 03:49 PM
A very beginner's list.

No "Girl" (or even "the Extremist") by Milligan? "Kill Your Boyfriend" by Morrison? More difficult to find but the search will reap infinite rewards (and the books could do with continued publicity instead of watered down corporate property like Captain Marvel).

aaaaaand Pixie Strikes Back is more feminist than the majority of the list. Give the book its DUE, CBR.

chris_buckley
06-02-2014, 03:55 PM
ElfQuest anyone? No?

Charles RB
06-02-2014, 04:07 PM
And there's Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary & Bryan Talbot which smacks you in the face with the brutal groundwork it took to get votes for women in the UK.

(Lumberjanes and Princeless are going oin the to-read list, I Kill Giants on the to-read-again list)

dsimons_123
06-02-2014, 05:21 PM
I would like to add the Adventures of Superhero Girl to the list. Its a webcomic and recently a collection came out through Dark Horse. It had me chuckling on the bus many a time.

Also - just throwing this out there - in many ways Y: The Last Man counts as feminist, surely? The whole setup and background was a commentary on social and economic power relationships. I found it really fascinating.

Any chance we can get an expanded list? I would love to see 50 recommended feminist comics? :D

dsimons_123
06-02-2014, 05:33 PM
I would also suggest that the Witchblade series during Ron Marz main run deserves a mention (i think it was issue 79 onwards). There were some fascinating character moments in it.

I'm not sure if it deserves to be on the main list but considering that Top Cow was previously treating Pezzini as a shallow pin up with tedious or uninteresting stories, the change added a truly stark contrast.

suss2it
06-02-2014, 05:53 PM
I'm surprised to see how many of these are written by men.

KatyaKatKate
06-02-2014, 06:00 PM
How is "Scarlet" not on this list? She is a one woman revolution in and of herself :) 3239

ed2962
06-02-2014, 06:02 PM
I just started reading Velvet, but I'd definitely add it to this list. It's particularly notable for being an action series starring a middle aged woman. Intelligently written, layered personality...

ed2962
06-02-2014, 06:05 PM
How is "Scarlet" not on this list? She is a one woman revolution in and of herself :) 3239

Just my opinion but Scarlet started out really strong, but then ran off the rails by the last issue. Is Bendis ever going to finish it?

KatyaKatKate
06-02-2014, 06:12 PM
Just my opinion but Scarlet started out really strong, but then ran off the rails by the last issue. Is Bendis ever going to finish it?

I am guessing that he has dropped to a "one issue per year" kind of timetable...which is really sad, because this series has a lot of potential...but I would love to know where he is going with it. I am *hoping* that it approves. *fingers crossed*

afrocarter
06-02-2014, 06:23 PM
I'm surprised to see how many of these are written by men.

I hear ya. On the one hand, it's encouraging to see men able to write balanced & authentic female characters -- but on the other hand, it would be nice to see more women creators out there.

ed2962
06-02-2014, 06:31 PM
I am guessing that he has dropped to a "one issue per year" kind of timetable...which is really sad, because this series has a lot of potential...but I would love to know where he is going with it. I am *hoping* that it approves. *fingers crossed*

Bendis has done other work with Alex so it's hard for me to believe they couldn't get their schedules together. I wonder if it's a matter sales, lack of interest of creators, or lack of support from the company...I'm just speculating.

Crazy Diamond
06-02-2014, 06:48 PM
That's an interesting list. Another comic to check out is the Aya series by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie. I bought the first collection (Aya) about two years ago and enjoyed it very much. It's about the life of a young teenager living in the Ivory Coast during the seventies. I also enjoyed what I read of the Bitchy Bitch comics by Roberta Gregory. That was from a series called Naughty Bits by Fantagraphics.

TroubleWithTrebles
06-02-2014, 06:53 PM
The 2960s Euro comic Satanik. Badly adapted to film.

DarkBeast
06-02-2014, 07:47 PM
Great list. Yeah, it's "basic" or whatever, but you pretty much hit on all the things that should be in a top 15 or 20.

Also, I feel like something from '80s Marvel should be represented. Claremont wrote a ton of great X-Woman solo stories; yeah they're dated in some ways, but still pretty important, I think. Lot of girls got into comics reading them. And Elektra: Assassin.


Feminism will soon defeat anti-feminism.

Er, I wouldn't say that until tanks are rolling into Saudi Arabia.

Pinsir
06-02-2014, 08:19 PM
Er, I wouldn't say that until tanks are rolling into Saudi Arabia.

The feminist death robots are already built. We are simply waiting for the proper time...

pools
06-02-2014, 09:08 PM
In addition to what's already been mentioned, Tank Girl and Martha Washington.

t hedge coke
06-02-2014, 09:08 PM
Not that there aren't some fine comics on there, but some of those seem pretty specious to me. Death: Time of Your Life? Because it's got women?

That seriously beat out any Trina Robbins, Jo Duffy, Annie Nocenti, Marjorie Liu, Melinda Gebbie, Carla Speed McNeil, Lynn Johnston's For Better or For Worse, or any issue of Wimmen's Comix?

"Red Sonja is both feminine and bloodthirsty..." Because we all know that in discussing a feminist comic, it's important to clarify that feminine is very different than bloodthirsty, which is... well, that other thing. Except, you know, obviously, here, it's a quality of a woman.

I love some Fraction, Kelly, Gaiman... a lot of these guys, but seriously. Still, ten years ago, half the list would've been Chris Claremont.

King Of All Nerds
06-02-2014, 09:47 PM
I read Saga, Sex Criminals & Rat Queens. I'm not a feminist, I just like good comics.

Cryptid
06-02-2014, 11:27 PM
It's strange that this list glosses over major figures like Phoebe Gluckner, Lynda Barry, and Alison Bechdel. The graphic memoir doesn't begin and end with Persepolis after all!

Meanwhile, it's hard to decide what to do with Neil Gaiman on a list like this. Death is probably the wrong choice, in that the title character is a manic pixie dream girl rather than a character with much interiority. She's there to fix our depressive hero with her relentless pep and charming eccentricities. A chunk of Sandman would make more sense, where you actually have things like female focal characters with arcs.

Cryptid
06-02-2014, 11:29 PM
The feminist death robots are already built. We are simply waiting for the proper time...

The launch code is #yesallrobots. Throw the switch the next time Rogue hooks up with Magneto. That is the last straw.

ed2962
06-03-2014, 03:38 AM
It's strange that this list glosses over major figures like Phoebe Gluckner, Lynda Barry, and Alison Bechdel. The graphic memoir doesn't begin and end with Persepolis after all!

Meanwhile, it's hard to decide what to do with Neil Gaiman on a list like this. Death is probably the wrong choice, in that the title character is a manic pixie dream girl rather than a character with much interiority. She's there to fix our depressive hero with her relentless pep and charming eccentricities. A chunk of Sandman would make more sense, where you actually have things like female focal characters with arcs.

Maybe something like A Doll's House would fit better?

Dizzy D
06-03-2014, 03:55 AM
Maybe something like A Doll's House would fit better?

A Game of You.


When I started the list, I thought it was just current comics (which would explain the absence of Strangers in Paradise for instance), but it had some older comics on it as well.

It's a list though, not a bad list at that, which always brings limitations with it.

InformationGeek
06-03-2014, 04:56 AM
Get rid of Sex Criminals and Pretty Deadly and substitute them with Bandette and Wonder Woman and there you go!

BadWolf
06-03-2014, 05:32 AM
Get rid of Sex Criminals and Pretty Deadly and substitute them with Bandette and Wonder Woman and there you go!

Just out of curiosity why would you get rid of Sex Criminals? It seems like one of the most sex positive series (comics or otherwise) that I've ever read.

CaseyGilly
06-03-2014, 07:37 AM
You guys have such awesome suggestions! Thanks for participating :)

Just to let you know--many of the books you called out are being featured in my next reading list, which focuses on LGBTQ comics. I wanted to reserve some of the better examples of non-conforming gender representation and LGBTQ characters for that piece, so I definitely didn't forget them. I'm just saving them for a different list.

Kieran_Frost
06-03-2014, 08:10 AM
No X-men??? Pity.

http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_medium/11111/111119363/3179806-tumblr_mgmeq5s9yg1qzlpr4o1_500.jpg


You guys have such awesome suggestions! Thanks for participating :)

Just to let you know--many of the books you called out are being featured in my next reading list, which focuses on LGBTQ comics. I wanted to reserve some of the better examples of non-conforming gender representation and LGBTQ characters for that piece, so I definitely didn't forget them. I'm just saving them for a different list.
X-men's amazing, and deals with LGBT issues too. :)

Michael P
06-03-2014, 08:47 AM
A very beginner's list.

No "Girl" (or even "the Extremist") by Milligan? "Kill Your Boyfriend" by Morrison? More difficult to find but the search will reap infinite rewards (and the books could do with continued publicity instead of watered down corporate property like Captain Marvel).

aaaaaand Pixie Strikes Back is more feminist than the majority of the list. Give the book its DUE, CBR.

How is the Pixie mini-series any less "watered-down corporate property" than Captain Marvel? They're literally from the same company.

DubipR
06-03-2014, 08:51 AM
I'm surprised to see how many of these are written by men.

Agreed. No mention of the works of Carla Speed McNieil, Jessica Abel, or Linda Medley. Its a good list but not positive lady energy enough.

Brave Sir Robin
06-03-2014, 09:21 AM
I feel like Ms. Marvel should get an honorable mention. Kamala's story is still very new, but she is fast becoming one of my favorite characters to read.

Honorable mention? At the end of the day, this could blow away the rest of the list. I haven't read them all but a good majority.

The reason I love it so much is that Kamila is not just a strong female, but a real one, dealing with what appears to be real issues in her world. It is just amazing. For a small, well crafted moment, the scene where she is in the mosque and gets into it with the teacher is perfect. Every little bit of that scene adds something familiar but telling in its depiction.

Someone else also mentioned Courtney Crumrin. While she is a tween, she is still a very positive female character that isn't afraid, navigates an unfriendly world between her inept parents and the Lord of the Flies style high school (you know, well off and judgmental) and takes her magic training into her own hands with some dark moments. It should be necessary reading just because it is so brilliant.

kcorstel
06-03-2014, 09:43 AM
Commenters should remember that a list always represents a single individual's (hopefully well-informed) experience and perspective, and that any list has a million considerations, concessions, and decisions behind it that we can't see. Instead of saying "GOD, I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY DIDN'T INCLUDE _____!!!" and effectively closing the conversation, open the conversation by saying "Another good read is _____!" This isn't about your good taste or the author's lack thereof; it's about building a community and celebrating rad books! Give a positive spin a try!

kcorstel
06-03-2014, 09:44 AM
Can't wait to see it!

cuttlefish
06-03-2014, 10:10 AM
No X-men??? Pity.

As someone who originally got into comics largely by way of that cover, I have to say that the book as a whole is just flat not very good. I enjoyed the Coipel arc quite a lot, but then the book got sidetracked by BOTA and then Wood made a complete hash of the Sisterhood arc. It was such a mess. Also it's had about eight artists in fourteen issues.

I will be forever grateful for the fact that it got me into superhero comics, but it definitely doesn't belong on a top-15 list, no matter the theme of the list. IMO.

(I might be a little bitter.)

t hedge coke
06-03-2014, 12:07 PM
I don't think Wood's name needs to really be on any feminist lists. Especially if Duffy, Pollack, Nocenti, and Simonson didn't make the cut. Holly Golightly. Alex de Campi. Colleen Doran. Jill Thompson.

TotalSnorefest
06-03-2014, 12:12 PM
The list article contains a lot of good stuff already, but it's awesome to see so many more suggestions in this thread! One day we'll have an embarrasment of riches of comics with better representation! :) Saw Courtney Crumrin get mentioned by someone, it looks really neat. Gonna add that to the wishlist.

Cryptid
06-03-2014, 01:24 PM
Maybe something like A Doll's House would fit better?

That would be a good fit, or "A Game of You."

Charles RB
06-03-2014, 02:28 PM
A good sign of the times: someone does a column of 15 feminist comics and almost every post is going "but what about THIS comic" or "where's stuff by THIS creator". There's that damn many comics you could put on a list.


I don't think Wood's name needs to really be on any feminist lists.

Someone had to say it and I'm glad it was you.

TroubleWithTrebles
06-03-2014, 03:10 PM
No X-men??? Pity.

http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_medium/11111/111119363/3179806-tumblr_mgmeq5s9yg1qzlpr4o1_500.jpg


X-men's amazing, and deals with LGBT issues too. :)

Germaine Greer, who went to university with my Madre, would count 2 "skinimax" crotch shots on that cover; most feminists speak against the prominent display of the female pudendum unless it is a Sheelagh na Gig.

Kieran_Frost
06-03-2014, 03:40 PM
As someone who originally got into comics largely by way of that cover, I have to say that the book as a whole is just flat not very good. I enjoyed the Coipel arc quite a lot, but then the book got sidetracked by BOTA and then Wood made a complete hash of the Sisterhood arc. It was such a mess. Also it's had about eight artists in fourteen issues.

I will be forever grateful for the fact that it got me into superhero comics, but it definitely doesn't belong on a top-15 list, no matter the theme of the list. IMO.

(I might be a little bitter.)
What I loved about it was seeing the X-woman together, just being amazing. They are all shown as working as a team, being great friends, trusting one another; Rogue and Psylocke sharing powers, then having Storm dive down to save Rogue when the power runs out... it's very empowering. The Sisterhood arc was okay, and certain female villains had great chemistry with one another. All the X-woman voices sound "right" too. Agreed nothing has surpassed the first 4 issues BUT I've still loved it and loved seeing the X-woman kick ass perfectly.


I don't think Wood's name needs to really be on any feminist lists.
What a person does in their private life is, in many ways, irrelevant to whether the comic written is feminist or not. Euripides is often cited as a massive misogynist, and yet he created some of the greatest female roles in theatre. Brecht's plays aren't any less powerful despite his own actions during the "witch hunt" for Communists in America. What matters (in terms of feminist work) is what's on the page NOT what the writer does in their own lives. Of course you want BOTH to be wonderful, but the work will survive long after the writer's private life ceases to exist. If that makes sense?

TroubleWithTrebles
06-03-2014, 03:56 PM
X-ellant post, Kieran :D

Somefolks hate Shakespeare's structure of women vics like Ophelia, but Portia was the smartest human in the most cosmopolitan city of her day, and in terms of outcome, she was the most influential, thus the most powerful.

And since Steranko, X-Men has been Shakespeare-ian.

Michael P
06-03-2014, 03:58 PM
When did Steranko ever do X-Men?

clikc
06-03-2014, 03:58 PM
So I literally just registered here to reply in this thread. First post yo!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9d/Empowered_Vol_1_TBP.jpg

No Adam Warren, son of a disappoint! Where is Empowered? I suppose it fits into the "tits and ass whose stories are only interesting if they're sexy." category, which the cynic in me supposes is the label most people associated with Adam's work. Which is a shame, because Empowered defiantly fits into my idea of a feminist comic. "Feminist comics show women as people." - Oh it does that, Emp is by far the most realistic portrayal of an actual real woman who is a superhero (albeit perhaps a struggling one). It also, in terms of plot and character development, shits all over the last 50 years of Marvel's entire back catalogue combined. At least, in my opinion.

So yeah, I'm disappointed Empowered isn't in the list (read no.1 in the list). If you guys haven't read the series yet, you should check it out.

ClikC

Kieran_Frost
06-03-2014, 04:04 PM
X-ellant post, Kieran :D

Somefolks hate Shakespeare's structure of women vics like Ophelia, but Portia was the smartest human in the most cosmopolitan city of her day, and in terms of outcome, she was the most influential, thus the most powerful.

And since Steranko, X-Men has been Shakespeare-ian.
EXACTLY! Shakespeare basically abandoned his wife and kids and possibly was having affairs with men... but he gave us Portia, Rosalind, Lady Macbeth, Tamora, Beatrice, Viola... but then again he also gave us "no please, you have Silvia" in Two Gentlemen of Verona... so, swings and roundabouts. :)

TroubleWithTrebles
06-03-2014, 04:18 PM
When did Steranko ever do X-Men?

Please tell me you are not being sarcastic and making fun of me with that question. I am grieving yhe loss of someone who loved Steranko when I shared his 60s work despite that they were not a comics person.

TroubleWithTrebles
06-03-2014, 04:51 PM
For those who don't know, hopefully few, Steranko did the cover to Uncanny X-Men 49 and the covrr and pencils for 50 (considered, for decades, to be one of the milestones of comic art and story. Also one of the most significant "mutant family politics" issues).

Steranko is to Bagley as Fellini and Murnau are to Bay and Emmerich.

Michael P
06-03-2014, 04:57 PM
Please tell me you are not being sarcastic and making fun of me with that question.

I'm not. I honestly didn't (and still don't) know what Steranko has to do with the X-Men becoming "Shakespearian".

(Or, reading down, what Mark Bagley has to do with any of the discussion in the thread.)

TroubleWithTrebles
06-03-2014, 05:06 PM
I'm not. I hojobnestly didn't (and still don't) know what Steranko has to do with the X-Men becoming "Shakespearian".

Sexy requires work and effort, sexist is the easy esay out.

Bagley often took the eady way out.

(Or, reading down, what Mark Bagley has to do with any of the discussion in the thread.)

Your question was what Steranko had to do with the X Men; you did not add the context of Shakespearian. However a lot of Steranko work is inspired by The Bard.

t hedge coke
06-04-2014, 12:26 AM
Even if you thnk Wood should be on a list, does anyone really want to make the case he needs to be on a primer list, a field guide reading list, before any of the women who weren't on this one, from Trina Robbins to Colleen Doran, Jill Thompson to Melinda Gebbie? Alison Bechdel?

I've been hearing this Brian Wood stuff since, well, there was still a Warren Ellis Forum, some from people I trust completely, and I'm not saying he's a horrible person or consciously a supervilliain or something, but he's not any kind of leading feminist in his field. I won't say he's not a feminist, because it's a big field with lots of range, but he's in no way a leading feminist.

To go back to the Shakespeare thing. If you did a field guide to feminism in Elizabethan England, and instead of mentioning Queen Elizabeth or Aphra Behn, you just talked about Shakespeare and five other men... that'd be a disservice. This really isn't a list where anyone needs to be sure to get some more men on there.

King Of All Nerds
06-04-2014, 01:00 AM
Funny 'cause one of my first thoughts was "No X-Men?" then my next thought was "Oooooh yeah, because it's Wood."

Kieran_Frost
06-04-2014, 01:20 AM
Even if you thnk Wood should be on a list, does anyone really want to make the case he needs to be on a primer list, a field guide reading list, before any of the women who weren't on this one, from Trina Robbins to Colleen Doran, Jill Thompson to Melinda Gebbie? Alison Bechdel?
I don't think being female is a "trump card" when discussing feminism. Joss Whedon is one of (in my eyes) the leading feminists of the entertainment field due to his constant commitment to strong, independent female leads. I only read Marvel, but in a list of "Top 5" Marvel writers who create good feminist comics, I'd be surprised if Claremont or Wood wasn't on it (due to their continual use of females in strong, leadership roles). Kieron Gillen isn't LGBT, but I'd 100% include him in a list of "leading writers of LGBT comics" for Young Avengers. Remender "leading/primer" is as much about fame as anything else. If you are writing amazing feminist comics which only 10 people read, you're hardly "leading."


To go back to the Shakespeare thing. If you did a field guide to feminism in Elizabethan England, and instead of mentioning Queen Elizabeth or Aphra Behn, you just talked about Shakespeare and five other men... that'd be a disservice. This really isn't a list where anyone needs to be sure to get some more men on there.
I doubt anyone would do a list of Elizabethan feminisms and miss out Elizabeth ;)

TroubleWithTrebles
06-04-2014, 01:27 AM
Especially after naughty dialogue from Blackadder season 2. ;)

t hedge coke
06-04-2014, 01:47 AM
I really do love that the linked article permitted this discussion and hope nobody feels I'm just telling them "you're wrong," or anything.


I don't think being female is a "trump card" when discussing feminism. Joss Whedon is one of (in my eyes) the leading feminists of the entertainment field due to his constant commitment to strong, independent female leads. I only read Marvel, but in a list of "Top 5" Marvel writers who create good feminist comics, I'd be surprised if Claremont or Wood wasn't on it (due to their continual use of females in strong, leadership roles). Kieron Gillen isn't LGBT, but I'd 100% include him in a list of "leading writers of LGBT comics" for Young Avengers. Remender "leading/primer" is as much about fame as anything else. If you are writing amazing feminist comics which only 10 people read, you're hardly "leading."

Claremont, I'd actually go for. Not because his work isn't problematic at times, but because of intent, influence, and his total body of work. But, I'm pretty sure more people have read For Better or For Worse, for example, than anything Wood's done. So, it's not an issue of other people selling less than Wood. I'm not suggesting Wood should be off the list because he's a man, I just don't think he's a) that influential or important and b) not a great feminist or responsible for a remarkably feminist body of work. (Not that my opinion is the end all, be all, naturally.) I'm fine with Gaiman, with any number of men being on such lists, but it does seem weird to have such a list and leave off Robbins, Doran, Bechdel, et al.

And, now I'm curious about sales. When they're not doing X-Men or another sure-seller, does Reed sell more than, say, Marjorie Liu or Jill Thompson? Does he reach a bigger audience? Or, contribute more to feminism in comics or the comics-fandom subculture than they do?

Cryptid
06-04-2014, 03:08 AM
I don't think being female is a "trump card" when discussing feminism. Joss Whedon is one of (in my eyes) the leading feminists of the entertainment field due to his constant commitment to strong, independent female leads. I only read Marvel, but in a list of "Top 5" Marvel writers who create good feminist comics, I'd be surprised if Claremont or Wood wasn't on it (due to their continual use of females in strong, leadership roles). Kieron Gillen isn't LGBT, but I'd 100% include him in a list of "leading writers of LGBT comics" for Young Avengers. Remender "leading/primer" is as much about fame as anything else. If you are writing amazing feminist comics which only 10 people read, you're hardly "leading."

That last line drives me nuts.

First, because the audience for superhero comics is itself such a niche enterprise that snubbing literary comics makes no sense. Popular comics at Marvel sell around 100,000 copies and often less. Meanwhile, Alison Bechdel has been on the New York Times bestseller list twice and spoken at major universities. That's not fame on the scale of someone like Joss Whedon (whatever one thinks of his feminism) but it is a cultural presence that is in many ways broader than writing the X-Men in 2014. Second, "leading the field" can take a lot of forms. The standard of fame makes sense if you think that advocating a position in front of the biggest possible audience is the main thing. But you could also ask who is writing the comics that change the way that readers and other creators think about the possibilities of the medium, which is a trickier standard.

And in any case it's hard to say what counts as a feminist comic. The standard of showing the experience of women in a way that exceeds the necessities of plot seems like a good baseline. But in practice the list bounces between three different versions of that: comics created by women, comics that feature strong female characters, and sex-positive comics. And that split focus isn't such a bad thing when one decides to write a list instead of a term paper. But authorship is probably a more solid indicator for the industry and the culture than the other two.

ed2962
06-04-2014, 03:46 AM
I really wanted to like no-adjective X-men cause I like most of those characters, but I found the title kinda underwhelming. If Wood deserves to be included at all, it's probably for The New York Four/New York Five. It was little "Tonite-on-the CW" but, actually did deal with the lives of young women and how they learn to assert themselves.

Tonamelt
06-04-2014, 05:08 AM
This really isn't a list where anyone needs to be sure to get some more men on there.

No, wait, I think you are getting it wrong... Feminism isn't about "Let's exclude all men!", feminism is about equal opportunities for both women and men.

Also, this is a thread about feminist comics, not about comics written only by women. Which means any feminist comic can be included regardless of the author. That's why i think Wood deserves a place on any feminist list.

The example of Shakespeare is good because there are male authors who are pro-feminist, and believe or not, there are female authors who are anti-feminists (just read the Twilight books if you don't believe me).

Mark
06-04-2014, 05:10 AM
Does art automatically exclude a comic about women from being taken seriously in this category? Of the strong female characters I've read over the past few years most of them have been indy titles or web comics, but a few go for cheesecake and beyond cheesecake art. Tarot features a strong female character who is always completely sexually portrayed. Robyn over at Xenoscope isn't as displayed but is quite strong in her character. Bomb Queen is about as strong a character as you can get and is also heavily sexually displayed. Carol Danvers may be a strong character, I haven't read the title but I looked at it when it came out and the art immediately turned me off. Tigra when I first read her in the Marvel Two in One issue where she teamed up with the Thing was drawn in a string bikini and has at times been written strong, weak and completely useless (Bendis) but if marvel gave her a title and had her drawn in a cheesecake style would that negate any attempt by the writer to make her a strong character?
I recently read the Life of Bold Riley and that character is strong, but the art is different. If Tarot were drawn in the style of Bold Riley would it make a difference in the actually character?
Sara in Knights of the Dinner Table is a very strong female character but the art is nowhere near what you'd call sophisticated. If she were drawn in the Xenoscope style would that make a difference?

t hedge coke
06-04-2014, 06:03 AM
No, wait, I think you are getting it wrong... Feminism isn't about "Let's exclude all men!", feminism is about equal opportunities for both women and men.

I didn't say it was. I wouldn't say it was.

But to willfully ignore that Alison Bechdel might be mildly significant, for hell, the Bechdel Test alone, to get Brian Wood and his mediocre X-Men title on there would just be silly. And dismissive. And a bad idea.

That's not because he's a man. It's because he's nowhere near as significant to feminsim or even popular culture as Bechdel is. Nor, imo, is he as talented, but that's a personal call. The only reason to include him, seems to be that he's a man who's written women before.

My concern is that, by listing people like Wood first or Joe Kelly, etc, isn't that they're hugely influential or significant in making feminist comics, but because they're dudes who wrote X-Men (even the women who've written X-stories aren't getting listed, though, again, quality is subjective here). That's why I countered the Shakespeare example. Because the list, and some posters, seem to be willfully ignoring women who have been significant in feminist comics, and indeed, in comics, for Brian Wood, who's not a terrible writer but isn't really A-list in sales or in critical circles, and, again, certainly hasn't had the influence or reach of someone like Alison Bechdel.

Someone wants to put him on a list? That's fine. It's their list. But listing him and leaving off women who're much more notable would be a disservice to a "field guide" reading list.

CaseyGilly
06-04-2014, 07:30 AM
As the author of this article I wanted to quickly comment on a couple of things--
I am also working on a similar piece about LGBT comics and didn't want it to just be a repeat of the same things I used in the feminist piece, so I reserved some pieces that are both feminist AND wonderful examples of LGBT culture, such as Bechdel. I certainly haven't forgotten some of these people, but am saving them for an article that is celebrating what they have been specifically successful at.

Carry on :)

CaseyGilly
06-04-2014, 07:33 AM
Oh! And in terms of willfully ignoring significant contributors--totally understand, but I would like to point out:
1. I didn't want this list to be the same as every other list I've seen on feminist comics (not that there are heaps of them, but you get the idea. I wanted a diverse range of works by a diverse group of people, not just the same creators who are always tied to the topic.)
2. As stated in the beginning of the piece, I wanted the article to spark awesome discussions (which it has!! thanks to you guys!!) about everyone's favorite comics and why they consider them feminist works.

:)

Kieran_Frost
06-04-2014, 10:25 AM
But to willfully ignore that Alison Bechdel might be mildly significant, for hell, the Bechdel Test alone, to get Brian Wood and his mediocre X-Men title on there would just be silly. And dismissive. And a bad idea.
This is why I feel you're not giving him a fair chance, you're biased on this; you don't want to include him (or consider including) because you just don't like the title. That's not a reason to exclude someone on their merits of feminist comics! He's created the first successful all female comic for Marvel. Period! His cast is not only all female, but mostly WOC and he's tackling LGBT issues. It's far more than "X-women smash!". If you don't like the comic because you think it's mediocre, fine, say that is your sole reason... but you can't pretend his work (and this isn't the first comic he's done with women in major roles; most his X-work includes a) female leaders of the team, b) more women than men in the cast)... isn't worth considering to being a leader in the field of feminism in comics.

7thangel
06-04-2014, 12:26 PM
if all you do is read marvel, how could you know if he should be considered as a leader in the field?

Tonamelt
06-04-2014, 12:58 PM
But to willfully ignore that Alison Bechdel might be mildly significant, for hell, the Bechdel Test alone, to get Brian Wood and his mediocre X-Men title on there would just be silly. And dismissive. And a bad idea.

That's not because he's a man. It's because he's nowhere near as significant to feminsim or even popular culture as Bechdel is. Nor, imo, is he as talented, but that's a personal call. The only reason to include him, seems to be that he's a man who's written women before.

Listen, if you are talking about popular culture, you are talking about mainstream (otherwise I don't know what is your concept of "popular culture"). And if you are talking about mainstream, a franchise like X-Men cannot be ignored. And when a mainstream franchise has a pro-feminist title, that's something true feminists cannot dismiss.

First of all, it's a matter of perspective if you like Adjetiveless X-Men or not, but if it were THAT mediocre, it still has the merit of using female characters that otherwise would be in the shadow of Cyclops or Wolverine... Like Rachel or Jubilee.

Also, it is worth to note that, along the 15 or 20 X-Books in the market, Adjetiveless was one of the 4 chosen to be in BOTA crossover, which was terrible, but it was an event to celebrate 50 years of X-Men, and it showed us which titles were flagship... So that means Wood work isn't that mediocre after all, huh?

Michael P
06-04-2014, 12:59 PM
No, it means the crossover was between all the books with "X-Men" in the title.

Personally, I would include Bechdel's "Dykes To Watch Out For" over Wood's X-Men just for dealing explicitly with feminist themes, as opposed to being standard superhero book with an all-female cast. No quality judgment there, either; it's just a matter of which one is about feminism.

Tonamelt
06-04-2014, 01:07 PM
Personally, I would include Bechdel's "Dykes To Watch Out For" over Wood's X-Men just for dealing explicitly with feminist themes, as opposed to being standard superhero book with an all-female cast. No quality judgment there, either; it's just a matter of which one is about feminism.

I would include both.

Mark
06-04-2014, 01:36 PM
Well I don't read marvel, but I do read DC and I think that DC -aside from Batwoman already listed- is a bit stronger than marvel. The Hawkgirl of Earth 2, Zatanna are both strong characters. Hawkgirl is part of a group that's fighting for her planet against what is left of Darksied's forces, Zatanna has taken charge of Justice League Dark and tossed out Constantine (literally taken the House of Mystery away from him and tossed him out). That's the key for me, strong characters who don't fold yet are women. There is a difference between the sexes but not between strong characters. Sara in Knights of the Dinner Table is no different in strength of character than Superman.

PwrdOn
06-04-2014, 02:03 PM
Simply having an all-female cast doesn't qualify X-Men as a feminist comic, even if Wood's indiscretions are completely ignored. I mean, forget having feminist themes, I'm not sure that book had a theme, period.

FanboyStranger
06-04-2014, 02:05 PM
Kieron Gillen isn't LGBT, but I'd 100% include him in a list of "leading writers of LGBT comics" for Young Avengers. Remender "leading/primer" is as much about fame as anything else. If you are writing amazing feminist comics which only 10 people read, you're hardly "leading."


My problem wouldn't be with Kieron Gillen being on a list of prominent writers who deal with LGBTQ themes, but with someone like Gillen being on the list instead of someone like Howard Cruse, who pretty much paved the way for further 'queer' comics. I think in the case of Wood-- setting aside the scandal-- it's not that his comics can't be interpreted as feminist, but to have him on a list before Trina Robbins or Roberta Gregory is extremely questionable because they are pioneers in comics. (Or, even to place on a list before Jo Duffy, Ann Nocenti, or Louise Simonson as the comics they worked on were every bit as commercial as Wood's, and Nocenti's and Duffy's more challenging works with feminist themes really put Wood's output to shame.) It's also not because Wood is a man because no one in their right mind would suggest that Jaime Hernandez' work does not belong on any list of feminist comics (and perhaps has the most significant body of work).

On the other hand, the list was meant to begin a discussion rather than be definitive, and I think it's definitely successful in that regard. Some great comics on there, too.

FanboyStranger
06-04-2014, 02:23 PM
Claremont, I'd actually go for. Not because his work isn't problematic at times, but because of intent, influence, and his total body of work.

I think it's also useful to remember that Claremont wasn't working in a vacuum. A major reason that so many feminist themes began appearing in his work was because he had Louise Simonson and Ann Nocenti as editors during his most fruitful X-era, and they'd present him with different ways to approach subjects. It wasn't that they were challenging him necessarily, but that having a woman as a member of the collaborative team opened new perspectives within his writing. (Obviously, both went on to be great writers in their own right, but not as influencial.)

TroubleWithTrebles
06-04-2014, 03:02 PM
To be honest, the entirety of Sandman should be on the list.

Marie Severin should be mentioned here ( if anyone already did, apologies)

PwrdOn
06-04-2014, 03:56 PM
I think it's also useful to remember that Claremont wasn't working in a vacuum. A major reason that so many feminist themes began appearing in his work was because he had Louise Simonson and Ann Nocenti as editors during his most fruitful X-era, and they'd present him with different ways to approach subjects. It wasn't that they were challenging him necessarily, but that having a woman as a member of the collaborative team opened new perspectives within his writing. (Obviously, both went on to be great writers in their own right, but not as influencial.)

Part of the problem I've always had with people highlighting the X-Men's feminist credentials is that, with the exception of Simonson's X-Factor run and some minor contributions here and there, the writers on the books have been exclusively male. While that doesn't disqualify them from writing interesting stories about women, they do quite frequently fall into the trap of writing the characters along the lines of their own personal fantasies, and it's tough to sustain any kind of momentum with that kind of approach. Claremont in particular had a fetish for putting Storm in kinky peril situations which could be read as empowerment I suppose, but that was certainly not the primary purpose.

Mark
06-04-2014, 04:25 PM
One book we might have to add, though it's early on, is Ted Naifeh's Princess Ugg. The first issue has a very strong set of female characters, but it's only issue one and I fear it might devolve into stereotypes of popular girl/outcast.

TroubleWithTrebles
06-04-2014, 04:30 PM
And Ted doesn't mind tailoring his comics to suit his junkets to the comix festivals in France. But Ugg could well end up being a true feminist book vs playing catch up with Renae De Liz.

ed2962
06-04-2014, 06:23 PM
I think a lot of DC fans credit pre-52 Birds Of Prey for upping the profile of it's main characters. Black Canary finally had an identity apart from Green Arrow and JLA. Barbara Gordon became a capable hero while still in the wheelchair. Chuck Dixon probably deserves at least some props...

t hedge coke
06-04-2014, 09:02 PM
Listen, if you are talking about popular culture, you are talking about mainstream (otherwise I don't know what is your concept of "popular culture"). And if you are talking about mainstream, a franchise like X-Men cannot be ignored.

I didn't say it should be ignored. In fact, as noted, I think Claremont's fine on a longer list, as would be Duffy, Simonson, Hama, Liu, Ellis, and Nocenti, who all wrote x-stuff and are strong feminists from different angles. In fact, I'd probably put most of them before some people who were namechecked, but of course, the list is what it is; we're just talking additions.

I said, I don't think Wood's a) a very good feminist, b) a very important feminist in comics, c) his X-Men is very good, d) belongs on the list before Alison Bechdel. I think, for example, that Cockrum - whose version of feminism I also find problematic - is a better writer (and artist) that Brian Wood, and I think he's done better X-comics, better work with female characters, and has greater cultural cache and wider influence than Wood. But I don't think he's more important to get onto even a longer list than, again, someone like Alison Bechdel.

This isn't me hating on X-Men, or me hating on men. I'm quite fond of both, in a general sort of way. This is just me saying Brian Wood's X-Men is not as significant in feminist comics, or in comics period, as Alison Bechdel's work. "Bechdel Test" is going to come up more frequently on any search engine than anything Wood has developed. That doesn't mean he hasn't done some decent comics, or that he's a bad person, it just means he's not as influential to general culture. He didn't invent the X-Men, he didn't invent writing about women in an x-story, or even invent doing an x-comic that's all women. He didn't even make X-Men famous. Let's not pretend X-Men hinges on Brian Wood.

anyajenkins
06-04-2014, 09:10 PM
This is why I feel you're not giving him a fair chance, you're biased on this; you don't want to include him (or consider including) because you just don't like the title. That's not a reason to exclude someone on their merits of feminist comics! He's created the first successful all female comic for Marvel. Period! His cast is not only all female, but mostly WOC and he's tackling LGBT issues. It's far more than "X-women smash!". If you don't like the comic because you think it's mediocre, fine, say that is your sole reason... but you can't pretend his work (and this isn't the first comic he's done with women in major roles; most his X-work includes a) female leaders of the team, b) more women than men in the cast)... isn't worth considering to being a leader in the field of feminism in comics.
That seems a little generous... He hardly 'created' the title. It was a the 'a-list' female xmen, I think editorial decided on the cast. And his 'tackling' of LGBT issues so far seems to have been having Bling act obnxious and stalker-y. And the less said about rachel subplot with the baterica that killed her mother the better...

Tonamelt
06-04-2014, 09:15 PM
I didn't say it should be ignored. In fact, as noted, I think Claremont's fine on a longer list, as would be Duffy, Simonson, Hama, Liu, Ellis, and Nocenti, who all wrote x-stuff and are strong feminists from different angles. In fact, I'd probably put most of them before some people who were namechecked, but of course, the list is what it is; we're just talking additions.

I said, I don't think Wood's a) a very good feminist, b) a very important feminist in comics, c) his X-Men is very good, d) belongs on the list before Alison Bechdel. I think, for example, that Cockrum - whose version of feminism I also find problematic - is a better writer (and artist) that Brian Wood, and I think he's done better X-comics, better work with female characters, and has greater cultural cache and wider influence than Wood. But I don't think he's more important to get onto even a longer list than, again, someone like Alison Bechdel.

This isn't me hating on X-Men, or me hating on men. I'm quite fond of both, in a general sort of way. This is just me saying Brian Wood's X-Men is not as significant in feminist comics, or in comics period, as Alison Bechdel's work. "Bechdel Test" is going to come up more frequently on any search engine than anything Wood has developed. That doesn't mean he hasn't done some decent comics, or that he's a bad person, it just means he's not as influential to general culture. He didn't invent the X-Men, he didn't invent writing about women in an x-story, or even invent doing an x-comic that's all women. He didn't even make X-Men famous. Let's not pretend X-Men hinges on Brian Wood.

You don't need to be Stan Lee or Chris Claremont to be a feminist or to be included on a feminist list. :p

TroubleWithTrebles
06-06-2014, 12:15 AM
Including Bechdel is an ethical mandate for this thread, but frankly, she is mostly an underground cartoonist, which is to comics as crumping is to Bob Fosse stage musical numbers on Broadway. She should be on the list, but NIKKI GREENBERG deserves her place 3 times more because Nikki has designed her work SPECIFICALLY for the graphnov/comics experience.

t hedge coke
06-06-2014, 01:08 AM
Including Bechdel is an ethical mandate for this thread, but frankly, she is mostly an underground cartoonist, which is to comics as crumping is to Bob Fosse stage musical numbers on Broadway. She should be on the list, but NIKKI GREENBERG deserves her place 3 times more because Nikki has designed her work SPECIFICALLY for the graphnov/comics experience.

I can go in bookstores here, and find Alison Bechdel. I can google Bechdel Test right now and come up with a zillion hits. Fun Home was a New York Times bestseller for two weeks and reviewed in the Times, People, and Entertainment Weekly which is a considerably more mainstream press than has covered probably any Joe Kelly comic (not slighting Joe Kelly, just saying, as he's on the list). She's won a number Eisners, a National Book Critics Circle Award, etc, including a Lifetime Achievement in Publishing award. She's published with major publishers..

She's not "underground." She's publishing with significant publishers. She's just less common in specialty shops that aren't really doing great business these days.

When Time Magazine calls your comic, which is published by significant presses internationally, one of the ten best books of the year, you're not "underground," no matter how many specialty shops would rather use the shelf-space that could hold a copy to display Warhammer figurines.

Tonamelt
06-06-2014, 01:48 AM
When Time Magazine ...

You basically destroyed your own argument with that simple phrase. :(

t hedge coke
06-06-2014, 06:04 AM
You basically destroyed your own argument with that simple phrase. :(

I felt the Zoolander joke the entire time I typed the magazine's name, but, yes, Time Magazine did, in fact, reach a much wider range of people than, say, Wizard or CSN.