As you've probably noticed by now, it's year-end wrap-up time here on iFanboy and there's been a lot of Top 10 lists and rankings. When I sat down to write this piece I kept getting hung up on order and numbers, and in the warped, wacky place that is my brain, Power Girl started punching She-Hulk, Batgirl was wrestling Spider-Girl, Joan got passive-aggressive with Peggy, and Scarlet pulled out a big-ass gun.
That's when I decided that instead of ranking and filing these comics, we should celebrate them! Below are My 10 Favorite Things About Women in Comics in 2010. In no particular order whatsoever, it covers books, characters, creators, everything I loved this year as a girl who reads comics.
How do I love this book, let me count the ways! There's no denying that Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Amanda Conner, and Paul Mounts created something very special with the first 12 issues of Power Girl. This book was truly smart, witty, sexy, and above all fun. Power Girl doesn't just punch things in this book (although, it's awesome when she does), she runs a corporation, tackles New York apartment hunting, braves the treacherous waters of intergalactic dating, takes care of her cat, and goes to the movies with her best friend. Some of my all-time favorite issues of a comic are from this book. To me, it is perfect.
I was a big fan of the show Gilmore Girls when it was on the air. Occasionally I'll throw on the season 4 DVDs just 'cause. What I loved most about the show was the quick, witty banter and the great relationship between Rory and Lorelei. Batgirl fills the Gilmore-shaped hole in my heart. It's full a fresh, snappy dialogue, and Batgirl and Oracle are a more dynamic duo than Batman and Robin. Writer Bryan Q. Miller just nails everything in this book — the dialgoue, the characters, the relationships, everything. I am most definitely Team Batgirl.
This is possibly my "Favorite Book of 2010 That Nobody Talked About" (aside from the terrible title). Her-Oes is one of those fantastic out-of-continuity stories designed to grab new readers. A teenage Janet Van Dyne is trying her best to make it through high school and deal with the fact that she can sprout wings and shrink down to a tiny size. Her best friend Jennifer occasionally hulks-out, and resident mean girl Namorita is way stronger than anyone else at school. Throw in a cameo from Miss America and some classic high school drama, and you've got a great all-ages comic for girls.
I'll admit it. I didn't love Scarlet at first. In fact, while I thought the comic was nearly perfect in execution, I kinda wanted to smack Scarlet, the character. But I decided to give it a few more issues before making a judgement. And I'm really glad I did. Because by issue three I fell in love. A very good friend of mine has a saying, "Jean Gray would not put up with this bullshit." That's Scarlet for you in a nutshell. She does not put up with bullshit. It would have been very easy for creator and writer Brian Michael Bendis to make his leading character a guy in this story–there have only been a couple scenes in which Scarlet is uniquely feminine–but instead he gave us a completely kick-ass chick in a very compelling story.
I almost missed this mini-series completely. I was on the fence about picking up the first issue and when I went back to my comic shop the week after issue one was released, they had just sold the last copy. But the buzz around the book was really good, so I figured I'd just jump on with issue two… which also sold out before I got to the shop. Luckily, the guys at my shop are awesome and they ordered She-Hulks #1 and #2 for me. And I am so glad they did. This book is so much fun to read. Action-packed, great dialogue, and a duo of super strong chicks who punch things. It's not quite Power Girl, but it puts a smile on my face every time I read it.
Ungirly Comics: Osborn by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios and Secret Six by Gail Simone
Let me preface this by saying there are so many talented women working in comics and they all deserve praise for doing what they do. But sometimes you want to just forget about gender and read some damn comics. So far all I've talked about are comics with female characters in the lead. Most of them are on the light and fun side. Which is why I'd like to mention these dark and twisty comics being published by the Big Two with female creators at the helm. With Dark Reign over and Norman Osborn pulled out of power, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rois have worked up a fantastically creepy tale about evil in the Marvel Universe in Osborn. Meanwhile over at DC, Gail Simone continues to bang out consistently solid stories on fan-favorite Secret Six.
Spider-Girl and Twitter
I like Twitter a lot. Possibly too much. I also love comics. So when those two things come together, I'm usually a happy camper. There are a lot of "superheroes" and supervillains" on Twitter. Some are funny, some not so much, some are bots. So when I noticed @The_Spider_Girl was tweeting, I took it with a grain of salt. But if you've read the latest incarnation of Spider-Girl by Paul Tobin and Clayton Henry (and you should), you know Tobin uses tweets as Spider-Girl's narration. The clever thing about it is what's tweeted in the book, shows up on Twitter. The most recent issue was a rough one for Spider-Girl. So when some heart-breaking tweets started filling my feed, I pounced on the issue as soon as I could.
The Women of New Avengers
I'm one of those people who would read an Avengers book that consisted only of the New Avengers sitting around a table, eating Chinese food, and shooting the shit (assuming Brian Michael Bendis is writing it). I love this team. I love their relationships with each other. I love that they're underdogs. But most of all, I love Jessica, Jessica, Carol and Bobbie. These women are all strong, feisty, and unique. And their friendship is simply wonderful to see.
Dex from Stumptown
There's something about the way Greg Rucka writes women that makes me fall in love with them. From Tara Chace to Kate Kane, his female characters are strong willed, powerful, and command respect. But Rucka has a fantastic way of balancing his characters with some very human flaws to make them relateable and, for me, loveable. Stumptown's Dex Parios is the quintessential down-and-out private investigator with worse luck than Peter Parker. She's not a power-house like Chace or Batwoman. She get's her ass-kicked, she inappropriately flirts, she has a lot of parking tickets. Dex has those loveable human flaws in spades. She's the stubborn underdog you can't help but root for.
Ramona V. Flowers
Similar to Dex, I a big fan of Ramona for her flaws (although, if your exes formed a league that followed you where ever you went, you'd be running away a lot too). I really wish we got to see more of her in Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, so I'm going to cheat a bit and count the movie version of Ramona as well. Flighty and commitment-phobic, it's Ramona's understated vulnerability that makes her lovable. And after a lot bumps and bruises along the way, it's nice to her get a sort of "happily ever after".
Ali Colluccio is not going to say WHO kept buying the last copy of She-Hulks at her store, but he's tall and has a shaved head and signs her time sheets.