Valkyrie Spotlight: ‘Girl’ Comics Everyone Should Read

Since starting at Golden Apple, a number of comic books I’ve picked up feature female protagonists from various walks of life – and they’re getting all the buzz.


ms marvel comic

If you haven’t heard of Kamala Khan, a Pakastani-American teenager and the new Ms. Marvel, chances are you’re not interested in comic books. You can stop reading right now.

Kamala made waves as the first Muslim Marvel character to head her own book, but now she makes waves because her story is wonderful. Despite whatever cultural differences might exist between her and the reader, Kamala is relatable as a fangirl and an adolescent trying to balance her family’s expectations with her own dreams, and best of all, she feels real. If you’ve fallen in love with Kamala’s heroic journey, here are a few other titles featuring kickass females you might enjoy:

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World – A wonderful all-ages book, my co-worker described it as Harry Potter meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I’d add a bit of Sliders to that mix. Obviously I had to read it, and it doesn’t disappoint. Protagonist Amelia Cole hops from a world of magic to a world of science whenever she pleases – until she gets stuck in a world where the two are combined to create a seriously unbalanced society. The artist, Nick Brokenshire, hides a bunch of easter eggs in the pages, in the form of recognizable cartoon characters who hang out in crowd scenes.

Rat Queens – I picked up the first issue of this series as part of Image Comics‘ 1-dollar #1 printings, where they offer first issues of ongoing series for a buck. It made me laugh out loud, and though I’m waiting for the first trade to come out to read the rest, I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who’s ever played Dungeons & DragonsIt reads like a group of friends engaging in an RPG campaign, but as if the players were actually their characters. Worth it for the giggles.

Black Widow – I can only hope Natasha Romanoff‘s solo series is laying a foundation for her solo movie; if Marvel isn’t on top of this, they’re not as clever as I thought they were. The comic follows Natasha on her private time as she takes jobs to atone for her past, but it’s her ruthless practicality that makes this more than a redemption story. She has no illusions about who she is or what she’s done, and has set up a web of international organizations to make sure that every dime she makes or takes goes to the families of her victims. The art for this series is gorgeous, a cross between traditional comic book heavy-ink lines and watercolors. Should be held in the same esteem as Matt Fraction‘s Hawkeye series, though the tone is completely different.

Hinterkind – When NBC’s Revolution premiered, I was excited to explore a world where tech was obsolete, and everything powered by electricity was abandoned, but people were still living their lives. I was less concerned with the ‘How?’ and more interested in the ‘What now?’ Then Revolution turned into a drama about returning things to the status quo and I lost interest. Now I’ve found Hinterkind, which takes the idea of a post-technological North America, and adds monsters (also, fae). Though the first issue is intriguing enough, the first trade promises tangled conspiracies and fucked-up power plays on par with my beloved Morning Glories. Also, I’m a sucker for a female archer.

Lumberjanes – The only title on this list, other than Ms. Marvel, actually written by women. Men can write awesome female characters, no question, but when your comic has an all-female lineup, it’s nice to see women involved in the creation. (I’m looking at you, current X-Men creative team.) This is an adorable and funny series about a group of girls at a sleep-away camp who habitually sneak out of their cabin to fight things that go bump in the night.

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  1. One of the other great things about Ms. Marvel and Lumberjanes, is that they are more than suitable for a younger audience. It seems as though the majority of comics, and definitely superhero comics, are targeted towards adults. I have been hounding my librarian friends to pick up both of these books to recommend to a YA audience.

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