If you're anything like me, you're planning on spending a lot of your holiday watching Netflix and catching up on comics (s/o to Isotope Comics, I'm coming to pick up my pull-list, I promise!). So whether you're looking to get your friends and family hooked on some comics or looking for yourself, here's a list to get you started.
For the Younger Fans
- Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson: This award-winning comic follows Kamala Khan, the Inhuman, Muslim, Pakistani, self-proclaimed fangirl and gamer who tries to protect her small town in New Jersey while navigating young adulthood. She's an example of what happens when someone who idolizes superheroes actually becomes one and she has lots of pitfalls along the way. If you're looking for an entry point into this on-going comic, I'd suggest volume 6, Civil War II, where Kamala deals with issues of profiling and is forced to question her own ideas about what makes people good or bad.
- Josie & The Pussycats by Marguerite Bennett: This limited series follows the timeless girl band as they form and begin to climb their way to stardom. The series is filled with pop culture references and funny hijinks that the girls manage to get in and out of by the end of each issue. The first volume is out and the second is coming in February of 2018.
- Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth: I wrote about Spell on Wheels this summer and looking back, it's still one of my favorite series from this year. The series follows three witches as they try to retrieve magical objects stolen from their home. Similar to Charmed, each issue is a like an episode of a tv show with the girls arriving in a new town and either fighting or making friends as they try to get back their stolen items. The collected volume of the first five issues is currently available.
- Motor Crush by Brendon Fletcher, Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart: Another comic I wrote about this summer, Motor Crush has a Black female protagonist and quickly morphs from a straightforward, girl biker story to a drug trafficking, alien mystery. The series follows Domino Swift, a biker who competes in sanctioned races by day and is a part of the street racing underground at night. She's also dependent on a mysterious, illegal substance called crush that bikers use to soup up their vehicles. It's a wild ride that takes a sudden turn at the end of its first arc. Also highly recommended because all of Image Comics volumes ones are priced at $9.99 to get new fans interested.
For the Woke Women in Your Life
- Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Val DeLandro with letters by Clayton Cowles: The comic Bitch Planet is set in a future where women deemed "non-compliant" are sent to a prison planet to live out their days. Although the on-going series is compelling af, it's worth diving in right now because this year the creators experimented with their series by allowing other writers and artists to create mini stories in the Bitch Planet universe. Their Bitch Planet: Triple Feature series will be collected just in time for you to pick it up and read over the holiday vacation. Featuring a bevy of new writers and artists and curated by DeConnick and DeLandro, with Cowles on letter for the anthology, Triple Feature maintains the style of Bitch Planet and shows the creator's commitment to giving POC, women and non-binary creatives their introduction into the comic world.
- DC Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett: The DC Bombshells series takes all of your favorite DC women and thrusts them into the 1940s fighting Nazis who've aligned themselves with monsters and magic. The Bombshells, from Mera to Wonder Woman to Supergirl, are fighting alongside the Allies to defend the human world from Hitler's horrors. Despite being set in the 40s, the series is very progressive from multiple lesbian and bisexual characters to debates on religious freedom and race. This on-going series is deep into its run but the volumes are modestly priced from around $11-$15. Funko also has a Pop! line dedicated to the 40s style of the characters and Cryptozoic's Lil DC Bombshells vinyls are wildly collectible.
- Black Panther by Ta-nehisi Coates: With Coates' new run and the upcoming film Black Panther is having a moment. The titular hero has struggled through his nation questioning their monarchy and his rule and now T'Challa is trying to build a constitutional government Wakanda can believe in. The new series prominently features the Black superheroes of the Marvel universe and shows how T'Challa is not just the leader of a nation but also a symbol to Black superheroes globally. Ta-nehisi also brought fellow writer, Roxane Gay into the fold with World of Wakanda and a short-lived limited series called Black Panther & The Crew focused on Misty Knight and the other Black heroes of New York. Both series have collected editions, if you're looking for stand-alone stories in the Black Panther world.
- The Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron: Sumptuous. That's the only way to describe this series. The story is layered, the colors and art are divine, which is appropriate for a story about a god of thunder. But more than anything, The Mighty Thor is always about the human foibles of the person who wields the hammer, Jane Foster. While I've heard a lot of complaints about the "girl Thor" the series is beautifully rendered and Jane's story weaves in and out of the Odinson's (which is paralleled in Unworthy Thor). Jane is battling cancer while also battling Malekith and Loki throughout the Nine Worlds and both stories are equally compelling.
- Heathen by Natasha Alterici: For more Norse mythology and Viking women, I recommend the series Heathen which follows Aydis, a Viking woman who is exiled for the crime of loving another woman. Rather than take her exilation in stride, Aydis decides to challenge the gods themselves to prove that there is nothing wrong with her and that it's the gods who should change their rules. On her quest, she encounters gods and mythical beings but nothing is going to stand in her way.
- Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios: Have I mentioned I love Kelly Sue DeConnick's writing? Here it is matched by the intricate art of Emma Rios and the beautiful colors of Jordie Bellaire. The story is set in various periods of American history and narrated by a dead bunny and a butterfly. Interested, yet? It's hard to describe but the series follows a reaper named Ginny and is a meditation on life, death and morality. Filled with strong women characters of various ages, races and stages of living, Pretty Deadly, is just that. There are currently two collected editions and the third arc will kick off in 2018.
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