Welcome to another installment of Fandom Friday! Last week, I posted a video discussing why I chose to break up with JK Rowling, so I decided to take a different approach for this week’s blog post. Today, I’m talking about my favorite female superheroes – those badass women from comic pages and movie screens who embody that iconic Nicki Minaj lyric: “you could be the king, but watch the queen conquer.” I almost exclusively read comics about female characters, so these ladies are the real heroes in my book.
1. Gwen Stacey, Spider-Gwen. One day I will write an ode to Gwen Stacey properly explaining why I love her character so much, but suffice it to say that Spider-Gwen is one of my all-time favorite superheroes. She’s sassy and tells bad jokes, but at the heart of this character is a young woman who’s struggling with who she is, both with and without the cowl. Plus, she’s a drummer in the band The Mary Janes (yep, fronted by good ol’ MJ herself!), and Gwen was definitely the star of the Spider-Women crossover event, although I do have a spot in my heart for Cindy Moon and Jessica Drew now.
2. Natasha Romanova/Romanoff, Black Widow. An assassin turned Avenger, Natasha may not scream superhero at first glance. But for me, it’s always been Black Widow’s character arc that’s the most intriguing. Natasha is concerned with redemption, erasing some of the red from her ledger. Since I’m a big MCU fan, I can’t mention Black Widow without giving a shout out to how excellently she’s played by Scarlett Johansson (except that weird romance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which we will not speak of). I’ve only read the first volume of Nathan Edmonson and Phil Noto’s series, but I fully intend to read that entire arc, plus the current story.
3. Diana Prince, Wonder Woman. Come on, I can’t talk about female superheroes without mentioning the feminist icon that is Wonder Woman. I admittedly am new to the Wonder Woman scene, and have never read a solo WW comic. DC Bombshells and the forthcoming WW movie next year have convinced me that needs to change. If you have recommendations of a great series to start, let me know! I’m insanely excited for the Wonder Woman movie in 2017, and the fact that Leigh Bardugo (of Grisha & Six of Crows fame) is writing a Wonder Woman YA book that’s out August 2017! Could you imagine what damage the patriarchy would sustain if Diana waved her lasso of truth around at a Trump rally these days? Just saying. Plus, it was recently announced that Diana is bisexual, so all the yes for LGBT representation in comics!
4. Barbara Gordon, Batgirl. I’m very new to the DC game, so I don’t have a lot of exposure to these characters and their storylines. But I did read Batgirl of Burnside this year, and I loved this modern reimagining of Babs Gordon as Batgirl. Babs is a STEM genius, and I really appreciated how much focus the writers put into that, to the point where Babs is pretty much a nerd and that was amazing. The art style in this new series is absolutely incredible, and the ways bodies are drawn is such a refreshing break from the overly sexualized, porn-level comic art that dominates this medium. I’m definitely excited to learn even more about Batgirl.
5. Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan is the first Muslim, Pakistani-American character to headline a superhero comic, and she’s basically amazing. I enjoy how realistically Kamala is portrayed – she’s a teenager adapting to these new, crazy powers, not a seasoned veteran. I think it’s incredibly important that Marvel is including more diversity in their comics, especially since Ms. Marvel is Own Voices (writer G. Willow Wilson is a Muslim woman). So many superheroes are of some indiscriminate age, usually 20s – 40s, but Kamala is young, and she acts appropriately for her age. She’s worried about her shape shifting abilities, AND the boy she’s got a crush on. I think Ms. Marvel is an excellent entry point for new comic readers, especially younger girls who want to see themselves represented.
There are so many amazing female superheroes that I adore, so I’m going to name a few honorable mentions: Kate Bishop/Hawkeye, Jean Grey, Cindy Moon, and Jessica Jones.
But of course, I have to give a special shout out to my OG favorite female superheroes…the Sailor Scouts! Moon prism power make up!