Kelly over at Comics Should Be Good just published a monster list of ten great female comic characters of the aughts. Reading through her list reminded me how it feels to be excited about comics again.
Back in 2000, I took a long break from American comics. Outside from a few scattered titles (Blue Monday, Hopeless Savages, A Right to Be Hostile, Public Enemy #2, and Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes) I generally migrated over to manga.
So, I missed a lot of the interesting women featured on Kelly's list (which contains spoilers, mind), which include Frau Baby-Eater (Fables) , Promethea (Promethea), Tara Chace (Queen & Country), Deena Pilgrim (Powers), Jakita Wagner (Planetary), Jessica Jones (Alias), Cassandra Cain/Batgirl (Batgirl), Agent 355 (Y The Last Man), Michonne (The Walking Dead), and Kate Kane/Batwoman (Detective Comics), as well as some honorable mentions. However, in the course of Kelly's analysis, she mentioned something pretty important:
Something that occurred to me while I was pulling this list together is that 7 of 10 characters from my list are not currently in circulation (and one of them only just began). And while it's possible that that is part of what makes those characters so strong (i.e. they had clearly defined storylines with definitive beginnings and ends) I will say that it makes me sad to realize that most of my favorite female characters of the past decade don't currently have ongoing stories I can read.
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That's a big one. It would be nice to think that having an interesting and engaging female protagonist in a comic wouldn't be such a rare and epic event, but it is. However, more and more people are starting to realize the power of fan girls. Newsrama posted an interview with comics buyer Chris Ureta Casos who explicitly said:
I was talking with a customer not to long ago, and we were asking the same question about Hollywood and other mainstream outlets and what trends might pop up over the next year. We decided that unless the powers-that-be were complete idiots, they would realize the potential with the increasing amounts of female genre fans with the popularity of Twilight and Firefly. Comics saw substantial new interest from female fans when Buffy Season 8 came out, and there were so many great books coming out at the time to cross-sell such as Runaways, Fables, and Y The Last Man.
And it wouldn't take much to keep this trend going. Can we pass on putting female heroes in situations where they are maimed or sexually assaulted? Can we have more heroines who literally become the center of the universe? Can we get more interesting and complex female characters, and some more compelling relationships?
I think we can. The tens are going to be the decade of women in media. After the aughts, there doesn't seem to be anywhere to go but up.
She Has No Head! - 10 Great Female Comic Book Characters Of The Decade [Comics Should Be Good]
A View From My Local Comics Shop: Best of 2009 and More [Newsarama]
Okay, okay we get it. Can we talk about something else now? [Newsarama]
2009 In Review and Top 10 Supergirl Comic Moments [Comic Box Commentary]
The lesbian moments of Wonder Woman - Ongoing [Scans Daily]