T

ime has long since passed since the day you hid your comic-books away in your backpack, only to take it out to read in the darkest corner of the library where you hope no one catches you reading it. 

Comic-books are mainstream, movies based on their material have made literally billions of dollars for the film industry. People walk around with Captain America shirts and swim trunks with Batman on them.

Sadly though, most of the writers behind these iconic characters and their weekly issues are still overwhelmingly men. Though the comic industry may have shifted into the mainstream, there is still a significant gap for female comic book writers.

But that absolutely does not mean that there aren’t female comic-book writers you should be reading. The writers on this list have created heart-stopping narratives and compelling characters that more often than not break through all kinds of diverse barriers.

Make sure to give these female comic book writers a read and in doing so add some whole new worlds to explore in your repertoire.

  • N.K. Jemisin
  • Noelle Stevenson
  • Becky Cloonan
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick
  • Rumiko Takahashi
  • Marjorie Liu
A face shot of "Jo" Sojourner the Green Lantern of Jemisin's comic-series. She's wearing giant green glasses.
N.K. Jemisin’s writing chops from her novels translate beautifully into her comic book. Image courtesy of dccomics.com

N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is the newest writer to move into the genre of comics on this list, but she should be underestimated. Already she is writing engaging mind-blowing content for DC Comics centered around a new Green Lantern character.

Jemisin’s roots are in novels. She’s the first person to win three consecutive Hugo awards for her science-fantasy series The Broken Earth trilogy which centers on a futuristic planet under constant threat of catastrophic climate change. The planet is populated by humans, and a group of people called “orogenes” who can control elements of the planet to an extent. 

And while her books are a must-add to your reading list if novels are of an interest what you should be looking at first is Jemisin’s run as a writer for DC’s “Far Sector” where a newly minted Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein inhabits space metropolis where it’s inhabits can’t feel emotions. 

It’s part sci-fi epic part murder mystery, heightened by its protagonist a human woman who has to traverse the ever more obvious underbelly of this city. It’s a great story for comic-lovers of all kinds, veteran or newbie Far Sector should be first on your list to pick up. 

Interview: 'Nimona' Creator Noelle Stevenson : NPR
Probably the most known indie comic book writer on the list, Noelle Stevenson is a force to be reckoned with. Image courtesy of npr.org

Noelle Stevenson 

Noelle Stevenson has been making waves for a long time in the online community. Her roots are based in the bowels of fandom, and in her early days before her first comic release, she was a prolific fan artist on Tumblr. 

These days Stevenson has an impressive repertoire to her name, including but not limited to “Lumberjanes”, a supernatural comic series about a group of girls at summer camp, and “Nimona” her award-winning graphic novel centering on a teenage shapeshifter in a medieval-like world. 

Stevenson’s stories are rich with superbly thought-out character development, and her protagonists are almost always someone that you end up shedding a tear or two over.

Her works are also incredibly diverse in their casts of characters, many members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Once you’ve burned through her comic-works you should take a look at her animated series on Netflix “She-Ra: And the Princesses of Power” as well, based on the 80’s cartoon. 

Becky Cloonan's award-winning BY CHANCE OR PROVIDENCE gets paperback  edition this July from Image Comics — Comic Bastards
Becky Cloonan has a reputation for a reason, all her works pack a punch. Image courtesy of comicbastards.com

Becky Cloonan

Ready for some swords and sorcery? Becky Cloonan has some classic fantasy stories for you, to go along with her comic-book chops in the bigger name brands of Marvel and DC.

An artist and a writer, Becky Cloonan was the first artist to draw for the main Batman title in 2012. She’s also written and drawn for Marvel on the Punisher, Young Avengers, and Thor series.

Cloonan has been a lifelong comics fan, reading titles like Silver Silver from a very young age, and she is one of the few well-known female writers in the industry, and for good reason. Her artistic and writing skills come in a wide array of styles and tastes to tickle everyone’s fancy.

Her self-published series “By Chance or Providence” is only one of her many works that you should be reading, but it’s certainly one of her most impressive. This is a wolf-centered romance that Twilight would beg to get a grab at. 

A staple for those fantasy romantic fans, “By Chance or Providence” comes in three issues, short but still a hearty digestible story. Cloonan’s award-winning work is something you’ll want to curl up with to read soon. 

Bitch Planet is the feminist comic book we've all been waiting for - Vox
“Bitch Planet” is a feminist comic-series by DeConnick you just have to read. Image courtesy of vox.com

Kelly Sue DeConnick

Kelly Sue DeConnick is the veteran of the list, and with all her time and expertise in the comic-book industry, she has many many titles to her name, each worth giving a read.

She’s worked for DC Comics, Dark Horse, and Marvel where she wrote for Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Spider-Man. She even served as a consultant on the Captain Marvel movie, with a blink and you’ll miss her cameo in the film itself. 

However her most critically acclaimed series often held up as a hallmark of feminism in modern comic books is her Image Comics series “Bitch Planet.” “Bitch Planet” focuses on dystopian Earth where women in non-compliance with the government are shipped off to a planet-prison.

The main series ran with ten issues from 2014 to 2017 to wide praise from critics and readers alike. DeConnick is unapologetic about her feminism in this story and its subsequent spinoffs, it’s probably unlike anything mainstream comic writers have read. 

DeConnick’s work stretches from the more mainstream to the more niche genres of comics, but no matter what work of hers speaks to you, you’re guaranteed a quality comic to read. 

Inuyasha "Since Then" Epilogue Manga Review - AstroNerdBoy's Anime & Manga  Blog | AstroNerdBoy's Anime & Manga Blog

The queen of manga, Rumiko Takahasi is a writer to be reckoned with. Image courtesy of anime.astronerdboy.com

Rumiko Takahashi

Now, we’re playing a bit fast and loose with the definition of “comic book” here. Rumiko Takahashi writes comics in the broader sense, and officially she’d been known as a writer of manga, the specific sub-genre of comic books that originated in Japan. But her influence cannot be understated.

Takahashi started writing manga in the late 1970s and has sold a total of 200 million books worldwide. And she continues to make her comics to this day, featured chiefly in the “shonen” genre of manga which is geared towards young teenage boys between the age of 12 and 18.

Most people are probably familiar with Takahashi’s work through the anime adaptations of her work. 

Her two most popular being “Ranma ½” about a teenage boy who transforms into a girl when splashed with cold water, and “Inuyasha” a fantasy series where a high school girl named Kagome time travels to the feudal age Japan where she partners up with a half-dog demon named Inuyasha. 

Takahashi’s work is rooted full-blown in that eighties-era fantasy vibe, but complete with kick-ass female heroines, who spend just as much time on the page fighting battles as do their male counterparts. 

Should You Read: Monstress?
Marjorie Liu packs a punch with her writing and her art. Image courtesy of geeklyinc.com

Marjorie Liu

Marjorie Liu has quite an impressive resume, working for giant comic-book names like Marvel as well as her own original series that have pushed, strained, and shattered barriers for women’s representation in fantasy comics.

Marvel fans will know her as the writer behind the X-23 series, revolving around the mutant Laura Kinney daughter of the famous X-Man “Wolverine,” who wields some fierce adamantium weapons of her own. She’s also written for the Star Wars comics and another mutant favorite “Daken.”

But her most impressive and most sprawling writing credits goes to her “Monstress” series, an independent story of her own creation centered on an Earth’s alternate universe. Set in a magical and matriarchal Asia, “Monstress” combines witches and wolves and love and sex and gore into one beautifully drawn and written package.

If you’re a lover of high fantasy, series in line with Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, then Monstress should be the next thing you buy on your online shopping spree. 

A person holds an x-men comic in their hand with Storm on the front.
With these female comic-book writers you’ll have reading material for days to come. 

Comics are often so beloved because of the niches that their stories can operate. Science fiction and fantasy, mystery, and apocalypse. While these genres have taken the horns of more mainstream media, there’s nothing better sometimes than the source material.

Whether you’re a fan of the classic superheroes belonging to Marvel and DC’s gallery of characters or if you’re looking for something more independent, with the writer’s signature stamped onto the pages the writers on here have something for you.

Do you have a favorite female comic-book writer? Be sure to comment, like, and share!

Posted 
May 14, 2021
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Life
 category