A confluence of events:

1) The understandable to-do that's arisen over the whole Starfire and Catwoman depictions in the new DC books has put a lot of attention on superhero comics being written and drawn by men for men (or men-children, as the case may be), with little apparent regard for any feminist politics that may be put out of joint.

2) My lovely wife is mentoring a young lady who's just entering her senior year of college. This young lady, a Creative Writing major, is going to write a graphic novel for her senior project — she apparently is recently into comics, and really likes superheroes (primarily Marvel), so wants to go in that direction. Jen, being a good mentor, is picking my brain on creators, comics, and comic-related stuff (podcasts, blogs, local shops, etc.) to point her to.

My various recommendations led Jen to observe, "There really aren't a lot of superhero comics by women, for women, are there?" I'll admit I couldn't think of a lot, and that combined with item one above got me contemplating it. So while I think about the topic myself, I'm putting it out to you, my fellows: what are some comics by women, for women, that fall within the broader genre trappings of superhero-y comics?

Views: 974

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Devin Grayson and Gail Simone's work springs immediately to mind, although theres nothing in their work that seems 'for women' specifically.  I'm sure they were working under the impression their books were for everyone.


Jilll Thompson is a major creator who has skirted all around the edges without showing much interest in superheroes "mmmm per se".


Hmmm!  I've just checked and 'Love and Tights' superhero romance series had almost all male creators, which surprised me.


The Superheroes 'for women' bit is tricky!  There are comic series that may look like they'd appeal to women more than men, but they are written by men too.  - Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, Runaways.


Jen may be interested in how several strong women have been guiding hands for whole lines of mainly superhero comics.  Cat Yronwoode, Karen Berger and now Dianne Neilson.


Even one superhero series 'by and for' women is tricky...


I wonder, leaving the gender of the creators aside, which straight-up superhero series actually has the most female readers.  Anything with that rich, sexy, moody Bruce Wayne fella in it, I'd say....



Ann Nocenti's run on "Daredevil" in the late '80s and early '90s stands out. (Of course, it was hated or ignored by most fanboys at the time.) I can't recommend it enough, for people who want something different.


Louise Simonson's work on X-Factor, at about the same time, wasn't as offbeat or exciting. But it was good, competent superhero comics.


Are these "comics for women"? Someone else will have to answer that.

Trina Robbins has written or co-written a couple of books on the subject of female cartoonists. See her Wikipedia page for their titles.


The early issues of Power Pack were by Louise Simonson and June Brigman.


Marvel launched three short-lived series with woman protagonists at around the same time in 1972, The Cat, Night Nurse, and Shanna the She-Devil.

-The Cat was scripted by Linda Fite and initially pencilled by Marie Severin.  According to the GCD Roy Thomas co-plotted the first issue; I wouldn’t assume the character was Fite’s idea.

-Night Nurse was mostly written by Jean Thomas (according to the GCD the last issue was co-written by Fite).

-Shanna the She-Devil  was mostly written or co-written (with Steve Gerber) by Carole Seuling. The GCD credits the last issue to Gerber.


The Shanna stories in Savage Tales ##9-10 were written by Carla Conway (according to the GCD, the first was done with the assistance of Gerry Conway).


Omega the Unknown was mostly co-written by Gerber and Mary Skrenes, but one couldn’t say that comic was intended for women particularly.


Dorothy Woolfolk reportedly wrote some Wonder Woman stories in the 40s. (Wikipedia’s page on her has a reference on this). Reportedly other stories from the 40s were scripted by Joye Murchison.


From 1941 until the early 50s Tarpé Mills wrote and drew a superheroine newspaper strip called Miss Fury.


Martha Davis, the wife of Phil Davis, assisted her husband on Mandrake the Magician, drawing Narda. Wikipedia’s Phil Davis page quotes a paragraph about this. She also drew the strip for a bit after Davis’s death.


It might be argued that Shanna, being a jungle queen and an obvious imitation of Sheena, is a female character intended for males. But quite a number of female cartoonists have had a “good girl art” element in their work - from what I understand, Mills is an example; Amanda Conner, who worked on the recent Power Girl series, is a contemporary example - so I wouldn’t assume such heroines have no girl appeal. Wikipedia’s page on Planet Comics lists several female artists who worked on the title (partly remembered today for its good girl art).

D**m!  That's good scholarship!


Amanda Conner's Supergirl in Wednesday Comics wasn't produced for women, but possibly resembles what a superhero comic for young girls might look like...


It's a tough question.  Are there even any female-produced indie comics which look even vaguely like superhero comics?

Kathryn Immonen's Marvel work would be good to look at...Runaways Vol. 3 #11-14 with Sara Pichelli, the Heralds mini, the fantastic Hellcat mini, and the Wolverine/Jubilee mini with Phil Noto.  











Both Sara Pichelli and Emma Rios are doing high-profile art work at Marvel currently on Ultimate Spider-Man and Cloak & Dagger.  


Jo Duffy wrote for Marvel for a long time...but mostly "boy" comics like the Punisher.

Marjorie Liu is the writer of X-23.  Like Gail Simone on Batgirl, it's not "for women" as much as it is "for everyone," but it's worth checking out.  Previously, she also wrote the second NYX mini-series (with female protagonist Kiden Nixon) and a 2010 Black Widow mini-series. 


Trina Robbins was already mentioned.  Her Go Girl is aimed at younger women. Earlier, she worked on a Wonder Woman mini-series with Kurt Busiek (pre-George Perez reboot).


Sarah Dyer edited the superhero and more anthology Action Girl during the '90s.  I have a few issues and both Anacoqui & I enjoyed them. 


She doesn't do a lot of superhero stuff, but Anacoqui really enjoys the work of Colleen Coover.  Which reminds me: Marvel's recent mini-series Girl Comics featured all-female talent and all-female characters. It's worth checking out, both for your question and for its quality.



War Nurse was drawn by Jill Elgin. Somewhere along the way the strip became "Girl Commandos". Toonopedia describes the Girl Commandos as wearing costumes, but in the instalments I've seen they wore uniforms and seemed to be a special military unit. Pat Parker, the former War Nurse, was their leader.


Some female US creators have created or co-created SF or fantasy comics. Wendy Pini, for example, co-wrote and drew Elfquest.

Ann Nocenti also wrote the final four issues of the 70s/80s volume of Spider-Woman.


Rachel Pollack wrote the 89s/90s volume of Doom Patrol after Grant Morrison; some of her issues were drawn by Linda Medley. Nancy Collins had a run on Swamp Thing in the 90s. I've not seen any of Ms Pollack's or Ms Collins's work.

In the '80s, DC had the Angel Love comic written and drawn by Barbara Slate.
Well played, sir!

Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:

Reply to Discussion



No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.









© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service