Hello, my name is Steve and I read comics. “Hi Steve!”
What you’ll find here is a list of my very personal Top Ten Female Characters in Comics. The lovely ladies showcased on this list have all played a significant role in my believing that females are the dominant force in comics. Men do plenty, but it’s the women who add that layer of sensitivity and allure to the stories that I enjoy most. You can have your muscles, your lost tempers and your pissing contests. Give me a story with any of the women contained on this list over that racket any day! So without further or due … my Top Ten Favorite Women in Comics:
Barbara Gordon / Batgirl – Whether she’s James Gordon’s delightful daughter, Gotham’s girl next door in a bat suit, or the ever helpful and entirely handy capable Orcale, Barbara Gordon is a multi-tiered goddess of the inked pages of DC Comics. Barbara is a hero that you can count on to come and help save your ass from the fire. Seriously, how many times in the past, in any iteration of her character, has she swooped in to come and help save the day? Even after her fateful run in with The Joker, that rendered her paralyzed from the waist down and confined the a wheelchair, Barbara, as Oracle, has hacked more computers and has advised her team on more successful missions than any other. She’s the embodiment of perseverance, heart and cunning. So whether she’s cutie pie Barbara Gordon, the wickedly acrobatic and stylish Batgirl, or the woman with the plan in her role as Oracle, Barbara is a woman in comics you would want to have either standing or sitting beside you when everything inevitably goes to hell.
Harley Quinn – Oh Harely Quinn, how do I even begin? Harley and I used to meet everyday after school. I would rush home from the bus, kick the front door open, throw my book bag on the love seat and tune in to the Fox channel, hoping to catch an episode of Batman: The Animated Series the program occasionally starring my favorite joking jezebel of Gotham City. Harley (before she went all dark and became a mere shadow of her former self in the rebooted DC New 52) used to make me laugh my ass off.
Her bubbly eagerness to impress her beloved Mr. J was an aspect of her character that truly warmed my heart. And that undeserving, unappreciative, rude clown prince of crime never seemed to fully appreciate what he had going with her. I swear if that were me I’d … oh wait, sorry. I got caught up for a second there. Harley is passionate, eager to please, dangerous, sexy and above all else, can scheme with the best of them. For real, she once had Batman dead to rights if it were not for the Joker and his ego bursting in and screwing it all up. There is something truly beautiful about her and her undying love for The Joker that I will always find sincerely endearing. I fully admit that I wish she’d focus some of that love on me, but that’s for my therapist and I to discuss.
Dara Brighton (The Sword) – If we were all about to die, and had to entrust the fate of all the world within the tenacity and courage of just one person I would choose Dara Brighton. She’s the main character of the most powerful first issue of a comic series that I’ve ever read and I love her for it. Within the story of The Sword, not only does Dara overcome the impossible but she also becomes something so much more than just a mere hero in my mind. I can feel Dara’s pain. My heart breaks for her and I watch her swing the sword, knowing full well the reason for her vengeance. There was once a time when Dara and I shared a lot in common and as such she will forever be one of my favorite women in comics.
Valeria Richards – Have you read any of Jonathan Hickman’s amazing run of FF? You have? Oh good! Then you have at least some idea as to why this brilliant little girl would be on my list. What’s that? You haven’t read FF? Well then, you need to get on that because this fiery little genius is certainly one of the greatest women in comics that I’ve ever come across. Armed only with a genius-level intelligence, Valeria demands your respect and your undivided attention. I’ve watched this little girl debunk grown men and women superheroes who have been in the game far longer than she has. It’s truly incredible to witness a girl so young be such a valued member of a society of celestial guardians, that her opinions and strategies are taken into consideration just as much as the adults who have been fighting intergalactic wars for in some cases centuries longer than she’s been alive. I can actually pinpoint the very moment I fell in love with Valeria, but you’ll have to check out our Women in Comics podcast later this week if you want to hear that story.
Barbara Thorson (I KILL GIANTS) – To quote this inspirational, emotional spitfire of a 5th grader, “Nonsense.” With respect, Principal Marx … until you’ve actually fought a giant … until you’ve looked into its eyes and seen the horrors that crawl behind them … until you’ve plunged your broadsword into their arteries and felt the hot wet spray of victory wash over you, intoxicated by the steaming perfume of spilled entrails … you really have no to right to judge me.” Even read out of context this is a most powerful quote.
Those of you who have read I KILL GIANTS to the end know why Barbara needs to be on this list. Her courage, heart and dedication to her plight displays more heroism than all the superheroes in DC and Marvel combined. Because when the threat of giants is real and the people you love are depending on you to vanquish the enemy … you have to be as amazing as Barbara Thorson to not only conquer the beast, but to move on with your life after being left so broken from the battle.
Susan “Sue” Storm Richards/ Invisible Woman – She is a mother, a saviour, and an intergalactic tactician. Born with patience, a thirst for vengeance, a voice for reason and gifted with an incredible amount of compassion, Sue Storm is untouchable. For these reasons and so many more Sue Storm is a champion among women in the comics medium and demands a spot on this list. Often referred to as “The Mother of Marvel” Sue Storm has been looking out for our well being since November of 1961 when she first appeared in Fantastic Four #1.
In my experience thus far with comics, I have yet to meet a more commanding character. Sue is a Swiss army knife of emotions, but also maintains the strength, finesse and experience to be one of earths greatest leaders. When Sue enters a room, other characters cease their super powered tomfoolery in fear of incurring her wrath as the mothering, wagging finger of the multiverse. She commands and demands their respect, and boy does she get it. Oh yeah, she’s also given birth to the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe (Franklyn Richards), that’s got to count for something, right?
Ms. Martian (Young Justice) – Hello Megan! Over the past several weeks I have absolutely fallen head over heals for Ms. Martian during the first season of Cartoon Network’s Young Justice. Not only do I love her powers: capable of flight, can become invisible, has superhuman strength, the powers of intangibility, shape shifting, telekinesis, optic force blasts and even telepathy, but Megan is also a pair of new eyes, looking and learning about the mess we’ve made of our planet.
For me, her character is the embodiment of hope for a better future. With her can-do spirit and sensitivity toward all things living and breathing Megan is still just a scared girl trying to fit in with her new teammates. So much is she afraid of being judged for her true appearance that Megan defends earth while always wearing a disguise. She represents that paranoid part of our brains that causes us to overcompensate for what we believe are our shortcomings. Ultimately, Megan learns that it’s what’s on the inside that matters most and grows as a visitor of our planet and as a hero, ready to die for the human race. For me, this is a beautiful character that still has so much potential for further growth and that’s why she deserves a spot on my list.
The Girls (GIRLS) – Vengeful, dominating, beautiful and all consuming, the girls presented in The Luna Brothers complete series GIRLS, frighten me. They represent that venomous, rotting core at the center of a woman’s scorn. They’re our mothers, our daughters, life givers and lovers. These “cloned” beauties are a mascot for any woman who has ever imagined a world where all men are at their hypnotic mercy. A world where with the bat of an eyelash or the crook of a smile, can reach deep into the recesses of the male mind’s most animalistic desires and crack the whip. They are lust, murder and feminism incarnate. How could I have not have included them on this list?
Kate Kane / Batwoman – Kate Kane will kick your ass. She’ll leap out of the shadows, take an entire magazine worth of bullets to her armored chest, cripple multiple thugs within a single movement and hit you so hard that you’ll be spitting your teeth out like Chiclets. She’s militant, studious, deadly, and looks damn good in black and red Kevlar as she protects the streets of Gotham, handling some of the more bizarre and unexplainable villains of her fair city. She’s a celebrated representative of the gay and lesbian community in comics, giving these fine men and women a hero they can be proud of, someone who isn’t just a stereotype.
Lethal and moody, Kate doesn’t put up with any guff. Where some of the women in comics often have a soft and bubbly side, Kate Kane is almost always all business. You don’t want to cross her, you don’t want to stand her up on a date, and you certainly don’t want to bring the subject of her father into the conversation … unless you don’t have any sentimental attachment to your genitalia. She’s a perfect mirror for the Batman and holds her own against anything that Gotham can throw her way. That’s why Kate Kane is one of my favorite women in comics.
Lenore the Little Dead Girl – Whether she’s holding a dead kitty cat in her vice-like grip, turning some fresh road kill into a hand puppet, or allowing an infant to be eaten alive by birds, I absolutely love and adore Lenore the Little Dead Girl. There was a time when the only comics I knew were Batman, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Roman Dirge’s twisted tales of a 10-year-old dead girl named Lenore. What I love most about Lenore is her blissful ignorance of the world around her and her complete disregard for everyone in it. If she’s hungry she’ll try to eat you. If you look soft and squishy she’ll try to hug you until your spinal column bursts. And if she’s bored she may very well try to kill you. The fact is that Lenore just wants to love you. I owe my flicker of interest in comics during those days to this little terror and had it not been for her and her bizarre world I might not have had what it took to be a part of Talking Comics today. For that reason and so many more she deserves a spot on my list. If you have a problem with that you can take it up with her … but I would advise against that.
So there you have it! Long live the wonderful women of comics and keep bringing the sensitivity, laughs and love to us all!
Did you love this list? Did you hate it? Do you want to punch me in the face because I didn’t pick one your your favorite characters? I invite you to all comment below to tell me either how amazing I am or how much my opinion sucks. Cheers!