International Womens Day March 8th

Women have been an integral part of the comic book industry right from the very beginning. From female cartoonists, writers and even editors working at Forte House, many have championed the way forward whilst working at some of the biggest companies (like Marvel, Atlas and DC) all while demonstrating that it was possible to do so as a woman. Women also play a huge role in the organising of comic events and conventions. These places provide a space where female comic fans can express their interests and passion for comics just as readily as male fans. They are also able to find new and old comics alike at comic bookstores where many women have worked, past and present.

Over the years the representation of women has been something that has gone through a lot of struggles. Not only for female creators in the comic industry and community, but also for female characters being given just as much notoriety and prominence as their male counterparts. However, the past year has been spectacular for the diverse representation of women: from various ethnic backgrounds to women who have championed their own series both on paper and on screen.

The following are just a few of the amazing titles, media and creative talents that have showcased the wonderful representation of women we have seen:

Echo, a supporting character of Daredevil, made her on-screen title debut on Disney+. Not only does it provide a strong female lead, but the show stands tall amongst the many comic book character portrayals, with Maya being one of the few deaf “superheroes” to ever stand in the limelight. Not only does her character and series bring deaf awareness to the forefront, but they also give a platform to showcase Native American culture.

DC Comics have given a new lease of life to a variety of characters in their recent webtoon series, allowing them to reach new audiences. Recently brought to print format, Zatanna and Vixen have paved the way, each having their own titles amongst the four webtoons that DC have produced so far. With Zatanna holding her own against Vertigo’s very own Constantine and helping to empower the women that she meets, to Vixen, whose African heritage is celebrated in this modern re-telling of her origin.

The Marvels took to cinemas last year, providing the first all-female team in the MCU and boasting a stellar, interracial cast. Kamala is a voice for the younger generation, but also one of the few female Muslim comic book characters both in print and on screen. Monica, a prominent black woman in the world of Superhero teams (even leading the Avengers at one point), provides a grounded and strong character that the audience can identify with.

Barnstormers is an exciting mini-series from the last year, featuring a strong female lead character, Tillie, who’s able to stand side by side with her male counterpart. As this story is based in 1927, a time when women were usually seen to become housewives, the character of Tillie stands out as someone who would rather taking control of her own destiny. This adventure story features gorgeous illustrations by Tula Lotay, who’s been a prevalent member of the comics community for many years, having worked in a comic shop herself, been a part of the British Comic Awards committee and founded arguably the biggest British comic convention; Thought Bubble.

In a new release, published by Marvel Comics, Ultimate X-Men has made its debut with Hisako Ichiki, a Japanese teenager who’s life hasn’t always been easy. The first issue gives a fresh twist to X-Men lore, whilst still doing what the X-Men has always done best; highlighting the trials and tribulations of growing up, overcoming trauma and learning to love yourself. Written and drawn by Peach Momoko, a female creator, who joined Marvel exclusively in 2020 as part of their Stormbreakers program for rising talent in the American comic book industry. She has also launched her very own ”Momoko-verse”, a line of comics that reimagines the Marvel universe within the lens of Japanese Folklore.

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