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CSBG Archive

She Has No Head! – 10 Ladies Making A Run For The Title

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Sif Image

Sif by Valerie Schiti

SIF

Sif was on my short list of potentials on the original list anyway and now that I see her in action in Journey Into Mystery I’m convinced I was on the right track! Valkyrie and Misty Knight have not been so lucky as Fearless Defenders isn’t doing anything for me yet, but there’s plenty of time! Sif, in Kathryn Immonen and Valerie Schiti’s Journey Into Mystery is bold and brave, berserk and burly. She’s also other adjectives that don’t start with B – like fiercely passionate and unyielding in her commitment. She’s a warrior through and through and I just can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. I’m also a sucker for great fish out of water stories and since Sif has just landed in our world, I look forward to more of that hilarity.

Sif is currently starring in Kathryn Immonen and Valerie Schiti’s Journey Into Mystery.

Psylocke image

Psylocke by Jerome Opena

PSYLOCKE

Between what Rick Remender and Jerome Opena did with the character in the brilliant Uncanny X-Force, her recent costume change courtesy of the uber talented Kris Anka, her appearances in Brian Wood and David Lopez’s X-Men her recent appearance in Sam Humphries and Ron Garney’s new Uncanny X-Force and her upcoming role in Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s (new) X-Men I am in love with this character in a way I haven’t been since I was 16 (and blissfully unaware of how she came to be in the first place). I’ve always liked this character even though she’s problematic, but her stories for years have been a nightmare (not to mention her visual portrayals) so it’s exciting to see the character getting such a surge of interest by talented creators and thus a true chance at redemption. I’m excited!

You can read more of Psylocke in the new Uncanny X-Force by Sam Humphries and Ron Garney, and in May you should look for her in Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s X-Men. In the meantime, I urge you to pick up some of the Uncanny X-Force trades, especially “The Apocalypse Solution”

Captain Marvel Image

Captain Marvel by Filipe Andrade

CAPTAIN MARVEL aka CAROL DANVERS

Of all the shocking ladies to show up on this list, Carol Danvers is perhaps most shocking of all, as the teenaged me fell in love with Rogue instantly and never looked back. And you know how teenage love is, it’s ferociously loyal (to a stupid degree) which means I hated Carol Danvers on Rogue’s behalf (even though Rogue was the bad guy…I know, I know). Even as a more rational adult I still never thought Carol would become a favorite character of mine, even as I read her in Alias and decided I didn’t hate her. However, Kelly Sue DeConnick and her series Captain Marvel is making a liar out of me.  I love DeConnick’s Carol. How could anyone not? She’s powerful and smart, funny and flawed. She’s vulnerable and yet completely heroic, in short, she feels decidedly like a real person, in the best of ways. DeConnick has made me truly care about Carol (enough that she’s making a run for my favorites list) in only a few short issues, and that is a feat indeed.

You can read more about Carol in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ongoing Captain Marvel series from Marvel. If you can’t afford to start at the beginning, I suggest issue #9 as a great jumping on point. Although if you’d like to see Carol and Monica Rambeau hanging out, I suggest starting at Captain Marvel #7

Black Widow Image

Black Widow by Travel Foreman

BLACK WIDOW

Between the movie, the Marjorie Liu mini-series, and a slew of great guest appearances in everything from Warren Ellis’s Secret Avengers run and Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier run, to Cullen Bunn and Francesco Francovilla’s Capt. America and Black Widow arc – Black Widow has had a great year. The only thing that could further solidify it would be a stand alone book with a top notch creative team. I know it was tried in 2010 and didn’t quite work, but with the new push on female characters at Marvel of late AND the movie popularity, I figure now’s as good a time as any to see Natasha give her own book another good try. For a creative team – and assuming I don’t want to take anyone off of books I already love (i.e. Phil Noto would be a great artist for it, but he’s on Ghost, same with Daniel Acuna who did the Liu series, but he’s on Uncanny Avengers it seems). So I humbly suggest Jesus Saiz, who draws powerful beautiful women well and has a clean unfettered style that would fit practical Natasha nicely. If the book was to take a darker tone, Francesco Francavilla would be a nice fit. For a writer…well, I thought Marjorie Liu captured her perfectly but if Marvel doesn’t want to repeat themselves so soon after trying that pairing, I would love to see Greg Rucka brought back to write her. I’d love to see what Rucka can do with the current version of Natasha.

You can read more about Natasha in a variety of books where she guest stars – most notably the recent books listed above. But I definitely urge you to check out Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna’s excellent trade “The Name Of The Rose” as well.

Storm Jubilee Image

Storm by David Lopez, Jubilee by Oliver Coipel

STORM and JUBILEE (TIE)

So interesting for these two to be on the list together. I’ve always liked Storm, but she’s never quite made the jump to favorites. Under Brian Wood and David Lopez’s direction in X-Men (short but wonderful) she became the character I guess I always believed she could be.  Now with her co-starring in the new Uncanny X-Force and poised to be written by Brian Wood again in the new X-Men series coming in May, I think Storm has a real chance of solidifying herself as a mainstay on my favorites list.  Jubilee on the other hand I was never that fond of. And if you’ve told me I would come to really enjoy her after she lost her mutant powers and became * sigh * a vampire, I would have called you a liar. But thanks to a fantastic mini-series – Wolverine & Jubilee by Kathryn Immonen and Phil Noto, I find myself interested in Jubilee like never before. Since she is another character that’s going to be written by Brian Wood in the upcoming X-Men, and as a result I think she’s got a solid shot, just like Storm, of making herself comfortable on my favorites list. It’s amazing what a few great stories by a few great creators, can do.

You can read Storm now in Uncanny X-Force (and ultimate Storm in Brian Wood’s Ultimate Comics X-Men), Jubilee is mostly absent until Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s X-Men, which will debut at the end of May and which stars both ladies.  But I urge you to pick up the Wolverine & Jubilee mini-series so you can see how far the character has come in recent years.

Glory Image

Glory by Ross Campbell

An Honorable Mention goes to GLORY. I can’t really add her to the list since her series is ending and thus it makes it harder if not impossible for her to continue crawling into the Top 20, but I have been mightily impressed with what Ross Campbell and Joe Keatinge have done with her, especially visually. And that last issue (#33) man, what a gut punch. Glory as imagined by Ross Campbell and Joe Keatinge deserves kudos, if only because never in a million years would I have dreamed the original Glory could come anywhere NEAR a top 20 list of mine…unless it was a Top 20 worsts. That kind of re-imagining is deserving of something shiny! The first trade is out now.

Looking over this list, there are two things that bum me out about it:

#1 – the diversity seems seriously lacking. Fortunately my original list has a pretty good range…but still, the lack of diversity seems to speak volumes about the lack of push we’ve still got for non-white female characters.

#2 – There’s not a single DC character on the list. The original list had an incredibly dominant 9 ladies – and they took the top 3 spots, but the fact that in the last two plus years and with a reboot in the mix they haven’t got anyone on the new list is a really bad sign. The only two characters I even considered adding were Duane Swierczysnki’s Starling and Scott Snyder’s Harper Row.  In the case of Starling, I’m hesitant about her future (and if there is one?) since Swierczynski has left the Birds of Prey title, so I left her off. In the case of Harper Row, I don’t think I’ve seen quite enough yet to know whether she belongs here and I’m not sure where her future lies (though if it’s decidedly Robin-ish then she’s got a pretty good chance in the right writer’s hands of making the grade!)

So, those are the ladies that are gunning for the coveted title of my 20 Favorite Fictional Comics Females. What about you? Who’s making a run for your list these days?

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57 Comments

What about Batwoman or any of her supporting cast?

Batwoman is on the original list, which is linked to in the first sentence.

[...] a little late today, but a new SHE HAS NO HEAD! about 10 ladies that are making a run for my “Top 20 Fictional Females In Comics” after great work with [...]

I never liked Jubilee til that series either. I’ll follow Immonen and Noto anywhere, but when I heard about that series I’ll admit I was hesitant. I’m now starting to become a fan and curious to where the new series might take her.

Eh, with the way (most) Big Two comics are these days, I’ll take Scarlett, Baroness, Arcee, Mothra and Janine Melnitz any day. And Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Ghost, now THAT has animated series potential.

You have two asians or asian americans, one black african, a Semitic Hyborian, a winged alien, a caucasian with some Kree DNA. That seems to me to be quite diverse.

Immonen’s Journey Into Mystery and DeConnick’s Captain Marvel are spectacularly awesome. It was those two titles that got me drawn back into a keeping pull shelf after a loooooong spell of disinterest.

Re: She-Hulk, I *highly* recommend Dan Slott’s run on her main title (technically two runs, he wrote 1-12 before the DISASSEMBLED storyline reset the series with #1 again, with Slott staying on as writer). Hella funny and masterful at poking fun at Shulkie’s expense.

Also, QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST is probably my favorite of Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories. I was skeptical of a comic adaptation of it and I’ve passed it over the last couple times I visited the rack, but you’ve sold me on it. Thanks!

I’m kind of sad that Death or even Delirum of the Endless never made it onto either list. I know they don’t pop up that much (last I saw Death was in Action Comics having a chat with Luthor) but they both are so cool
Kind of bummed that Stephanie (as Batgirl) didn’t make it either. I know…I’m a Stephanatic and I’ll support her forever. At least two Batgirls (yay for picking the Oracle version of Barbara) made the list. Oracle was one of the most dynamic directions ever taken with a A-list (maybe B-list) character.
And what?? No Empowered or Ninjette from Dark Horse?! Tsk tsk tsk. ;)

@dan
What about John Byrne’s Sensational She-Hulk series?

Storm is better then them all.

Read the Outback years of the X-Men – if that doesn’t put Storm in your op 20, I don’t know what will lol

@Deense: Me too!

@Acer: I actually had some GI Joe comics in my comixology cart (on your recommend) who knows if they’re still there after the meltdown though. :(

@kabe: I don’t really feel like “alien races” or “being green” etc., counts as real diversity. It’s nice, sure, but it’s not the same as seeing a lot of faces that “appear” white.

But yes, the list got better when I had Jubilee and Storm sharing a spot – prior to that it was looking pretty lean on diversity.

@Dan: Glad to hear it! And i hope that Conan delivers for you – that is a lot to live to with an adaptation though!

@Nicole: I just haven’t read the Sandman stuff. It’s a big (odd) hole in my reading. One I hope to rectify someday when I get some time.

@Anon 9:12: I read all those, and liked them. But that was…what, more than 20 years ago? I haven’t (until recently) seen Storm used really well in a long long time.

Have you read SHINKU by Ron Marz and Lee Moder?
It’s one of my favorite new series, I keep suggesting it to people but no one seems to be reading it.
But then all the delays it’s been suffering aren’t helping it be around.

And I understand why you wouldn’t list her, but no Miho from Sin City? Shes not ‘current’ but would probably make my list just for Family Values, rollerblading around cutting mobsters’ heads off!

I loved Alana from the first issue but what REALLY sold her to me was when she was captured and thought her baby was being threatened. To go from tough bad-ass to completed distraught/panicked when she realized that she couldn’t do anything to stop it was an AMAZING character moment. It made her even more powerful by letting her be weak, if you get what I am saying.

Love the list, but… definitely check out Terry Moore! I’ll bet at least one of these great characters can crack the list: Katchoo and Francine from Strangers in Paradise; Ivy, Julie, and Annie from Echo; Rachel, Jet, Zoe, and Lilith from Rachel Rising (not to mention Aunt Johnny).

No love for Scarlet ??? Only me then? oh well…

@Kelly
Oh, yikes! Let’s hope their servers make a decent recovery, once you read one of those Joe issues, you may be hooked. If you want to read a pretty good fem-centric issue, 1989′s “G.I. Joe: Special Missions” #24 sees the four lady Joes–Scarlett, Jinx, Cover Girl, and Lady Jaye–undercover as the dance team at a New York cross-town rivals baseball game, and when Cobra’s hypnotist Crystal Ball hypnotizes the male Joes stationed at the stadium, those four are all that’s standing between Cobra and their kidnapping target, the President. Here’s a decent summary:
http://www.yojoe.com/comics/sm/sm24.shtml

No Toni Chu? LAME!

I am recommending Dana Cypress from Revival for the next list of great female characters.

also Dex from Greg Rucka’s Stumptown comics.

That is all.

IAM FeAR: Well, I read Shinku. It’s awesome!

Anonymous: Kelly loves Moore, so maybe she can explain why she left him off the list!

Layman: I don’t think Kelly reads Chew, much to her eternal shame!!!!

Grace Jones for the win INDEED! It seems so rare to come across mentions of the fabulous Ms. Jones. I love when she pops up in conversations about strong and interesting women.

I know the former was on the original list, but thoughts on Rogue and Scarlet Witch in Uncanny Avengers?

Obviously you have not read X-Treme X-Men because if you had read X-Treme X-Men, Dazzler would have ABSOLUTELY made this list. Shame on you for not reading X-Treme X-Men… Also, X-Treme X-Men!

I second what Daniel says! The character rehab Dazzler has received in X-Treme X-Men is absolutely incredible…we’re talking Grant Morrison’s reinvention of Emma Frost levels of incredible.

The first trade just came out, please-oh-please-oh-please pick it up!!

Your list lacks Songbird!!!

No Toni Chu? LAME!

SPOILERS

You killed her, you bastard!

Also, big fan. Chew is a great read.

Talia al Ghul? Agatha Heterodyne? Zoe or Casey from Morning Glories? Maria Hill?

I don’t know what to tell you, guys, I HATED X-Treme X-Men:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=4993

Dazzler is also a tough character for me in general, but I’m always willing to give a new creator and new spin a try – X-Treme didn’t work for me AT ALL. Sorry!

@Kevin: Dex was mentioned on my list of 20, the only reason she doesn’t make this list now is because her future seems uncertain…like I have no idea when the next Stumptown series will happen? But I LOVE her, all caps LOVE.

@Anon7:41: I love Terry Moore (check out our interview with him on 3 Chicks). Rachel almost made this list, as did Jet, and I love Rachel Rising.

@Blair: I loved the first issue of Scarlet but it was all downhill from there unfortunately. :(

@John Layman: I’m sorry, I haven’t read enough Chew. :( I tried a couple issues (maybe they were the wrong ones?) but it just didn’t gel for me…was thinking about trying it in trade though or digitally…maybe the second time will be the charm.

@IAM FeAR: To be honest, I don’t read much by Marz these days, because when I do, if I don’t like it, he starts talking shit about me on twitter and I think that’s a really shitty way for a creator to behave. I have heard some good things about Shinku though.

@Lando: S’okay. I’m not loving Rogue in that book so far, and Scarlet Witch has never been a fave. I’m still reading, but I haven’t seen anything to blow my mind yet. Rogue has had a rough year actually, ever since Carey left Legacy, but I’m hoping Wood can give her something awesome to do in X-Men – fingers crossed.

@Quite:

No thanks, haven’t read enough, no thanks, and no thanks! :) But thanks for playing!

If I had to make a quick list I’d have to put X-23 pretty high up there since she along with Carol Danvers are the reason along with Wolfsbane the reason I started reading Marvel Comics. Others include mistress of Magic Zatanna and her fellow Justice League Dark teammate Madame Xanadu. Others include my fave “perky goth” Death from Sandman and Power Girl

I world recommend Roxie ”Manteau” Hodder from Dial H and Maxine “Little Wing” Baker from Animal Man, both great female characters from DC. They also introduce some age diversity.

Since you mentioned Saga, and I agree Alana is such a great character, I thought i’d mention Izabel because she’s my favorite character(well one of them) in the book because she reminds me of Molly Hayes from Runaways but grownup. Also a lot of the girls in Morning Glories are pretty awesome.

Awesome list! If it were mine I’d also have added Josephine of Fatale and sisters Dana and Em of Revival. I also love Alana and Batwoman to pieces.

Great list Kelly. I’ve also really enjoyed the surge of Black Widow recently, and I would defintely read a solo book featuring her written by Greg Rucka. Anyone could draw it, and I would be there.

Another vote for Songbird. She’s rarely drawn in a titillating fashion, and she’s overcome considerable barriers (dependency on a criminal boyfriend, membership multiple criminal groups) to become her own person, someone trusted almost completely by most heroes despite her criminal past being public knowledge. Not only a team player but frequently a team leader.

Liz Sherman, Kate Corrigan and Carla Giarocco from BPRD!

BPRD’s great for diversity, too. The only two major white male characters in the cast are Abe Sapien and Johann Krauss, neither of whom have their original bodies.

Just wanted to say X-Treme X-Men was even more awful with issue 2, and it made Dazzler look like a complete idiot. “Idiot?” Yes, because she repeated EVERYTHING that was said to her. I wanted to like that book, but ugh.

And damn joshschr for his spoilers!!!

Oh, and Glory is so freakin’ awesome.

Pixie. That’s all.

I’ll just do my top 10 female comic characters. I don’t know that I could do a top 20 (don’t read enough comics!!)

1.) Wonder Woman- currently loving the book. But who knows if I’ll love the next run
2.) Robin- Carrie Kelley, always loved this character. She was fun.
3.) Spider Woman- Jessica Drew.
4.) Red She-Hulk, liking the current story, lets see if she has lasting power
5.) Valkyrie- always liked her.
6.) Jakita Wagner- Very cool character.
7.) Miranda Zero- Global Frequency. Talk about a strong female lead. This book actually had a pilot made. Michelle Forbes played Miranda Zero. It would have made some good TV. Pity
8.) Death- she should be higher on the list but I’m too lazy to retype.
9.) Jade- She’s probably snuffed from continuity but I like her.
10.) Mantis- cool character, what can I say, I have a thing for green chicks.

Glory is a great character, but she’s utterly vile, brutal and sadistic. I wouldn’t necessarily put her in rarified pro-female air.

and x-23 may be the worst “female” character ever created. Just utterly wrong in every single facet.

Charles J. Baserap

March 13, 2013 at 4:26 am

Black Widow is Russian (also, it wasn’t a mini by Liu; it was canceled due to sales); I know she appears white, but can we stop pretending all white people are the same? I mean, seriously, I know Puerto Ricans who are insulted if you call them Dominican or Mexican, etc. The white Jewish guy down the block is not the same as the white Italian guy, etc. Diversity is more than just skin color, and it’s rather insulting to have an entire block of people painted with the same broad brush (eh, you all look alike), and that’s ANY people. This issue has been raised in the MLB with black Hispanics not wishing to be counted in the numbers of black players, because they feel they are not the same as African Americans and count themselves as Hispanic. You look at a guy like Robinson Cano and think “black” just on appearance, but he’s not. You look at a guy like David Ortiz, who also looks “black” but he’s not either.

I’m not mad at all; I just get annoyed with the you all look alike mentality, especially when there is more to diversity than skin color–after all, we tout the diversity of a gay character like Northstar, but never say he’s just another white speedster when he stands next to Flash or Quicksilver; we talk about Simon Baz being a Muslim rather than focus on his skin color; Bunker’s sexuality was also heralded as a big step (note, I’m not denying any of these things are, nor am I complaining about any of these characters whatsoever as I like each of them) but little was said of him being another Hispanic individual and he stands different from someone like Jaime Reyes. For someone to complain about diversity, and then stop at the skin deep part, well, that’s a bit counterproductive, although I am 110% it’s unintentional and not in any way shape or form meant to offend anyone AT ALL.

Like this list more!

Re: @kabe: I don’t really feel like “alien races” or “being green” etc., counts as real diversity. It’s nice, sure, but it’s not the same as seeing a lot of faces that “appear” white.

Fair enough, but then there are still 4 diverse characters out of 11 in that list. And I believe that when talking comics, at least some aliens should count as diverse characters, especially humanoids with specific facial features, skin tone, or specific cultural tropes.

It’s Olivier Coipel, not Oliver.

There hopefully will be more choices when Aspens !0 for !0 runs it’s full course.A combination of relaunches of Aspens current catalog and new characters.This is a much better list than you would get from Comicvines DC/Marvel centric lists.Quite frankly even the calls for Batwoman and Wonder Woman and the inclusion of Marvel’s Storm and Black Widow( I like BW) set my teeth on edge because of the DC/Marvel fans failing in most instances to support anything besides A+X and Bat titles.It hardly matters how good anything else is if they can’t see beyond 5 or 6 books.Curious to see what you might think of Image Comics Revival and Debris female leads and Avatars War Goddess.

@Baserap: Yes, there was a mini before the ill fated 8 issue run that was an attempt to be an ongoing that no Marvel fan supported.In fact there were a series of minis prior to the Marjorie Liu run. I think that was the point of the original comment..As far as the rest of your points about diversity I couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it.

Great List. Glad you are finally seeing the She-Hulk love.
My list would include Zatanna and the Wasp. Donna Troy is a guilty pleasure. And Hawkwoman (but I like the original Shayera Hol).

I really love this site. You write about very interesting things. Thanks for all your tips and information.

WE need a Top 10 Comic Book Ladies from Movie/TV adaptations. Though there wouldn’t be as many to list, the differences between their comic book versions and movie/tv adaptations could make for interesting comparissons.

While I’m not familiar with Nimona I would categorise the others racially as…
3 non-caucasians (Alanna, Jubilee and Storm)
3 significantly exotic caucasians (a faux-Asian of extra dimensional parentage, an unusually pallid woman from a prehistoric land and an Asgardian goddess)
3 American caucasians
and 1 Russian Caucasian

great characters there

It is soooooo awesome you included Alana from Saga. She is just badass. Sure, she may be a little dislikable at the beginning maybe but that’s what make her a kick ass character.

[...] 10 More Great Female Characters (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

Yay Shulkie! Thanks Kelly

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