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Top 50 Female Comic Book Writers and Artists Master List

women in comics final

Here is the master list for our countdown of the Top 50 Female Comic Book Writers and Artists, based on YOUR votes!

Click on any creator on the list for a write-up about that creator’s career!

ARTISTS

25. Trina Robbins

24. Rumiko Takahashi

23. Jo Chen

22. Emily Carroll

21. Colleen Coover

20. Wendy Pini

19. Jillian Tamaki

18. Ming Doyle

17. Faith Erin Hicks

16. Stephanie Hans

15. Marie Severin

14. Kate Beaton

13. Annie Wu

12. Ramona Fradon

11. Babs Tarr

10. Pia Guerra

9. Amy Reeder

8. Nicola Scott

7. Colleen Doran

6. Sara Pichelli

5. Emma Rios

4. Jill Thompson

3. Becky Cloonan

2. Amanda Conner

1. Fiona Staples

WRITERS

25. Raina Telgemeier

24. Barbara Kesel

23. Jen Van Meter

22. Marguerite Bennett

21. Colleen Doran

20. Jo Duffy

19. Kate Leth

18. Rumiko Takahashi

17. Allie Brosh

16. Lynda Barry

15. Hiromu Arakawa

14. Becky Cloonan

13. Emily Carroll

12. Devin Grayson

11. Marjorie Liu

10. Noelle Stevenson

9. Kathryn Immonen

8. Marjane Satrapi

7. Ann Nocenti

6. Alison Bechdel

5. Kate Beaton

4. Louise Simonson

3. G. Willow Wilson

2. Gail Simone

1. Kelly Sue DeConnick

18 Comments

Profoundly disappointed that writer ANINA BENNETT is not on this list. She’s a hugely groundbreaking female industry pro who was the first woman editor at First Comics, the second female editor at Dark Horse (behind Diana Schutz), founder of the legendary Freinds Of Lulu (the first women’s comics organization), creator of the first female action hero comic series Heartbreakers (as opposed to costumed superheroines– and acknowledged as such by comics historian Trina Robbins), wrote the Alien DHP comic story which was adapted into the film Aliens vs Predator, winner of several comic industry awards including The Inkpot, and her recent book Boilerplate is currently in development by J.J. Abrams as a major motion picture. Most of her truly innovative writing occurred before the Internet kicked in, so maybe that’s why she’s overlooked in comics history? At least she’ll be represented in the upcoming volume of Comic Book People by Jackie Estrada.

I guess by artist, they mostly only considered pencilers and not cover artists? Surprised to not see Danni Shinya Luo on a list that did include quite a few people who haven’t worked in years, though her work has been rare recently, too. Also surprised not see Laura Allred’s name on this, since she is the best colorist in the business. It’s a shame that this list seems so strained to fill a mere 25 slots (is Trina Robbins really still relevant? Wendy Pini, really?), but I’m guessing that the majority of votes came from readers of mostly superhero comics, who also read the occasional sci-fi or horror book, and perhaps read the Comics Journal every once in a while, so they are tangentially familiar with the names they see regularly in print even if they don’t actually read the comics.
Virtually no manga artists made this list. It would have been easy to draw 25 names from Japan alone, where the comics industry is much more female friendly. I would place any of the following names ahead of almost everybody that did make the list (though I’d be sure to find a place for Amanda Conner): Satomi Ikezawa, Nanase Ohkawa, Y? Asagiri, Fusako Kuramochi, Shinobu Ohtaka, Haruko Tachiiri, Taeko Watanabe, Shizue Takanashi, Rurika Kasuga, Mari Ozawa, Miyuki Kitagawa, Junko Mizuno, Ai Marito, Eiki Eiki, Toshie Kihara, Kiyoko Ara, Hajime Kazu, Mari Yamazaki, Masako Watanabe, Towa Oshima, Kanoko Sakurakoji, Q Hayashida, Chica Umino, Moyoko Anno, Yuki Suetsugu, Megumi Tachikawa, Keiko Suenobu, Yukine Honami and Maki Kazumi and literally hundreds of others. Keiko Takemiya should have been number one on any list of female comic artists and writers, and Suzue Miuchi probably should be number two, but most people who write about sequential art are painfully ignorant to anything not originally published in English, and tend to favor superhero titles. Maybe that speaks more to the site’s demographic than the overall fandom population, but it is no less unfortunate.

Matthew Murray

April 3, 2015 at 6:33 pm

@Matt Kennedy

I think there’s a difference between “painfully ignorant to anything not originally published in English” and “not being aware of things that have never been published in English”.

I don’t believe Suzue Miuchi has had _anything_ published in English, so I could have read every manga ever published in English and still not know who she is.

The artist I’m surprised is missing is Carla Speed McNeil.

In what universe is inker Laurie Foster not make the top 25 female artists list? The book she inks Super!, was one of the best looking comics I’ve ever seen – and improved significantly since she started on it (issue 2). Or is this the top 25 mainstream artists?

No Hope Larson? That’s pretty disappointing.

Carla Speed McNeil should be on this list, for shame!

@Paul Guinan: I haven’t read any of her written work, so she wasn’t on the list I submitted, but I do remember her well as an editor back in the First days. And I still remember quite clearly that picture of her as GrimJack :) (Did you draw that?)

I need to check out Heartbreakers.

@Angie Reed: This was a readers poll, so it largely reflects the tastes and knowledge of CBR’s readers, I’d guess. That’s going to point it somewhat in the direction of the mainstream.

Anina Bennett just missed my list, actually (my #11), and I kinda regret not having her on my list.

When the voters have only 10 slots for writers and 10 for artists, and Kelly’s big list of female creators has over 1500 women on it, it’s obviously going to be tough to narrow it down to a list this small.

I’m very fond of manga, but no, I don’t think placing most of those creators above just about anyone but Amanda Conner works for me, but each to their own. None of the manga creators you list are on my favorites list. No Riyoko Ikeda, for example.

“In what universe is inker Laurie Foster not make the top 25 female artists list? The book she inks Super!, was one of the best looking comics I’ve ever seen – and improved significantly since she started on it (issue 2). Or is this the top 25 mainstream artists?”

A universe in which women with a large body of work over decades are prioritized in votes over someone who has only done a few issues inking on one comic book.

How did they miss Dale Messick?

@Matthew Murray – lack of awareness is ignorance by definition.
MOST of the world does not speak or read English, but a greater degree of citizens from countries that do not speak English as a first language still learn it than the contrary. What I was speaking to is the fact that a poll in one of the most prominent American web sites about comic books reflects the ignorance of the average American comic book fan (and reviewer) to virtually anything not published in English. In the post-internet age that’s unacceptable.
Miuchi’s lack of English-language content does not excuse your not being aware of it. And I do not mean to single you out, personally. The truth of the matter is that there are names on the list that have absolutely been influenced by her work, since most of what the western world has seen of manga stems directly from her style, and the look of modern comics has been undeniably affected by manga via the work of people as varied as Frank Miller and Bryan Lee O’Malley. Miuchi’s work changed an entire industry, and there isn’t a single name on the CBR list that can even remotely make that claim. Possibly only someone like Jack Kirby had the singular effect on American comic art that Suzue Miuchi had on Japanese Manga–which is not to compare apples and oranges; Jack Kirby’s characters will stand the test of time as long as comics are being published, but his style developed as an adaptation of work that preceded his, and he grew his style from that, while Mizue’s style was entirely original with no prior work owing to it and led to generations of copyists, which in turn influenced anime, and so on.
This is not hyperbole.
It’s important to realize that the cultural significance of sequential art is far greater in Japan than in America, and the circulation of books in Japan is much higher, not just per capita, but overall. I don’t have the precise numbers handy, but I am confident that the current circulation on Mizue’s books (which are still in print decades later) in Japan is higher than any two combined titles currently published in America. Current artists have drawn from the work of latter day artists she influenced and didn’t know that Suzue was the origin point, but that does not belittle her influence or importance so much as it amplifies their ignorance. In art, you are responsible for knowing what has come before you. Whether work is intentionally derivative or accidentally so, that which came first must be recognized. While Mizue’s books are rarely translated or republished in English, she is mentioned in virtually every English-language book about manga, and is named as an influence by many other Japanese artists whose work is translated into English. Is any of Marie Severin’s work still in print? Marie was amazing and deserves recognition for her contribution to the comics medium, and while I would rate her higher on this list of names than others did, she would not be in the top 20 in a more international selection.
I singled out Amanda Connor for praise above all of the others on this list because she has undeniably influenced the current look of superhero comics in the USA. That’s an important distinction that nobody else on the list can lay claim to. In fact, the artist selected as number one (because of the popularity of the comic she illustrates) is a golden example of an artist who has come after Amanda Connor. With Marvel and DC continuously edging toward a “house look,” I’m sure that Amanda is presented as an example to follow because she’s a great technician and she’s incredibly popular. That wouldn’t be lost on Image, Dark Horse or any other savvy publisher, because Connor is bankable. Again, I’m not sure how many of the other non-cover artists on the CBR list can claim that since there is no data to support an up-tick in sales on books to which they contribute but aren’t normally associated.
I think it’s great that someone decided to put together a list of the top female professionals in comics, but it’s sad to me that in two lists of only 25 names, a significant number of them rarely still work. It’s a shame because it’s indicative of how American comics have failed to market to more than half of the population, and the percentage of female professionals working on the front end is a poor reflection of the talent pool. There are several factors that may contribute to this, not the least of which is the crummy pay, but it’s still a shame that there aren’t more woman to make a list like this more difficult to assemble. I mean no disrespect to any of the woman who made the list, I just wish it had reflected the impact woman have had elsewhere rather then amplify their absence here.

First of all, I’m very very happy that this list even exists. So thank you CBR.

Glad I’m not the only one saddened by the Carla Speed McNeil snub. But what about Alex de Campi on the writer side? I hope that No Mercy helps raise their profiles with the CBR readership.

I think the fans of Emily Carroll might warm up to Julia Gfrörer, and fans of fun could do worse than check out Katie Kelly.

Those with more avant garde tastes can look for Mickey Zacchilli and Lale Westvind.

eleanora riggers

April 6, 2015 at 6:41 pm

I’m happy to see Wendy Pini on the list but feel she should be higher.She is an Icon.Also want to give much respect to Autumn Ivy.If you don’t know her yet you will.She’s great.

Using sales figures as an indication of whether or not an artist is good or deserves a vote is dubious reasoning. Of all the people on the list, I can’t only see 4 who don’t still work. That’s not a significant percentage. Considering Wendy Pini was a major influence on Amanda Connor is another blind spot in the reasoning here, but I won’t go on. Better things to do. Fine choices on both lists and congratulations to everyone who made it, and good thoughts to the many deserving women who did not.

Sorry, meant to write that of all the women on both lists, I can only see 4 who are retired from comics. Ramona Fradon, Marie Severin and Jo Duffy. Trina Robbins doesn’t do art anymore, but she still writes about comics. The list is a good mix of older creators to whom people show respect, solid workhorse creators, and up-and-coming creators. Can’t really see much to complain about, even though a few of my favorites didn’t make it.

[…] Comic Book Resources recently conducted a survey and tabulated the stats for 2015 to put together a list of the Top 50 most popular women in comics broken into a list of writers and a list for artists; some women appear on both, like Colleen Doran. […]

I am so happy that we are getting much better female representation. I am no extreme feminist by any means, but I feel they bring a perspective to writing and art that is just plain absent from the male vision. I also like that we’re getting more cool female characters too. I hope Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel stays around for years to come. Cool post!

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