#1116 "Augh Inspiring"

June 28th, 2013, 3:05 pm

Average Rating: 5.00

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Reply TheCatMolloy, June 28th, 2013, 4:57 pm

So it's my niece's 11th birthday party party this weekend. Today I went to the local shopping centre (the word 'mall' isn't in common usage in Ireland) to pick out a gift. I thought I'd be able to find something suitable in the gadget shop, but didn't find anything that really jumped out.

Anyway, I wandered around for a little while, ended up in a book shop and saw a rotating stand with a bunch of Marvel trade paperbacks.

Of course! Comics! Why hadn't I thought of that FIRST?!

Anyway, there wasn't much of a selection in the bookshop, but there was a comic shop not too far away, so I went there, told the shopkeeper I was looking for a present for my niece. She's a smart, literate 11-year-old, so I was looking for something suitable for teenagers. An adventure story with a female lead, preferably not a superhero book because she's not really into them, and preferably not too much gore.

"Well..." said the shopkeeper in tones of apologetic incredulity "...good luck".

He was very helpful, took me over to the non-Marvel-or-DC shelves and tried to find something that'd suit. The short stack was pretty short. He recommended Fables as having an ensemble cast with strong female characters (which is true, it's an excellent series) as well as the spin-off Cinderella book. There was a Tank Girl book, and after that 'female protagonist' became a bit tangential. Pride of Baghdad, which is about lions, was recommended. I flicked through it and thought it seemed a little intense. It's from the creator of Y: The Last Man and the shopkeeper absolutely gushed about it, but I flicked through it and thought it seemed a little intense. One to read for myself first before handing it over to a child.

There were a couple of copies of Bone (which is a wonderful book, but was a bit out of my price range), and a comic adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere which I seriously considered (I've read the novel and Door's a good character).

Anyway, my bearded angel Alan Moore came to the rescue. I spotted a copy of The Ballad of Halo Jones, one of the assortment of flawed masterpieces he wrote for 2000AD in the 1980s, on a shelf off to the right. Strong female protagonist, not a superhero, plus it's a book I read and loved when I was about her age. Perfect uncle gift, just what I had been looking for, job done.

That "good luck" has stuck with me though. Are there really so few comics with female leads that are neither saccharine nor excessively violent? I wasn't looking at the superhero stuff, I'm talking standalone graphic novels here.

Women are pretty well-represented in the world of webcomics (a quick look at the Top Web Comics list bears this out). I've been reading Girl Genius online for years and recommend Ursula Vernon's Digger at every available opportunity. Really good comics by and/or about women are increasingly common online (ladies and gentlemen, start your linking) so it's weird to see so few female leads on the shelves of my local comic shop.

Then again, I wasn't really looking for them until today.

Anyway, as always don't forget to vote at Top Web Comics for today's Whitespace Neko bonus panel. See you Monday!

Reply Advertisement, December 15th, 2017, 6:05 am

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Reply Compiemunky, June 28th, 2013, 5:42 pm

Manga Strong female leads are a common occurrence in manga, and its your own pick of genres after that, anything from romance, to mystery, to slice of life.
You would have found at LEAST 10 manga series with that genre and description, however getting them ones you want in a book format in any language other than Japanese would be the challenge :P
You could probably find a few though, sometimes I wish manga was more widely available, only having the odd mismatched volumes from only 5-10 different series in the local library are a far cry from a global availability, so I settle with the online readers' scanlations for now.

Reply GabrielsThoughts, June 28th, 2013, 6:37 pm

Actually, gender confusion horror is the most common occurrence in manga. There are literally three genders and three physical age groups in manga.

Strong female leads are actually a common occurrence in nicktoons, chapbooks, dime novels, and penny dreadfuls.

Reply Pat (Guest), June 28th, 2013, 7:37 pm

Neil Gaiman's Death (and/or Delirium) comics were a go-to gift for my little sister.

Reply VictorB, June 28th, 2013, 10:33 pm

Female Leads I found Zodiac PI, a hard to find discontinued Manga, to be a good example of a comic with a strong female lead. However, in North American culture, there aren't many. I remember a SuperMom commercial which all her superpowers related to being a housewife as I was a kid.

Following the trend of media though, Books and Comics are now being turned into movies. This is the new age of the Silver Screen. As well, Actors are turning to TV shows for a better job. Combine these and I predict that webcomics are the next to hit series on TV, like Mangas turn into Anime.

Reply GabrielsThoughts, June 29th, 2013, 2:28 am

@ VictorB: So, what you're saying is, my comic could become the Catillac Cats to Neko the kitty's Heathcliff?

Sweet! I can milk the official troll status for money now.

Reply gaztasterofpork (Guest), June 29th, 2013, 9:39 am

Manga's all over the place There is always some sexualization in manga as well as in comics, as the mom of two small girls I can agree with that "Good luck". As a teenage girl I remember spending all of my time deeply engrossed in Xanth books. It is a great fantasy adventure series featuring many strong female leads. I read it to my five year old actually as it is the second non-picture books she likes she hates Harry Potter but loves Percy Jackson because Her names Artemis and likes to pretend that she is a Goddess.

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