In honor of Women’s History Month, the MKE Comicbook meetup for April focused on women creators and characters. We had a good turnout, interesting discussion, and fun trivia game (with main prize from LWOW!). Thank you for the MKE Beer Bistro for hosting us again!
We started the discussion with everyone sharing the first significant female character that they could recall being a fan of. The responses showed the time period most of us grew up in, and also revealed we have one or two new readers in attendance! We heard mentions of Invisible Woman, Magik, Psylocke (2x), Jayna (of the Wonder Twins) (2x), Storm (2x) and Jubilee (2x), Sailor Moon, Wonder Woman (2x), Betty (from Archie Comics) (2x), Judge Anderson (from Judge Dredd), Monica Rambeau (the 80s Captain Marvel), Little Lulu, Scarlett (from G.I.Joe) and the X-women, and Riri Williams (from Iron Man).
Javier is a fan of Kelly Sue Deconnick, and mentioned her work on CAPTAIN MARVEL, BITCH PLANET, and PRETTY DEADLY (with Emma Rios, which he described as “like Greek Myths, if Greek myths were in the Wild West, circa WW1”). He said Bitch Planet was an “awesome feminist manifesto, and as a father of two daughters, I really appreciate what she’s doing.”
He also brought AYA, from Drawn and Quarterly, “like a West African sitcom, in Cote d’Ivoire and it even has recipes in the back!”
His final book was APOCALYPTIC GIRL, from Andrew McLean, who did the whole book himself – “futuristic awesomeness with giant robots, and just GEESH!”
Shawn brought a book by his favorite creator, Skottie Young, called I HATE FAIRYLAND, about an “Alice in Wonderland” sort of character, but it’s 30 years later, and while “Alice’s” mind has matured, her body has stayed that of a child. It’s full of vulgarity, sarcasm, and is right down Shawn’s alley! 🙂
COPPERHEAD was his next book, featuring a “Firefly sort of story, a sci-fi Western about a woman sheriff struggling to get respect from the town she serves.”
Shawn also shared two books that, while fictional, each had a real history basis. ROUGH RIDERS, from Aftershock, features turn-of-the-century, American “super figures” like Teddy Roosevelt, and – Annie Oakley! REBELS is about “what does a woman do when her husband goes off to the Revolutionary War?”
He also mentioned CHAMPIONS as being a pretty good read, featuring two main girl characters – Ms. Marvel and Viv (from the Vision Family), and unique in that it often deals with current social justice topics.
Don shared the Iron Fist story that had the first woman Iron Fist, and also Monstress, an Image comic with a woman writer and artist. He highlighted an old issue of SWAMP-THING that most people know for its writing and art, but Don mentioned for the exceptional work of colorist Tatiana Wood. His final share was SPECIAL EXITS by Joyce Farmer, a graphic novel about navigating life while caring for aging parents.
I brought LUMBERJANES, which I’ve just started reading, about a group of adventurous girl scouts (written and drawn by women). I also shared EXCALIBUR, from the Marvel 1980s, as I remembered it being a book where the women really seemed equal to the men heroes, and it was a team that was actually majority women (and it had great Alan Davis artwork). My final book was the early-2000s ALIAS, from Marvel, which introduced Jessica Jones, a really excellent character – a super-powered private investigator.
Jony wanted to share a pair of “Moments of Awesome” from X-men history. Her first scene was a >very< short fight between Psylocke and Sabertooth, and a scene with Misty Knight, where “she punches a shark in the face!”
Jihan brought WONDER WOMAN, not for Diana, but for an issue’s focus on the backstory of Cheetah. He also mentioned the animated Justice League of America cartoon, which convinced him that Wonder Woman led the JLA for that series.
The JLA came up again, when Jihan mentioned a particular JLA annual written by Brian K. Vaughan, with a character that was Turkish. “That meant a lot to me,” Jihan said, “and Turkish lady doctors with swords are GREAT!”
His final selection was “INTRO TO ALIEN INVASION”, a humorous and scary graphic novel by illustrated by Nancy Ahn.
Molly had two books to share: MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR (which is written by a woman, and features a young genius girl as the lead) and LEGENDERRY (a book that takes popular Dynamite characters, like Red Sonja, and puts them in a steampunk setting).
Kate had three books, from three different publishers, to share: 1. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and FRAY (Dark Horse) with “so much good Buffy mythology,” and makes a compelling argument for “women characters that could carry a TV/film franchise…”, 2. YOUNG JUSTICE (DC) – with four different female characters who are all strong in unique, different ways – it was “Peter David at his best (as a writer).”, and 3. HARK A VAGRANT by Kate Beaton, a very well-known humorous comicstrip.
Nat brought the historically-based RED ROSA, a graphic novel biography about Rosa Luxemburg, by artist/writer, Kate Evans.
Kiera has really been enjoying INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, with its focus on Riri Williams, another exceptional young woman who hacks the Iron Man armor, and learns how to fight be watching YouTube videos!
Emilio brought two books that he claimed were examples of how >not< to depict women in comics – a collection of 1950s-era LOVE AND MARRIAGE, which he said is “like an i-Ching of bad comics!”, featuring lots of lovelorn women whose men have gone to war; he also shared some classic LOIS LANE which is “just awful, but good for laughs!”
We had another good trivia game put together by Don, with some prizes from Don and from the best MKE-area comicbook shop – Lost World of Wonders!