Back in November of 2010 I did a massive list of my 20 favorite female characters in comics. And today I'm doing a list of 10 ladies that - thanks to some seriously awesome creator work - are poised to break into that list. And all of them are currently starring in books going on now, so get out there and get reading!
I’m hard pressed to think of a character I’m more invested in (especially in so few issues) than Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Alana from Saga. She has quickly risen to the top of my favorites list and of all the ladies on this list, she’s probably one of two that I’d move up if I had to make a new “Top 20” today. She’s just so nuanced and complicated. She’s warrior and lover, mother and wife, badass but also almost childlike in her innocence of some things - her recent freakout that she had “broken her daughter” when Hazel’s umbilical cord nub fell off, was charmingly human and naïve – proving you can know all about the universe and still not know about the simplest of things. I just love her. In truth, I seriously considered putting a whole slew of ladies from Saga on this list including The Stalk (a contract killer!), Hazel (a baby!), Izabel (a teenage ghost!) and even the newly introduced Gwendolyn (the dreaded ex!) - that’s how much I love this book and these characters.
You can read more about Alana (and all these ladies) in Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Saga (the trade is currently on sale on Amazon for an insane $5.55 for Prime Members).
I wrote about my love for Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona webcomic on She Has No Head! not long ago, but when I was making this list, I confess that Nimona popped into my head, almost unbidden, and once she had, she refused to get out – which seems very Nimona. Morally suspect, enthusiastically villainous, but charmingly adorable anyway, Nimona is easily one of my favorite new heroines on the scene and if Stevenson keeps it up, Nimona is going to claw her way – perhaps quite literally given her shapeshifting abilities - onto my list of favorite fictional females in comics.
You can read more about Nimona in Noelle Stevenson’s ongoing Nimona web comic.
HAWKEYE aka KATE BISHOP
It takes a truly fantastic character to be as good (if not better) than Clint in his own book, yet in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s hands, Kate Bishop steals nearly every scene she’s in. Thanks to fantastic chemistry between the two Hawkeyes, innovative art and storytelling at the hands of Fraction and Aja, Kate Bishop, a character that has never even been on my radar, is a strong contender for the list someday very soon. Add to that her awesome debut in the first issue of Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie and it seems only a matter of time before she’s solidly on my list.
You can read more about Hawkeye/Kate Bishop in Young Avengers, and as a frequent guest star in Hawkeye (the first six-issue trade releases next week).
I’ve never read any Conan books, my experience with Conan is solely those awesome 80’s Conan movies (Grace Jones for the win!) But when I heard Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan were tackling the new Conan series from Dark Horse it was obvious I would be checking it out. Imagine my surprise to find I loved it! And loved Conan’s adversary and then lover/queen Bêlit the most of all. Bêlit is incredibly complicated and interesting, like all the best characters are. She’s presented almost like a dream or a nightmare, so powerful and beckoning, but over time she becomes fascinatingly human and flawed. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and one that is unflinchingly loyal once she chooses someone to be loyal too. As Wood brought her out of her element (the Sea, and her ship The Tigress) and into Conan’s cold Cimmeron world, he was able to show us a Bêlit pushed to new depths, but one that still prevailed, like in a scene where she fights (and kills) a pack of wolves on her own all while suffering from snow-blindness. Bêlit never gives up, and I love that in a character.
You can read about Bêlit in Brian Wood’s Conan The Barbarian. Available from Dark Horse Digital or the hardback trade of the first issues is already out.
I mostly missed out on all that She-Hulk stuff that everyone loved (and have yet to go back and read it – maybe now that I’m reading more digital I’ll give it a look). Regardless, She-Hulk has always intrigued me, and reading Kathryn Immonen’s Heralds mini-series a couple years back only strengthened that interest. She wasn’t in it a lot – there were a lot of characters and a lot going on – but what I saw, I really liked. Cut to FF #1 and I’m delighted to see She-Hulk playing a major role and being drawn by a badass like Mike Allred. So I’m in. I’ve enjoyed everything about She-Hulk in FF so far and if she keeps this up, she’s quickly going to muscle her way into the top 20.
You can read more She-Hulk in the ongoing FF by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred.