Here we are – my (current) Top Five Female Comic Characters (that is a super clunky list title and I’m sorry about that). You may have noticed that there are some traits and characteristics that will quickly endear a character to me – supporting other women, being pragmatic, being problem solvers, having flaws, but being smart about them. These women largely encompass all of these things and more, and are written by people who are just as amazing and admirable as the characters themselves.
Without further ado:
Rat Queens is everything I’ve ever wanted from fantasy comics, you guys. It’s fun, dirty, clever, and features a cadre of bloodthirsty women. The Dungeons & Dragons/Pathfinder allusions push it in front of Red Sonja for me (although I am also VERY MUCH enjoying that book right now), and the clever way those allusions are incorporated into the story make it tops (ever wonder what a glut of adventuring parties in the same town would do to that town? Wonder no more!). Of the four main ladies, all of whom I love, Dee wins ever so slightly because of the dichotomies in her character. She’s a cleric! Who’s an atheist. Her parents are cult members! Who worship a squid. She’s an adventurer! Who kind of hates being around people. She’s also the sanest member of her crew, the mother hen to a bunch of crazies, and the way she takes care of Hannah, Betty and Violet is just so wonderful (women supporting women is going to be a theme of this list).
4. Snow White
There are a couple of female-centric tropes that I am incredibly partial to: Bitches Get Shit Done, very classy ladies being secret badasses, and monster boyfriends, to name just a few that are embodied in Snow White of Fables fame. She’s one of the main forces that keep Fabletown together, she’s instrumental in their defense and upkeep, she becomes a wife and mother without sacrificing one iota of her identity, and she tames the Big Bad Wolf. She’s beautiful and a princess, but she can take care of herself – Bigby may come to her defense a few times, but she’s always the first to remind him that she can solve her own problems (one of my favorite scenes between the two of them has them arguing over who gets to kill the evil prince who kidnapped her). She has seven kids and keeps on rolling, even though they end up being shape-shifting demi-gods. If I can be half as capable as her when I finally become a grownup, I will consider myself lucky.
3. Kitty Pryde
My favorite female X-Man, by a lot (I think the one who comes close is Emma Frost). I like Kitty because I relate to her; in the comics she’s been the shy newcomer to the boys’ club, earning their respect through her abilities and leadership until she’d worked her way up to headmaster of the Xavier school. She’s sweet and thoughtful, but pragmatic, and her relationship with Colossus might be my true forever OTP. I love that she’s friends with a dragon, that she’s pretty much the most powerful X-Man alive but hasn’t let that go to her head or overpower her common sense (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, CYCLOPS). She’s a leader and a problem solver, but she’s also very human; she can let her personal feelings overwhelm her common sense, she gets afraid, she makes mistakes. And then she fixes them because she’s a boss.
2. Kamala Khan
Kamala. Kamala. Smart, fearless, overly brave; can I tell you how much I adored it when Lockjaw, this giant mutant dog that makes no sense, barrels into her life and her first reaction is to fling herself around his neck? Kamala FEARS NOTHING, except normal teenage things like upsetting her dad. She loves her family and doesn’t want to disappoint them, but knows she has this thing now that can help other people. She meets Wolverine and fangirls over him. She does the right thing because it’s the only thing she can imagine doing.
1. Barbara Gordon
Look, guys, she’s a librarian (or she has been in some iterations). As Oracle, Babs knew everything and what she didn’t know she knew how to find out. Gail Simone’s Batgirl arc for the New 52 is what got me hardcore into comics. She’s joyful, she’s funny, she’s smart, and reading her book made everything else feel more accessible. Getting to know her as Batgirl made me seek out stories of her as Oracle, and there are few things as satisfying as watching her crush people with knowledge (except watching her kick people in the face, but I love that we can see both). I’m not as in love with the Batgirl of Burnside, but I love that DC is using her to welcome a younger, more diverse audience. She’s cute, she’s earnest, I love everything Barbara is and chooses to be.