I’ve recently rediscovered my love for comic books over the past few years. I began with binge reading Fables, which was manageable while I worked full time and pursued my Masters degrees. Once I caught up, which was no easy feat as I burned through all 120+ issues, and the Fairest issues currently available, and all the Cinderella tales, I began to look at how the comic book industry had changed since my absence.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that women in comic books were experiencing a revolution. Fueled by female writers, female-driven story, and female executives, women are buying comics in record numbers. The female incarnation of Thor is currently outselling the last male Thor run. With writers like Gail Simone and Kelly Sue DeConnick at the helm, women readers are suddenly living in a female comic book paradise.
So where does a beginner or someone who has recently rediscovered comics begin? How does one begin their adventure into female comic book heaven? When recently chatting up my sister, who has never read a comic book on purpose, I insisted on sending her some comic trade paperbacks for her birthday. And the first comic book on the list? Ms. Marvel: No Normal, compiling the first 5 issues of the new run.
Traditionally, Ms. Marvel was played by Carol Danvers, a beautiful blonde pilot who received her superpowers from an alien named Mar’vell. Carol is bold, witty and fierce, having been a fixture of Marvel comics since her first issue in 1977. With the help of a recent reboot, and brilliant Kelly Sue DeConnick, Danvers received a promotion, taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel and leaving a space open for a new Ms. Marvel.
The new Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American teenage girl named Kamala Khan. And she is smart, witty, geeky, an effervescent force of nature in a world in need of a hero. The most amazing part of the comic? Kamala’s amazing family, who writer G. Willow Wilson portrays with a wholehearted embrace and understanding of Muslim culture.
This is a great book for teens through adults, both male and female. G. Willow Wilson also wrote the book Alif the Unseen if you’re interested in more of her work. She is also currently working on the series A-Force for Marvel which only has a few issues under the title. Other comics to read in addition to this would be the Captain Marvel run of 2012 and 2014, both with Kelly Sue DeConnick as writer, and Batgirl 1-35, which was written largely by Gail Simone, except for an absence due to Simone being replaced, and then quickly reinstated due to fan outrage. It’s a great time for women in comics.