In recent years many female prose writers have also taken up writing for the comics. It is interesting that many of these authors are writers for young adults. This demonstrates how big companies like Marvel and DC are taking risks in order to try to appeal to a wider audience. It looks as though they are now trying to reach a more diverse audience with stories written by women.
Female cartoonists have always been an important part of comics history. However, in the past, women who worked in mainstream comics were a rarity. Most well known female cartoonists worked in animation, comic-strips, or in underground/alternative comics. Mary Severin was an exception, having worked on many of Marvel’s superheros early on. Louise Simonson and Ann Nocenti were well-known names in the 1980s/1990s because they were women writers/editors on popular mainstream titles such as Superman and The Uncanny X-Men. Around the same time, Diana Schutz was an important editor at Dark Horse known for publishing popular titles such as Frank Miller’s Sin City. Colleen Doran and Jill Thompson are cartoonists and innovators who began working for Marvel and DC in the 1980s and are still working today.
Since the early 2000s, with the success of the Marvel Universe movies, DC and Marvel began hiring many writers from outside of the comics world to script their titles. In 2014, G. Willow Wilson reinvented Ms. Marvel as a Pakistani-American teen-age girl from Jersey City named Kamala Khan. Around the same time the popular young adult author Rainbow Rowell began writing a new version of Marvel’s The Runaways.
In 2006 DC tried its hand at appealing to an audience of teenage girls with a new imprint called Minx. That line only lasted two years, as the books never quite found an audience. One of the books published by Minx was The Plain Janes, a rare comic written by a popular young adult author. Two volumes of that book, illustrated by Jim Rugg, were completed before the cancellation occurred. A renewed interest in titles like this are evident in the fact that more than ten years later this series will finally be completed. Little Brown will be publishing an expanded version of The Plain Janes in 2020.
Last year DC announced that they would be creating two new lines aimed at a tween and teen audience with DC Zoom and DC Ink. Many of these titles are scripted by young adult authors. This list includes Laurie Halse Anderson, Kami Garcia, Melissa de la Cruz, Meg Cabot and Marie Lu.
It’s a powerful time for female creators and readers!
Here are some links to more information on this subject:
- List of Female Comic Creators
- Women In Comics Wiki
- Female Superhero representation in Comics
- 50 Women In Comics