Top 3 Female Comic Book Writers
There’s been a fair amount of press regarding the presence of female characters in the comic book universe. Black Widow has been holding her own, just barely, as a lead action character in the Avengers movies, but the whole ‘Boys Club” feeling of comic books is probably felt even more on the other side of the page.
As a feminist male and long-time fan of the strong female characters in comic books, I feel somewhat of a hypocrite for only really knowing the work of three female writers. There are of course dozens/hundred/millions of prominent female writers and artists working today, but here are the 3 that I know and love:
1) Louise Simonson
Simonson and I go way back, knowing her best from her run on the New Mutants series and resenting her a little for writing Illyana out of the team by making her revert to her childhood form in the finale of Inferno. Damn you Simonson!
Upon closer inspection, Simonson’s work history is pretty epic and began way back in the 70s as an editor for the original Claremont/Byrne run on Uncanny X-Men. When Simonson transitioned into writing she did so with a title and group of characters of her own creation, the quaintly wholesome pre-teen super-team that was ‘the Power Pack.’ Her catalogue of work grew and she was eventually given an assignment to write an X-title in the form of X-Factor (which then featured the reunited original X-Men). And in her very first issue she only went and created one of the most iconic and maleficent villains in all of X-history.
That’s right, Simonson created Apocalypse and, with her husband Walter, crafted the story line that transformed Angel into the WAY more interesting character of Archangel. She worked on New Mutants, X-Factor and Power Pack for several years and was even on hand to introduce the world to Cable before leaving Marvel to write a run on Superman and introduce the character of Steel.
2) Gail Simone
Starting her career as a comedy writer, writing for the comic book version of the Simpsons, Simone is most well-known for her work writing the Birds of Prey Series for DC comics. Pretty much as feminist as you can get when it comes to comics, Simone gave the team of female crime fighters more depth and wrote them as women first and superheroes second. Having to deal with the real life implication of working nights as a crime fighter transformed the series into one of DC’s most popular and enduring title.
That isn’t to say that Simone just writes women, the way some male writers just write men, she had a very successful run at Marvel writing the Deadpool series and the subsequent pseudo spin off Agent X before her work on Birds of Prey. Throw in her work writing Secret Six, Wonder Woman and the New 52 version of Batgirl, Simone has an impressive body of work in which she manages to draw out the human aspects of these superhuman characters.
In other words she’s not so much a great female writer as she is just a great writer.
N.B. Simone also wrote the episode of Justice League Unlimited “Double Date” which is still one of my favourite episodes of the show’s entire run to date.
3) Kelly Sue DeConnick
Captain Marvel. Nuff said.
But I will say a little more about this massively popular writer. Having earned her break at Marvel after years of translating Japanese and Korean comic books, DeConnick wrote a couple of excellent mini-series based on characters such as Pepper Potts and Norman Osborn; showing off her ability to really get inside a character’s head and bring it to life on the page. After a brief stint over at DC writing Super-Girl, DeConnick hit the comic book big time with the re-invention Carol Danvers as a Captain rather than just a Ms.
Carol herself is an icon for feminism in comic books that has been sorely lacking in previous decades, and having a female writer take the reigns for the relaunch of her solo series was not only important but incredibly successful. It was thanks in no small part to DeConnick’s influence that Carol became a character so well-known and well-loved that she could carry her own solo Marvel movie.
The first female-character lead Marvel movie and it’s due to the influence of a female writer. Proof enough that we like what women writers are putting onto the shelves, and enough of an argument that we need more of these brilliant and bad ass women shaping the comic book universes in the future.