Breaking Into the Boys Club: The New Crop of Female Comics Creators (Part 2)

The portrayal of fictional female characters took it on the chin this week. And that chin happened to belong to The Facebook Movie Social Network.

Anyone who had ever hidden a friend's Farmville update dog-piled on the movie's negative depiction of women, claiming the filmmakers were either being sexist or simply finding a new way to stretch the truth in order to slam Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, the world's youngest billionaire martyr, whose reputation died so that we may status update for our sins.
This week, thankfully, the world of comic books–per usual–was the one oasis of sexual equality in the desert of mass media. New issues of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Gail Simone-written Secret Six join IDW's new reprint collection of early Blondie comic strips that don't show the ragged signs of age the current incarnation does. The pick of the litter, though, is Jen Van Meter's Hopeless Savages Greatest Hits, a collection of all the stories detailing the life of punk rock's first family. 
So was this just a long-winded way to introduce part two of my list of some of the best female comics creators who should be getting more recognition? Pretty much. If you haven't read part one, check it out here. Otherwise, head to the jump for the rest of the group.

Molly Crabapple

​As part of the comic collective Act-I-Vate, a Twitter foil for Warren Ellis and one of the founders of Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, a regular alt.drawing burlesque event in Brooklyn, Molly Crabapple should be as ubiquitous a name in the comic book industry as … well, as Warren Ellis. Her first graphic novel, Scarlett Takes Manhattan, is a lushly illustrated, saucy period piece about fire-breathing burlesque dancer Scarlett O'Herring and her adventures in 19th-century New York City. In a comic landscape dominated by superhero and action-adventure books, Scarlett is a welcome respite. As is Crabapple's humor and artistry.

Jennifer Hayden

​Like Crabapple, Hayden is another Act-I-Vate member, and she posts her webcomic, Underwire, on the collective's site (the strips will be collected by Top Shelf next year). Her work is autobiographical through her perspective as a wife and mom. Admittedly, the subject matter is one that can easily devolve into sentimental cliche or quirky dysfunctional cliche. To Hayden's credit, she has a delicate touch to her storytelling that gives an authenticity to the sweet craziness of a story like “Watercress.” Her first full-length graphic novel, The Story of My Tits, will be published by Top Shelf in 2012.

Nikki Cook and Stacey Garratt

​Is it cheating to pair up this artist and writer as one entry? Maybe, but I was introduced to their work as a team and blown away by what amounted to a preview of a still-unfinished graphic novel, the prologue to The Wings of Juano Dioz. The blend of Garratt's magical realism and Cook's forceful linework, I was hooked. I'm not sure what the status of Wings is, but I want to see more work by these two talents. (You can get a quick fix with their more “adult” collaboration, “Dripping Wet.”) In the meantime, Cook's art has been appearing in comics such as a tie-in to the movie Jennifer's Body and a fantastic standalone story in DMZ #41. 

Emma Rios

​A couple more months, and Rios probably wouldn't make this list. That's because she's poised to make a big splash, thanks in large part to her work on the November-releasing Osborn miniseries for Marvel, which is written by Kelly Sue Deconnick (who could've made this list, too, but I thought already had a pretty high profile as a writer). Previews of the first issue were released this past week, and her intricate and dynamic work received much praise. Although the Spanish artist has done work on Amazing Spider-Man and Shadowland: Elektra, it's best to check out her Flickr page to get a full idea of what a breathtaking illustrator Rios is.

So that's my two-part list. I had few other creators–Lucy Knisley, Sara Pichelli, and Colleen Coover–who I love but felt either were too established or hadn't proven themselves to be part of this group. Agree or disagree? Who do you think should've made the list? In the comments of the part one, reader A. Nonny Mouse suggested Rebecca DartEleanor Davis and Jillian Tamaki. (Thanks, A Nonny Mouse!)
Who is on your list of up-and-coming female creators?
Other The only two comics to check out buy this week
  • Parker: The Outfit Darwyn Cooke continues his graphic novel adaptations of Richard Stark's chiseled thief. Last year's The Hunter was a speedball of noir euphoria shot into the vein with a stylish needle of retro chic. Expect more of the same with The Outfit (and none of the actual accidental OD'ing brought on by normal speedballs).
  • Palookaville vol. 20 Following in the footsteps of fellow lit-comic creator Chris Ware, Seth turns his long-running series into a hardcover affair. This installment continues the Clyde Fans serialization as well as containing an essay, sketches and an autobiographical strip. A new Seth comic is an event in its own right, but one that has this much in it and looks this nice makes it extry-special.

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