Let’s Hear It For The Girls!

Marvel’s Girl Comics is a 3 issue mini-series created by a team of talented ladies. It’s also a good idea. Now I know every now and then a comic company will scratch their head over just how to get girls to buy comics, and from what I understand, the number is growing, particularly in manga. DC tried a noble attempt a few years ago with their Minx line, which unfortunately never took off the ground. However, there are a lot more female characters in the spotlight in the pages of both companies superhero books. In May alone Spider-Girl returns again, Dazzler gets a one-shot, as do the many loves of the Amazing Spider-Man in a book of the same name, Galacta: Daughter of Galactus hits, Black Widow’s new series continues, Emma Frost gets an origin spotlight special, and Marvel Her-oes continues with its focus on teen female Avengers. Plus let’s not forget all the female spandex wearers in the various X-Men and Avengers titles. Of course, giving more female characters series doesn’t mean more female readers, as I’m sure there’s a fair amount of appeal to both sexes with superhero stuff, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

Now, about Girl Comics. I’m a sucker for anthology books, and this appealed. Not all of the 7 short tales contained within are good, but they represent a great diversity. Most don’t feature females as leads, but are just slices of superheroes from different perspectives. Willow G. Wilson (Vertigo’s excellent Air) and Ming Doyle present a simple tale of Nightcrawler saving a perfromer in what looks like a WWII cabaret bar, Valerie D’Orazio and Nicki Cook show Punisher in a subtle, yet creepy tale of child protection and by far my favouritre – Head Space by Devin Grayson and Emma Rios (whose art I’ve loved since BOOM!’s Hexed). The other tales fall kinda flat for me, but that’s the lottery of an anthology. I’ll certainly pick up the remaining two issues, just to see what talent lies on offer. The creator biographies and and spotlights on Marvel employees Flo Steinberg and Marie Severin are a superb touch too.

Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki from Udon Comics is another new series with a female focus, though a different endeavour from the book above. Like any Gen Xer I paved my way through high school via button mashing on Capcom’s classic game, but I haven’t followed the franchise in the years since. Udon produce lovely, kinetic comics though, so this was a purchase on a whim. Written  by Jim Zubkavich with art by  Omar Dogan, who worked on the Chun-Li Legends series, this premiere ish mixes light high school drama with face kicking action. I’m unexposed to the newer Street Fighter characters, but this explains Ibuki in a very likeable fashion.

She’s a Japanese teen in a ninja school who also goes to a regular school and uses a mobile phone and has too many clothes for a stealthy fighter and this issue balances both of her lives well. There’s also a new arrogant girl at school who challenges Ibuki to a fight, a secret cabal of ninjas called Geki and a conclusion that reveals next issue’s addition of another SF character. The whole tale bounces along well, with a great touch in pacing from  Zubkavich and suitably light yet frantic action scenes from Dogan.

Since we’re talking about girls – Whiteout. I saw the Kate Becksinale starring film recently and it wasn’t as bad as the critics led me to believe. Based on the 1998 Oni Press OGN from Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber, it tells of a U.S Marshall trying to solve the first murder in Antarctica before a deadly storm crashes on their doorstep. It’s a bit long and not full of surprises, and there a few changes from the book, but it was entertaining enough. Kinda like 30 Days of Night without the bloodsuckers.

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