Editor’s note: Starting this week and continuing until I run out of people to bug, WWAC will be running short pieces on some of the women working in comics now who are doing innovative or inspiring work. Not just women creators, but women working in comics retail, merchandising, marketing, editorial, journalism, and more. If you would like to contribute to the series you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am relatively new to American comics, having only really dived into them late last year. But in that short time, I’ve been continually impressed with the output of the women working in this field, and I love seeing how passionate they are about the work and about increasing representation. Here are a few women who’ve impressed and inspired me so far:
Babs Tarr — Batgirl of Burnside
I just love Tarr’s artwork. It’s always so gorgeously colored and unapologetically feminine, which for me was a revelation when I first started reading Burnside, because up until that point all the comics I read were still pretty dark, monotone and, well, catered to men. Tarr has also acknowledged how important Burnside is for representation of women of color, disabled women, and/or trans women, which I appreciate immensely. I am infinitely sad that she’s no longer going to be working on Burnside, but I look forward to her future projects!
Marjorie Liu — Monstress
I respect Liu so much. With Monstress, she explores the issues of race, politics, and social standing within a matriarchal society, which is super important when looking at how women can oppress other women. Monstress features numerous women of color and is inspired by her Chinese background, and I love how inclusive and authentic it feels. She’s also amazing at writing just really terrifying stories. I can’t rave enough about her work.
Kaoru Mori — A Bride’s Story
Mori is a Japanese mangaka, so I might be cheating here a little, but I always love to gush about Mori’s work on A Bride’s Story and Emma when I get the chance. Her stories are culturally immersive, and the drawings are insanely detailed. Whereas a lot of romance manga hinge on overblown drama, Mori’s work is all about the quiet moments and things left unsaid.
Becky Cloonan — Gotham Academy
Cloonan’s writing on Gotham Academy is so endearing. It feels exactly how you’d imagine Gotham if it was a part of Harry Potter. There are scenes where the kids bring food to Killer Croc and watch Clayface recite Shakespeare. It blends the sad with the happy and absurd so well. The story also effortlessly features numerous characters of color, which is a huge breath of fresh air compared to, say, Fox TV’s Gotham.
Mingjue Helen Chen — Silk
I think Chen is probably one of my favorite artists. Chen has done covers for Silk and Gotham Academy, as well as visual development art for the film Big Hero 6 and the short Paperman. Her art just makes me emotional, honestly.
Sana Amanat — Marvel’s director of content development and co-creator of Ms. Marvel
I’ve been so impressed with Amanat since I saw her Makers conference interview. She talks a lot about the importance of having authentic stories for fans of color and also of the importance of featuring realistic-looking women who aren’t just there as eye candy. She’s a huge champion for representation across the board, and Marvel is lucky to have her.