In the last few years, I’ve been blown away by all the comics centered on female friendship. It’s not something that’s to be taken for granted. Of course, I’m still a die-hard Buffy fan, but it’s hard to recommend those comics to people because you have to 1) watch the show and 2) commit to catching up on 95 single-issues. That doesn’t even count the specials and spin-offs.
So, the books listed below are not like that at all. They’re short, accessible, and easy to dive into. There’s no rabbit hole of backstory to catch up on or multiverses to disentangle. All these titles make for great summer reads to pick up and love right away.
1. Paper Girls
Started in 2016, Paper Girls is hands-down one of my favorite current comics. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since the writer, Brian K. Vaughan, also pens Saga. Paper Girls starts as a straightforward story about adolescent girls delivering newspapers in their small town, and ends up in a place with aliens, time travel, and monsters. I love it so hard. You can pick up the two completed trades and quickly catch up on the current story.
2. Rat Queens
One of the funnest reads around, Rat Queens has everything you’ve ever wanted in a comic. It feels like someone took their stellar D&D group and wrote an adventure comic about it. The all-girl gang is comprised of an elvish sorceress, a dwarven warrior, a powerful necromancer, and a Halfling thief. Together, they take whatever paying jobs come their way. They’re loud, rude, and crude, and they can hold their own in the toughest of bar brawls. They feel like my long, lost family.
An all-ages comic, Lumberjanes follows a group of friends at an all-girls summer camp. While they encounter supernatural creatures and forces in the woods, the story focuses on the girls’ friendships and romantic relationships with each other. Even in the most dire of circumstances, these girls remain brave and relentlessly optimistic. This book has an innocence and positivity absent from most other comics. For example, instead of swearing to god, the girls reference feminist heroes in exclamations (see below). How could you not find that endearing?
4. Misfit City
I’ve only read the first issue of Misfit City (it’s brand new!), but I’m already charmed. This comic has a throwback ’80s adventure vibe, à la The Goonies, with intertextual references to boot. I’m excited to see where the story takes us.
What am I missing? I’m sure there are other fantastic female-led comics that I’ve yet to discover.