It’s practically an epidemic that women in comic books are relegated to minor (sexist) roles, often introduced only to be killed off — which is the focus on the website Women in Refrigerators.
The disproportionate number of leading women in graphic novels on a mainstream level is troubling, but there are stories that speak to women in complex and beautiful ways, and feature female protagonists. The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which hit theaters this weekend and started life as a graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, is one of those books. Here are ten others.
Are You My Mother?
by Alison Bechdel
From the New York Times on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, which is a companion work to her earlier Eisner Award-winning book Fun Home:
Bechdel’s previous book, “Fun Home,” told the story of her father’s secret homosexuality, thwarted artistic expression and ultimate suicide, and of her own coming out in college. “Are You My Mother?” delves into her troubled relationship with her distant, unhappy mother, and into her own difficulties connecting with a series of long-term girlfriends. As she confides her tale, she also addresses her mother’s bluntly conflicted reaction to her art, and folds their struggle into the writing of the memoir itself. “I would love to see your name on a book,” her mother says. “But not on a book of lesbian cartoons.” Bechdel weaves emotional honesty with highbrow deliberation in a way that is never burdensome, and mostly light.