The comics world can feel large and intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, I've spent a large part of my adult life (and my professional career) demystifying comics for newer and casual readers of comics. The fact is, women have read comics as long as there have been comics, but it's only recently that publishers are taking notice. We've become a target audience to be courted and won, rather than an afterthought. There is a long way to go — one of my personal pet peeves is comics with a female lead but written by an all-male creative team — but there are so many amazing comics to choose from these days, and I'm here to help you sort the great from the good and the not-so-good.
Each month, I'll tell you about comics that have caught my eye. My personal focus is on comics with lady leads and with ladies on the creative team, but I'll make exceptions here and there for really exciting titles. I try to stick to comics near the beginning or the end of their narrative arc — #1 issues, issues that start a new story or the conclusion of an existing story (which means the collected trade should be releasing soon). I'm also interested in authentic representation — PoC women, LBQIA+ women, trans women, women of different shapes and sizes, women who have disabilities, whether mental or physical. Hopefully you'll see that reflected in the titles I choose to highlight every month.
America #1 by Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones (March 1)
The long-awaited America #1 drops March 1 from Marvel, and it's pretty exciting. Gabby Rivera, a YA novelist, is writing the series, and that's groundbreaking — a queer Latina woman writing a queer Latina character. There's been a lot of chatter and buzz about this series, and I have a feeling it's going to make some Best of 2017 lists at the end of the year.
Faith #9 by Jody Houser, Marguerite Sauvage, and Kate Niemczyk (March 1)
If you haven't picked up the Valiant series Faith yet, you need to. It's made headlines for its body positivity, but it's also just a fun, fantastic read. The character of Faith is full of the same optimism and exuberance that makes audiences love Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel). If you want to try the series out, the ninth issue is a one-shot, which means it's not connected to any ongoing storylines. It's the perfect chance to test it out and see if this (awesome) series is for you.
Bitch Planet #10 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine de Landro, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Clayton Cowles (March 1)
Bitch Planet, the iconic series from DeConnick and de Landro, has suffered from serious delays, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't be checking out this series about non-compliant women in an eerily prescient future. This issue concludes a story arc, so it's the perfect time to pick it up. The trade should be releasing soon (the series isn't back until August) but the bonus essays that you get in each issue make it worth having on your monthly pull list.
Motor Crush #4 by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr (March 8)
If you heard great things about DC's Batgirl series, it was because of this creative team: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr. Since DC relaunched its universe with Rebirth, they've been off the book, but now they're back with a new creator-owned series. Motor Crush is a sci-fi action series featuring Domino Swift, a motorcycle racer who's also searching for an elusive machine narcotic guaranteed to give her an edge.
Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alitha Martinez and Afua Richardson (March 15)
The first arc of this series comes to a close with this issue, so if you prefer to read complete stories, it's a great time to pick up Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5. Written by Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates with Alitha Martinez on art, this series focuses on a love story between two members of the Dora Milaje, the group tasked with protecting the Wakandan crown at any cost.
Batwoman #1 by Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV, Steve Epting, Jeremy Cox and June Chung (March 15)
Kate Kane has had a rich history for years, but she's been sidelined as a character for a very long time in the DC editorial offices. But no longer — with the Rebirth initiative comes the chance to do fresh stories, and nowhere is that more clear with the new Batwoman series. Another queer character written by a queer writing team in Bennett and Tynion, this is a step forward for comics as a whole. It promises to be a good introduction to the character (though you should read the Rebirth one-shot before diving into the series), so even if you've never read about Kate Kane before, this is a great time to start.
Shutter #28 by Joe Keatinge, Leila Del Duca, Owen Gieni and John Workman (March 22)
This series is pretty far in at this point, but if you haven't picked it up, issue 28 brings the current story arc to a close — so, a perfect chance to get caught up. Kate Kristopher is from a family of explorers, but she retired from that lifestyle after her father's death. But when someone tries to kill her, she knows that her adventures aren't done yet. This story takes place in a fantastical world where dinosaurs still roam the Earth and animals can talk, and it's a genuinely fun read.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch (One-Shot) by Katie Cook, Franco, Andy Price and Sandra Lanz (March 22)
I would love to see a Sabrina the Teenage Witch series (especially one written by a lady), which is why I was so excited to see this one-shot being released. With the Archie reboot, it's nice to see these old, familiar characters getting new and fresh interpretations. In this single issue, Sabrina is off to college, finally out from under her aunts' overprotective thumbs, and she's ready to have a great time. Let's hope that this issue is a precursor to a full series launch down the road!
Quantum Teens Are a Go #2 by Magdalene Visaggio, Eryk Donovan, Claudia Aguirre, Zaak Saam and Jon Gorga (March 29)
Mags Visaggio, the writer behind the excellent Kim & Kim miniseries, writes a punk mad science comic in this collaboration with art team Eryk Donovan, Claudie Aguirre, Zaak Saam and Jon Gorga. Nat and Sumesh are very much in love, and they spend their nights breaking into old labs and stealing parts to build a time machine. This comic is a lot of fun, and it also presents an authentic trans experience as Nat must deal with her parents' feelings about her transitioning.