It's been a banner year for female characters and the women responsible for bringing them to life on the page. While comic book movies and TV shows are slowly including more female heroes on screen (hey Jessica Jones, love that jacket) the books those blockbusters are based on have redefined what makes strong, modern female characters. Here are the year's top moments of women kicking major ass in mainstream comics.
Harley Quinn left the Joker, moved back to Brooklyn, and became a businesswoman
In Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's Harley Quinn solo series, the one time supervillain has gotten her shit together, dumped her abusive ex-boyfriend, and moved back to her Brooklyn hometown to start a "community outreach program."
Kamala Khan became an Avenger and stood up against gentrification
G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel has gone from being a fresh-faced, Muslim comic book geek from New Jersey to being a fresh-faced, Muslim comic book geek-turned-full-time-Avenger who splits her time between Jersey City and New York City. Her super-villains of choice? Evil Nuhumans and insidious gentrifiers.
In the past, Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker's first girlfriend whom he accidentally killed while trying to save her life. The experience was the beginning of a dark time for Peter and was, well, the end of Gwen's life. Spider-Gwen reimagines Spider-Man's origin story where the radioactive spider bites Gwen instead of Peter, creating the coolest of version of the Spider-hero trope EVER.
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman featured a collection of different stories reinterpreting and reimagining the essence of Wonder Woman. Some hearkened back to her origins as physically powerful, chin breaking feminist icon, while others reinvented her as a modern-day rock superstar.
Jane Foster, Thor's one-time love interest, is now the new Thor when she's not fighting valiantly to vanquish her terminal breast cancer. Not only is she kicking all kinds of ass in multiple dimensions, she's also found new love with Sam Wilson, the new Captain America.
Need I say more?
The women of Bitch Planet reclaimed the exploitation film genre
Bitch Planet tells the story of a group of women trapped on a prison planet for wayward "difficult women" styled after exploitation films of the '60s and '70s. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro create a world where girl gangs and women fighting each other aren't just spectacles for the male gaze, but a clever way to work through the problem of female respectability politics.
In PrinceLess, Princess Adrienne takes it upon herself to deconstruct all of the problematic language, messaging, and imagery woven into traditional princess stories and rewrite her story her own way.
Alysia Yeoh, Batgirl's openly gay, trans roommate finally married her longtime girlfriend earlier this year. Score one for queer visibility.
Despite the protestations of old-school fans who couldn't handle the idea of a sword-wielding, no-nonsense female Transformer, Windblade has become one of the most refreshing and compelling characters introduced into the Transformers cannon in decades.