For better or for worse (well, just for worse), comic books have typically been hailed as a purely masculine medium. Of course, that's not true at all; any self-respecting fan can name dozens of geeky outlets that ladies love. Still, appealing to both sexes is an uphill battle that comics must constantly fight. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite books that female readers seem to have especially taken to. If you're a lady who's not sure comics are for you, maybe give these a look.
Neil Gaiman's Sandman is always a solid place to start. Really, this is a significant jumping-off point for anyone who's trying to get into comics, but for whatever reason, this famous author's 11-book series about the King of Dreams trying to restore his kingdom after decades away seems to have struck a special chord with the fairer sex. It's probably because Gaiman excels more than most of his peers at crafting believable, compelling characters of both sexes. He's even stated before that he specifically crafted Sandman to alternate between "masculine" and "feminine" story arcs, so every other book is roughly either an action-adventure quest for some external prize or an inward-looking, more contemplative tale.
Continuing with the fantastic, Bill Willingham's Fables is another sure-fire hit. This comic asks a simple question: what if all the fairy tale characters we grew up hearing about actually existed? They come from their own world, of course (called "The Homelands"), but then a catastrophe causes a mass exodus, and all of a sudden every fantasy character known to man has taken up residence in our world, most of them in a single apartment building in New York City. This series gives equal preference to male and female characters; this past year, Willingham even launched a spin-off focusing solely on the female Fables like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel called Fairest.
Want to try something new? When last year's Eisner Award nominations were announced, some folks were caught off-guard by the inclusion of Princeless, an indie title from Action Lab Comics about a young princess who refuses to be married off to some lame guy by her dad—instead of being a lady to be won, she wants to write her own story where she's the heroine. This is a hilarious, exciting, quirky adventure aimed at a slightly younger crowd than Fables—or maybe a crowd that just doesn't take their comics quite so seriously. It's great fun and a great new series to embrace now so you can say you knew it before everyone else thought it was cool.
Of course, superheroes aren't just for guys either. Though Wonder Woman is a feminine icon, the relatively new character Batwoman has recently been giving her a run for her money. The Batwoman series stars Kate Kane, a military brat turned socialite with a secret: she goes out at night to rid the world of crime. This comic's a great twist on the Batman story, and notably, it stars one of the most prominent LGBT protagonists in the medium (Kate Kane is a lesbian). Besides that, the art on this series from JH Williams III is basically unmatched in any other book.
Finally, for something a little more sensitive, we turn to the comics of Bryan Lee O'Malley. You may know him as the guy who created the Scott Pilgrim series, which was then adapted into a super-hilarious movie of the same name. However, before those came along, O'Malley produced his first graphic novel, Lost at Sea, a funny and touching story about a girl on a road trip with people she barely knows who thinks her soul gets stolen by a cat. It sounds weird, yeah, but much like Scott Pilgrim, once you start this graphic novel you won't be able to put it down.