You’re undoubtedly an adult when you’re 30. People have to stop, listen, and take you seriously. But I am a mere 29, so I have a seemingly never-ending year to enjoy my youth and read comics before my life gets overwhelmed with bills, politics, and doing my taxes.
Along with my youthful glow, I am also a proud member of the all-ages club. This means you never have to truly grow up, and I flaunt my club card like nobody’s business. With that said, let me introduce you to some of my current favorite female-focused all-ages comics coming out of the power-publishing-house that is BOOM! Studios.
First up, we have Giant Days. If you’re a webcomics reader, you might know the British writer/illustrator John Allison, of Scary-Go-Round and Bad Machinery fame. Giant Days is a deliciously complex and revealing character piece about three college freshmen who share a dorm at university, as they experience the highs and lows of dating, studying, gossiping, and those swooping moments when you think you may be in love. This comic features some of the best dialogue I’ve ever come across, in any narrative. Wit, personality, vulnerability and character revelations jump right out of every page. And I haven’t even mentioned the art yet!
While waiting for next months issue to drop at Secret Headquarters (a fantastic LA-based comic book shop), I’ve literally had dreams that resemble Lissa Treiman’s crisp, quirky illustrations. I adore the fact that Allison isn’t afraid to show young characters who are anxiously navigating their youth, asking difficult questions of themselves and their sexuality. Giant Days takes risks with every turn, making it stand out amongst the sea of titles out there today. I urge you to check out this series if you haven’t already; it’ll stay with you.
Another stand out not to be missed is Lumberjanes, created by the rock-solid, all-female team of Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters. A buddy of mine who often lends me comics recommended this to me, and once I saw Stevenson’s trademark triangular artistic style on the front cover, I knew I was in for a treat. The comic follows a group of teenage girls who are spending their summer at a scout camp for “Hardcore Lady Types,” and coming into contact with strange creatures and supernatural phenomena, like wolves who can speak and give remarkably astute warnings. Its poignant lessons give Lumberjanes a special place in my heart, because each issue is about friendship and finding yourself in this huge world. The characters are not only brilliantly distinct and relatable, but they go against the grain. Take Mal for example: she has the appearance of a punk rock chick, but she has a soft, sensitive soul. Each protagonist in this comic pushes boundaries and stereotypes, which makes it worthy of a spot on your pull list.
Now, this last title comes from my favorite writer. I found out about Kate Leth from the semi-autobiographical webcomic she writes and illustrates — the heartwarmingly and shockingly honest Kate or Die. Leth has swiftly risen though the webcomics ranks to become the author of Edward Scissorhands, Bravest Warriors, Adventure Time: Seeing Red, and now her original series, Power Up. Paired with artist Matt Cummings (of Adventure Time fame), Leth and Cummings are the team to watch. Although Power Up follows origins that are similar to other comics — a group of unlikely people are gifted with unexplained cosmic abilities — it separates itself by showcasing a wide-eyed, disaffected twentysomething heroine who exudes personality right from the first panel. With carefully placed lines and circles, Cummings is able to create sincere emotions and vivid characters. The world he creates with Leth is one I’d like to visit. I’m very excited to see where Power Up goes, because it’s been a terrifically fun ride so far.
I must tip my hat to BOOM! Studio’s and its kick-ass editor Shannon Watters for delivering comics that are so rich in heart, story, and imagination. I command you to read comics. Discover new artists and writers. And don’t forget that just like me, you have a life-long membership in the all-ages club.
What are some of your favorite all-ages comics? Let us know in the comments below!
IMAGES: BOOM! Studios