Womanthology Series Redefining The Portrayal Of Female Comic Book Characters


If you’re a female comic book fan, you have probably wondered at some point about the lack of female characters and female artists in the comic world, right? Or if you haven’t you have probably seen the various articles questioning and dissecting the portrayals of women in the comic world compared to men.

Well you don’t need to search high and low anymore to find a comprehensive resource which will give you a full rundown on what women are creating, because a group of very clever women have released a book which will answer any and every question you may be asking about how females fare in comic book land.

The book is called Womanthology, it is an anthology graphic novel created entirely by women. The purpose of the book is to showcase the works of female creators of every age and experience levels. All proceeds of the book go to charity, another awesome aspect of this project.

The book came together from a Kickstarter campaign back in 2011, where backers donated over $100,000 even though the asking price was only $25,000! Shows you how many people wanted to see this book made!

Renae De Liz was the mastermind behind the campaign, along with a group of other women, who sourced interviews and how-to’s with some of the industry’s top female pros, as well as talks with young girls who someday want a career in comics. Altogether 140 women contributed to the book.

“The purpose of the book is to show support for female creators in comics and media,” wrote Renae on the campaign page. “This is pretty much a huge book showcasing what women in comics have accomplished, and what we are capable of 🙂 We are also hoping that by doing this book, it will encourage a new generation of women to pick up the pencil and create!”


And it’s not just a huge boast-fest, but a chance for the established women to actually help future female comic artists as well.

“Part of what’s special about Womanthology is its equal opportunity aspects. Big- name professionals like Gail Simone are paired up with new and upcoming talent to promote opportunity and chances for those newcomers to learn, and give them a stage to show what they can do.”

For those who were previously unaware of the huge presence of women in this industry already, you can be assured the females have firmly cemented their stake in the popular genre.

“There are far more female fans of comics than ever, and we’re far more vocal,” Jenna Busch, founder of comic site Legion of Leia told FOX411. “I was also just part of a women in comics’ documentary, and it was easy to find female creators and fans to participate.”

She says the issue of female comic book characters still largely being portrayed as somewhat sexual can be solved if more girls are encouraged to become writers.

“DC and Marvel need to hire more female writers. If there are awesome female characters, there is without a doubt going to be more female fans. Make something we want to read and we’ll give you our money.”

The first Womanthology book was called ‘Heroic’, and the second edition was all about female ‘Space’ characters.


With the news from both DC Comics and Marvel studios about their upcoming female superhero-lead films to be released over the next few years, it is an exciting time for female fans and certainly a great encourager for more women to be part of an industry which in the past was run exclusively by men. We need the men to continue making badass characters and story lines, just as much as we need the women.

The more women there are, the less objectification is likely to happen. Rob Weiner, pop culture expert at Texas Tech University told Fox 411 that people are getting tired of the same kind of over-sexualized representation of women, and are craving more complex characters. This was pretty evident after the huge backlash of the sexy Spiderwoman image was released. And if you take a look at some of the uber popular female lead characters in films today (Katniss from ‘The Hunger Games’, Tris from ‘Divergent’ and even Princess Anna from ‘Frozen’) the absence of heavy sexuality is a welcome change.

“Sex sells and it always will, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to rectify some of the misogynistic narratives. Sequential art always reflects our culture and the spirit of the times, but it can always push things forward or backwards too,” said Rob.

He also mentions that as fans, we wield huge power in terms of the ability to force change, which means speaking up about things we don’t like (heck, even starting a blog like some of these women have done!), and what we want to see more of is not an option, it is a necessity.

Oh and if you are wondering which charities the Womanthology series $50,000 proceeds went to, here is a list:

Not bad ladies, not bad at all! For everyone else, the gauntlet has been laid down. Instead of complaining about numbers pertaining to inequality or gender imbalance, what can you do to even out the score instead and make a positive impact?




  1. Pingback: A Brief Lesson On Female Comic Book Characters: They're Not Meant For Male Pleasure

  2. Wow, I am really impressed by this Womanthology book series made completely by women. I think that something like this really helps redefine the comic book scene as a more open industry. In fact, after reading this, I would love to look into this series. It would be a lot of fun to support such an awesome cause!

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