March is Women’s History Month and, whereas last year I wrote a blog featuring three outstanding female comic book writers, this year I wanted to write one that focuses on a few of the industry’s most inspired female artists.
The list for this category is long and could easily fill several pages – a fact which I am quite thrilled about, personally. The world of comic books has largely been considered a male-dominated industry in the past; however, this mindset has changed in the past decade or so as more and more women gain an interest in comic books. This trend has also been reflected in the number of phenomenal female artists who have debuted in comics in recent years. Therefore, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Instead, it’s just few of my personal favorites – talented women whose art inspires me and decorates my own walls.
Amanda attended the Kubert School in New Jersey and names both Joe Kubert and Frank Miller as major influences of hers. She has been in the comic book industry since the 80’s, when she began her comic book career at Archie Comics. Since then, she has done work as both an artist and a writer for DC, Marvel, and Image, among other publishers. I was lucky enough to meet her at Rose City Comicon a few years back and she was incredibly kind, taking time to chat with all of her fans and give out both autographs and hugs freely.
Amanda’s work on volume two of Harley Quinn (2014) was revolutionary for me. She, along with her husband and co-writer on the series, Jimmy Palmiotti, breathed a new life into the popular character, giving her an entertaining, light-hearted comedic feel and removing her from Gotham and the Joker so that the series could truly focus on just Harley and her escapades. Furthermore, Amanda’s design for Harley’s look and outfit was fresh and fun, but is perhaps best described by one of Harley’s orginal co-creators, Bruce Timm: "I really like Amanda's design a lot because it's modern and a little bit punk rock, but it's really fun without being trashy. I think the whole roller-derby look is really fun because it's tough but it's still playful.”
Jen began her art freelance career in 2016 and rose to near meteoric popularity in record time. Known for her bright and precise cover art of characters such as Wonder Woman and She-Hulk, Jen launched her own stunning comic series Blackbird (Image) in 2019 with Sam Humphries, winning an Eisner for her cover art. She has also created graphic designs for limited-release sneakers from brands Adidas and Puma for comic characters Captain Marvel, Thanos, and Harley Quinn.
Jen’s art is primarily of gracefully illustrated female characters who emulate both beauty and power. I own a truly absurd amount of her art and I am particularly drawn to how strong and self-aware her figures appear to be, traits which Jen herself possesses as she is an advocate for equal rights on her social media accounts. She has also recently launched a website where she can be more in touch with her fans as well as help aspiring artists to achieve their career goals.
Another artist whose popularity seems to have risen quickly, Rose describes herself as “a Korean American 2D artist who makes crystalline illustrations and fashionable characters for apparel, comics, films, games, magazine, and toys” on her artstation.com account.
Known for her unique art style, which fuses anime with fantasy and emanates with truly magical colors, Rose exploded onto the comic book scene in 2021 when it suddenly seemed as though her art was on the cover of multiple major series. From Marvel (Miles Morales) to DC (Future State: Gotham) to Dynamite (Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, Nyx, Vampirella), it didn’t take long for her bold and distinct covers to grab the attention of comic collectors. I’m so excited to see where her career takes her.
Jenny’s interest in comics began with Wonder Woman and, after majoring in illustration at Northern Illinois University, she attended the Kubert School only to drop out after three years to teach herself after deciding that she wanted to focus on cover art.
Jenny’s fans will tell you that she made the right decision. Jenny’s art blends realistic-looking subjects with an almost art nouveau style to create something hauntingly unique. She has done covers for numerous issues of Wonder Woman as well as Catwoman, Vampirella, Red Sonja, and Clean Room, to name just a few. I have picked up numerous comics that I wasn’t even currently reading simply because Jenny’s cover art was so mesmerizing that I simply had to have it!
Hailing from Japan, Peach is another artist whose work has captivated comic collectors, especially in the past couple of years. Although mostly known as a cover artist, for which she won both an Eisner and a Ringo award in 2021, Peach is also a member of Marvel’s Stormbreakers program and is the creator, artist, and writer for Marvel’s Demon Days.
With an art style that more closely resembles that of Japanese manga artist Junji Ito than of typical comic book art, Peach is a shining jewel in the comic industry. She has illustrated covers for publishers such as DC, Boom!, and IDW, as well as illustrating an entire UpperDeck Marvel anime trading card series. Peach’s “Momokoverse” uniquely reimagines some of Marvel’s most popular characters within the framework of Japanese folklore, blending the two to create something new and original.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, this is hardly an exhaustive list of magnificent female comic book artists, but rather a list of a few of my favorites. The future of the comic book industry looks bright with the distinctive art styles of these and other talented artists being showcased on and in so many major comic titles.
Who are your favorite female comic book artists?
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.