Back Issues: Dangerous Dames
This week, Dynamite announced a brand new look and direction for some of their classic pulp fiction characters and (after I got over the excitement) it got me thinking. Women’s place in comics has always been a topic for conversation but over the past couple of years it’s noticeably improved. Not only are there more women in comics but there’s more diversity in the women being written. Creators are throwing away those outdated romantic interest boxes every female character once had to fit into and letting their characters be, well, gross! We have women characters who kill and fight and swear and shout and I, for one, love them for it! So in celebration of the rise of the women who reject limited perceptions and ideas, women who do whatever the heck they want and specifically – the woman who wouldn’t think twice about taking out anyone standing in their way, here are some great characters you don’t want to cross
It’s the 1960’s and Josie Schuller is everything you would expect the perfect housewife to be. She’s a wife and mother. She cooks, she cleans and she always looks completely fabulous. She’s a 60’s american dream with her perfect family, beautiful home and impossibly tiny waistline. She’s also a deadly assassin for hire. While the kids are at school and the husband is at work Josie is out stabbing, shooting, hacking and bringing home the bacon.
Josie is a wonderful twist on a classic and stifled idea of what women should be. She encapsulated a romanticised idea of a 1960’s woman’s life with her elegant dresses and perfectly curled hair but she crushes that imagery under her delicate heels while washing blood off her skirt. Josie treats her job with a steely determination and an unnerving sense of ease. Sometimes there’s a hint of joy behind her mascara and it can be downright spine-chilling.
Red Sonja is ruthless, terrifying and adorable. She’s the fiercest warrior around, and she’s been around for quite a while. After first appearing in Conan the Barbarian #23 in 1973 she lived a full and controversial life before being picked up and polished (with mud, of course) by Gail Simone. Sonja is a stinky, drunken, sex loving, sword wielding she-devil and under Simone’s control she turned into shower-intolerant feminist icon. She’s fearless and brave with a strong sense of self and fiery passion in her beer-filled belly.
Sonja might be super gross but she’s also refreshing. She does everything she shouldn’t and she doesn’t give a hoot what anyone has to say about it. Her tragic backstory and sweet vulnerability make her easy to root for even when she’s being straight-up disgusting.
The Rat Queens
Rat Queens is one of the funniest comics out there and it features almost too many hardcore, butt-kicking ladies to mention. Violet, the aggressively ginger hipster dwarven warrior, would drive that sword right through your heart if you even considered giving her friends the stink-eye. Plus, she can rock a beard better than just about anyone. Dee, the atheist cleric, whose family are devout followers of the squidgy sky god/octopus/monster/cult leader N’Rygoth, might be shy and socially anxious but she’s deceptively powerful and loving to the point of throwing punches. Hannah, the rockabilly elven mage, is straight-talking and sass filled and she’d rip your head off in a split second. Then make a very rude joke about it. Betty, the hippie smidgen is a tiny bundle of pure joy and violence. When they aren’t sharing drugs and sweets for lunch they’re up to their knees in blood and rubble. They’re intensely loyal and deliciously vicious.
The Rat Queens, just like Josie and Sonja, stomp all over gender stereotypes and limited ideas of femininity. The drink, they’re sloppy, they swear more than even the grumpiest sailor. Get on their wrong side and you will die. And trust me, it’ll be gruesome and probably hilarious.
Who are some of your favourite murderous ladies? Let me know in the comments below!