Most of the entries I have seen for this month's women in comics carnival have centred on USian comics. This is not surprising, given how UScentric the comics industry is in general. I want to highlight some of the female characters that have been central to my comics upbringing here in the UK. This list is by no means exhaustive, it's just a random gathering of some of my favourite girls.
- Venus Bluegenes (2000ad) Tough as nails soldier. Originally introduced as a supporting character in Rogue Trooper, but quickly got her own strip. Venus is powerful and strong, but she's not masculine with it.
- Minnie the Minx (The Beano) Enfant terrible since 1953, Minnie hates snobbery, instinctively rebels against authority, and defies gender stereotypes. She's fabulous.
- Hilda Margaret McGruder (2000ad) Her long reign as chief judge in the big meg, and her slow and painful descent into mental illness after being the most capable chief judge the city ever had make McGruder a fascinating character. Plus, ladies with beards are awesome. I'm sorry she's gone.
- Granny (the Beano) When I was a regular Beano reader, mumblemumble years ago, Dennis the Manace's Granny got her own strip called Go Granny Go. In it she caused WAY more trouble than Dennis ever managed, by virtue of being an adult, and was generally a kid's version of the Hell's Grannies from Monty Python. Complete with motorbike.
- Durham Red (2000ad) The vampire bounty hunter that they didn't rip oiff for Rayne in BloodRayne, honest guv. Her current position in canon is somewhat unclear, given that her origins have been declared non-canonical, but given that she's going to be returning to 2000ad later this year, I'm sure we'll find out.
- Dinah Mo (the Dandy) Mechanically adept and tomboyish, Mo is the Dandy's version of Minnie the Minx. But where Minnie is a more traditional child rebel, Mo, by virtue of the time of her creation, is much more geeky (not that she'd ever let you call her that) and into technology.
- Cassandra Anderson (2000ad) Yeah, you all knew Cass was going to come up at some point, didn't you? One of the hands-down most popular characters 2000ad has ever produced, Cass is the yin to Judge Dredd's yang, and (like Venus) although she's tough and battle-hardened, she never becomes blokey or masculine.
- Tank Girl (originally Deadline, occasionally 2000ad) From wikipedia:
She is prone to random acts of sex and violence, hair dyeing, flatulence, nose-picking, vomiting, spitting, and more than occasional drunkenness. Er, yeah. I've even got the hairdo. We'll leave it at that, shall we?
I'd also like to mention (again) that 2000ad is doing really well on the leading females front right now, with Age of the Wolf and Grey Area, and Judge Beeny playing the lead role in Dredd at the moment. So, you know, if you have a spare two and a half quid a week, and you're vaguely interested in comics, and you want to support British industry... well, there are worse ways to spend your money. And all this is my way of saying that I can't actually pick a favourite story starring a woman without feeling that I'm doing a disservice to all the other ones I love. But I guess, if I was pushed, it'd be McGruder and Dredd, in the Cursed Earth, bringing rough justice to the Muties and giving McGruder one last hurrah rather than the compulsory euthanasia she'd been slated for. Yes, McGruder was completely batshit by this point, but she was still awesome.(and composing this entry has successfully distracted me from the unfolding horror of the budget, right until the email from Nick Clegg just landed in my inbox - a budget we can be proud of Nick? REALLY?)