by Laura Scott
In an age when comic book movies dominate the Hollywood box office, the number of super-powered heroines one finds on the big screen remains startlingly low. Fortunately, there are many graphic novels and comics that feature female heroes with which young women can easily identify. Here are 10 great superhero stories for teenage girls:
1. The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
This slice-of-life story with a plucky young heroine began as a web comic before being published in full color by Dark Horse Books. It differs from most other stories in its genre by focusing on the silly and sometimes embarrassing aspects of having superpowers. The black-and-white version of this comic can still be read for free at www.adventuresofsuperherogirl.com.
2. Batgirl Volume 1: Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart
Stepping out of the shadow of her famous mentor, Barbara Gordon, A.K.A. Batgirl, fights crime in a new neighborhood while simultaneously navigating the worlds of college and social media.
3. Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Fans of the hit TV show Supergirl or Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy may enjoy this tale of outer space action told from the perspective of a high-powered superheroine. In this volume, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) meets up with the Guardians of the Galaxy as she carries out an escort mission to a distant planet.
4. Faith by Jody Houser
This series takes the classic superhero formula and updates it with the inclusion of a protagonist who defies mainstream beauty norms. By day, Faith Herbert works as an online journalist charged with writing clickbait articles for her difficult boss. But when trouble arises, she transforms into her heroic alter ego, Zephyr.
5. Gotham Academy by Mary Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, et al.
Equal parts Batman and Harry Potter, this story takes place at an elite boarding school in Gotham City, home of the Caped Crusader. Olive Silverlock and best friend Maps work to unlock numerous mysteries surrounding their school and Olive’s mysterious past.
6. Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
This series follows the adventures of Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager who suddenly develops super powers and takes up the mantle of “Ms. Marvel,” a title once held by the current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers.
7. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi
Starring a clumsy yet endearing protagonist, Sailor Moon is a classic in the Japanese “magical girl” genre. 14-year-old Usagi Tsukino works tirelessly to defend the earth with the help of her many friends. In the process, she learns more about herself and her own destiny.
8. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan, Joss Whedon, et al.
Written by some of the biggest names in contemporary comics, Runaways features a diverse group of teenage characters and includes a particularly strong female cast. It follows Nico Minoru and her friends as they struggle to escape the influence of their supervillain parents.
9. Spider-Gwen by Jason Latour
This what-if story takes place in an alternate universe where Peter Parker never became Spider-Man. Instead, Peter’s friend Gwen Stacy confronts a radioactive spider that transforms her into Spider-Woman.
10. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North
For those who prefer a hero that doesn’t take herself too seriously, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl provides plenty of laughs along with its action. Doreen Green (Squirrel Girl) fights evil with a combination of optimism and self-awareness that one rarely sees among her Avenger colleagues.
Laura Scott is an adult and teen Outreach Librarian at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.