I’m often asked by parents what are good titles to buy their daughters in order to start them off with a lifelong love of comic books. One really important thing to remember before you buy comics for young females is that: there are no “one size fits all” comic books just for girls! There is really no such thing as “comics for girls” -- perhaps something with pink covers and glitter, for instance. It all depends on what the personal tastes and preferences are of the girl in question.
An easy way to determine what type of comics a girl (for the purposes of this article, “girl” refers to any female from 7 to 17 years of age) would enjoy is to observe what they are into in other media like books or TV. For instance, she is a big fan of Harry Potter, you might want to try titles like Scholastic’s Amulet series, or Oni’s Spell Checkers. A fan of fantasy books like Lord of the Rings? Try Mouse Guard from Archaia Studio Press or the Bone series from GRAPHIX.
Sometimes there is a direct comic book adaptation of a girl’s favorite book, TV show, or movie that might be a good gateway to eventually try other types of comics. Is she mad about Twilight? Start her with the Twilight Graphic Novel from Yen Press. A Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan? Start with Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 series of collected editions. Check out Dark Horse too if she's a Star Wars fan! The Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson book series have graphic novel adaptations out now, as well.
Sometimes the hardest choice to make when buying comics for girls is in the genre of superhero comics. Certainly, superhero comic books aren’t just for boys...but which ones would appeal more to girls? Again, there is no blanket answer for this, but I do have some suggestions. Based on my observation of fans, many females seem to really enjoy the adventures of Batman’s “family” of characters: Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, and the rest. I suspect this is in part because age-wise many of these superheroes and superheroines are “peers” to the readers, and because the interrelationships between the characters are so complex. On the Marvel Comics side of the aisle, collected editions of The Runaways and Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men are perennial favorites.
A note on the age-appropriateness of comics and graphic novels for girls (and children/teens in general). Generally, most titles geared towards kids have some sort of suggested age range. But young people have all types of maturity levels, and only you and the child in question would know best what is appropriate. If you are buying these comics in a store, flip through them to make sure you’re comfortable with their content. If buying on the Internet, see if there are any online previews you can look at. Be involved with your child’s entertainmnent choices...but at the same time, give them room to breathe, grow, and develop their own tastes and preferences.
Below are other suggestions of comics and graphic novels a girl or young woman might enjoy:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Marvel Comics
Coraline The Graphic Novel: HarperCollins
The Night Owls: DC Comics
Girl Genius: Studio Foglio
Gunnerkrigg Court: Archaia Studio Press
Spider-Girl: Marvel Comics
Amelia Rules!: Scholastic
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Archie Comics
Sardine in Outer Space: First Second
Tiny Titans: DC Comics