Saturday, March 28, 2015

Two Best Webcomics with Strong Women

There are only three webcomics I follow consistently. I've tried plenty of others and, while I enjoyed them, they can't quite hold my interest. But there are a couple whose deep characters and intriguing plots keep me coming back for more. Below are the best of the best I can recommend when it comes to webcomics.

They just so happen to also have strong female protagonists. As you'll see, it's part of what makes these strips so powerful and captivating.

1. Strong Female Protagonist

Alison Green is a college student trying to figure out what to study and what to do with her life. She's also an ex-superheroine--one of the most powerful alive. She's a top-tier biodynamic: stronger than anyone who's ever lived and invincible to harm. But after defeating Menace, a mind-controlling biodynamic who attempted to run the country, Alison put aside her mask and started wondering how she can actually save the world. It turns out superpowers don't do much for ending domestic violence, poverty, or disease.

True to SFP's name, Alison is a strong female protagonist. She's superstrong, but she's also wrestling with how to change the world. She deals with suicidal friends, family dying of cancer, and saving a drugged girl at a party from potential rape, all the while asking herself the question: what is my place here? What can I really do to help? It's the nitty-gritty of real life mixed with social justice and superpowers. SFP brings up all sorts of moral issues, and doesn't offer easy answers. Our girl has to figure out her path on her own.

Throw in a telepathic love interest, and you have one of the most compelling storylines ever.

2. Dumbing of Age

Also set in college, this comic follows a cast of characters through their freshman year at Indiana University. Some are struggling with relationships with their parents: good, bad, nonexistent, controlling, or abusive. Others are figuring themselves out, making new friends and leaving old ones, both of which can be painful and awkward processes. And a few are figuring out their sexuality: gay? Straight? Both? Is it possible to change, and do you really want to?

While it follows lots of individuals, DOA's main protagonist is Joyce, a conservative homeschooled girl with a cheerful personality inclined to see the best in everyone. This gets her in trouble more often than not: is it more Christianly to love everyone, or to tell her atheist best friend to stop having sex? (And let's not tell mom and dad that our new best friend is an atheist feminist. That won't go over well.)

Joyce is a strong female protagonist, but the best part is that she is often an unwilling one. She is constantly in conflict between what she was taught and what she believes is right. Those two things never contradicted each other in her homogeneous hometown, but at college she's finding the world is much bigger and that sometimes easy answers aren't. She's having to step up to the plate and question morality for herself for the first time in her life.

Webcomics aren't just an avenue for entertainment. They're a medium for asking the big questions of life and expressing angst over their apparent unanswerableness. If your weekend is reading-light, I suggest you check out either Strong Female Protagonist or Dumbing of Age (and start from the beginning so you don't miss anything!). It won't take long to get hooked.

Word count: 596.