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The following is a selection of comics released this week (7/8/10)* that focus heavily on women in comics – whether that be characters, creators, or even readers.

The books are rated as BUY, TRADEWAIT, or SKIP.

This was a really strong week everyone.  Lots of books…lots of good books.  And catching up on a few great collections that released recently.

*It should be noted that this list will focus on North American/English releases as that’s mostly what I have access to.  Additionally, as I am in general unfamiliar with Manga, I will not be including Manga titles in my lists.  For some great reviews and discussion of Manga titles I urge you to check out Danielle Leigh on CSBG.

BATWOMAN: ELEGY (Hardcover Deluxe Edition, collects Detective Comics #854 – 860).  Greg Rucka (writer).  J.H. Williams III (art).  Dave Stewart (colors).  DC.  192 pages.  $24.99

I can’t say it any clearer than I already did on She Has No Head! but this is the superhero comic that I have been waiting my whole life for.  It is nearly perfect.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  If you already bought the issues, buy this beautiful edition too and keep it on your bookshelf and show it to every person you know that thinks they don’t “get” comics.  A beautiful and important work.  Here’s hoping that Williams can even come close on his new Batwoman series…which I am SO excited about.  BUY, BUY, and BUY some more.

BEASTS OF BURDEN (Hardcover edition, collects Beasts Of Burden #1 – 4).  Evan Dorkin (writer).  Jill Thompson (art).  Dark Horse.  184 pages.  $19.99.

Also, highly recommended.  I guess it’s technically not “heavily female focused” in that all the characters are dogs and cats, but there are female dogs and cats (as well as male dogs and cats) and all of them are freaking awesome.  I was shocked how much I loved this book.  But Dorkin’s great writing and Thompson’s stunning pencils make it easy to fall in love.  BUY.

ETA: Commenter Hutch mentioned (correctly) that there are extra stories and goodies that collect all of the “beasts of burden” characters – making this a great deal and a must have for any fan of these characters. 

WEDNESDAY COMICS (Hardcover edition, collects all 12 issues).  Various writers, various artsist. Mark Chiarello (editor). DC.  200 pages.  $49.99.

This released in early June, but I neglected to mention it and wanted to rectify that.  A BRILLIANT collection of some of the best stories by some of the best writers and artists working today.  It’s a beautiful large edition, almost rivaling the beauty of the original oversized newsprint editions, and it’s a must for any comics fan and devoted collector.  Plenty of female positivity as well in creator Amanda Conner and characters Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and Supergirl (just for starters). BUY.

AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #1 (of 9).  Allan Heinberg (writer).  Jim Cheung (pencils). Mark Morales and Jim Cheung (inks).  Justin Ponsor (colors).  Marvel.  32-pages. $3.99.

This surprised the hell out of me by being quite good.  The art was strong, and the writing, which I was hesitant about because I’m not a big fan of Heinberg’s Wonder Woman run, was quite frankly, excellent.  The story has more diversity than we usually get (two female team members, a black team member, an android, a half hulk/half skrull, and an out gay male couple on the team) which while not perfect, feels like it’s getting there.  And as a result of that diversity I think it FELT younger and more “hip”.  Instead of trying super hard (the way I felt Young Allies did – more on that below) this just felt naturally young and edgy.  Additionally the costumes (including the ladies) are all pretty appropriate, as are the body types (considering these are teens) and there’s no crazy male gaze crap going on.  The story was quite interesting and a lot happens for a first issue and 22-pages, but really it was the writing that sold me.  Strong throughout.  An unexpected BUY. I love it when comics surprise me pleasantly.

DEMO VOLUME 2 #6 (of 6).  Brian Wood (writer).  Becky Cloonan (art).  Vertigo.  32-pages.  $2.99.

What a high note to end on.  This was EXCELLENT.  I think, with the exception of maybe issue #3 in which I felt Cloonan delivered the strongest art of her career thus far, this was by far my favorite of the series – which is saying a lot as the entire series was strong. If you didn’t buy Demo all along, it’s worth it to hunt them down.  There will also be a collected trade down the line, which I’m sure will be beautiful, but I expect the wait will be significant.  While you’re at it, pick up the first collection Demo Volume 1. It’s not necessary to read volume 1 to get and appreciate volume 2, but it’s just excellent reading.  For my money I actually prefer volume 2 as I think Cloonan’s art is consistently stronger, but both are excellent works…worthy of the uber talents that Wood and Cloonan have turned into.  BUY.

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