Many women over the years have commented how difficult it is being a woman in their generation. Women in comics have it just as difficult than ladies do in the real world, especially those not possessing any sort of superpowers, but there are many great qualities about this select group of women that make them unique. These girls are the perfect combination of brain and brawn. Sure, some of them may be hot and heavy with a cape-wearing crusader or a super villain, but that doesn’t mean they can’t handle whatever strange things life throws at them. Now let’s acknowledge and honor some of those regular comic book women who are extraordinary in their own cool ways.
10. Moira MacTaggert (X-Men)
Moira is one of the most intriguing characters in the X-Men universe for a variety of reasons. While Moira doesn’t possess any mutant abilities, her knowledge on genetics has aided them around the world as they’re faced with multitudes of enemies. She stands as one of the key figures when it comes to human-mutant relations, making it her duty to advance the world’s knowledge on mutant genetics by opening up her own facility focusing on mutant research on Muir Island. The gifted doctor even went so far as to find a cure for the Legacy Virus that threatened to wipe out mutant kind as they knew it. It’s just a shame that her efforts were in some ways useless thanks to the events from House of M, during which most of the mutant population one day woke up powerless.
Okay, so she’s kind of dead in most of the X-Men comics right now, but they’re notoriously known for bringing many folks back to life. They could do the same with Moira and let her cure the mutants once again.
9. Nana Osaki (Nana)
Nana is an ambitious young woman who tries her hardest in order to achieve her dreams, despite her hardships. Being part of a successful rock band is her number one goal, and nobody’s going to stop her from achieving her dreams in Nana. She’s the ultimate cool punk girl who can take anything life throws at her, getting by with (forgive the non-punk reference) a little love from her friends. Nana is the ultimate example of going out there and getting your dreams no matter what, and for that she’s truly an extraordinary woman.
8. Harley Quinn (Batman)
The first word that you may associate Harley Quinn with is villain, but she’s so much more than that. Underneath the costume and makeup is a person most girls have been at one point or another. She’s the girl who’s completely dependent on a twisted, abusive man despite knowing better. Sometimes we can’t help it but to fall for a bad guy, and unfortunately for Harley, this guy happened to be the Joker.
Some women can never crawl out of the wreckage from those abusive relationships, but over time Harley Quinn eventually gathered the strength to walk away from the Joker and eventually plan to murder him as revenge over how he scarred her emotionally. After her long stint with the Joker she turned into a reliable, cunning woman who is still one of the coolest villains to pop out in Batman comics in recent years.
7. Elektra (Daredevil)
Now this is a woman who is physically strong and isn’t that way due to super-powered enhancements. She’s one of the deadliest women on this list and could kick anybody’s ass from here to Sunday. Elektra Natchios first appeared in the Daredevil comics as an exotic beauty, the daughter of a Greek ambassador who eventually turned out to be Matt Murdock’s girlfriend. After the untimely death of her father, she broke off her relationship with Murdock and trained to become one of the most lethal assassins out there. She may have danced the line between good and bad, but she’s one of the toughest beauties to ever wield two sais.
6. Lois Lane (Superman)
Even though Superman has saved Lois Lane a number of times, she’s still very much a successful, independent woman that many admire. She’s maintained that balance that a lot of women have faced, continually succeeding in work while still getting the man of your dreams. Lois has always been a passionate lady when it comes to her news, always looking for the next scoop. Generations of women journalists have looked at this character at one point in their lives and hoped to one day be just like her, myself included.
So now I’m waiting for the Superman that comes with the job of being a tough female reporter. Well, any time now, universe!
5. Barbara Gordon (Batman)
Barbara Gordon is one of the biggest do-gooders on this list, constantly striving to make Gotham a better place no matter what. When you’re the daughter of an officer, you always maintain a solid sense of what’s right and wrong. And so Barbara was naturally compelled to fight off evildoers, taking on the alter ego Batgirl for awhile. When she was paralyzed thanks to the Joker and his gang, a lot of fans thought for a moment that her good spirit was finally broken. Hell, some people are still pissed off that they went ahead and crippled the famous character. Instead she emerged an even greater hero than ever, turning into the Oracle as she aids Batman and the others in their fight against injustice.
4. Katina “Katchoo” Choovanski (Strangers in Paradise)
Katchoo may look fair and innocent appearance-wise, but if you say the wrong thing she won’t hesitate to beat the living piss out of you. Katina “Katchoo” Choovanski is one of the most iconic women to pop out of comics within the past twenty years for a number of reasons; mainly it’s because Strangers in Paradise is a classic, focusing on two women’s lives as they bob in and out of a complicated relationship between one another. Katchoo is constantly trying to get away from her shady past, and she may be a little mixed up, but her love for Francine is never ending. That and she totally beats the hell out of any man who tries to break her dear Francine’s heart. We’re looking at you, Freddie Femurs.
3. Dex Parios (Stumptown)
Miss Dex Parios, our heroine in Stumptown, is a private detective who constantly gets in way over her head in her cases. She’s a very sweet, considerate girl to few, but she’s also a tough cookie who can solve a case no matter what and a no-nonsense lady who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty when it means getting her job done. Basically, she’s the kind of tough and cool female detective that has been desperately missing from comics for awhile.
Now, at one point in her first story arc, the private detective is escorting her latest objective, Charlotte Marenco, out of a hotel. While Charlotte puts up a hissy fit as a couple of goons come their way, Dex not only quips about how whiny Charlotte is but knocks one guy unconscious and pulls a gun on another. She growls back at him saying, “You put a hand on her, I let weather into your skull.”
I want to be like her.
2. Agent 355 (Y: The Last Man)
One could argue that Agent 355 is the lone wolf, the Han Solo if you will, out of the main group in Y: The Last Man. She’s a secret government agent who’s eventually sent to watch over Yorick, the comic’s last living human male. She goes practically around the world with Yorick, protecting him from whatever dangers may come their way. Throughout the comic she begins to develop strong feelings for him. Everyone wants to protect their loved ones from any harm, which is what Agent 355 does from start to finish, but we want to talk a little bit more about just how great she is. At one point she single-handedly takes down a group of crazy militia women who try to kill Yorick and their traveling companion Dr. Mann. Ladies, do yourself a favor and don’t even try to fight her, because you just won’t win.
1. Ad?le Blanc-Sec (The Extraordinary Adventures of Ad?le Blanc-Sec)
Ad?le is definitely one of the biggest firecrackers of this bunch. She’s tough as nails, able to tango with the men throughout the period of her story’s timeline (1911-1920s) and manages to solve capers through her own wit. If you aren’t familiar with the French comic, you should become so, now. Ad?le in some ways is like a female Dylan Dog mixed together with the sharp mind of a character like Batman, along with her own unique tenacity. You think that’s impressive? Then you should hear about some of the strange people she’s had to deal with through her comic run. She’s faced a pterodactyl, seen demons and the Pithecanthrope (who kind of looks like an intelligent talking ape). She may not always come out of a battle or chase unscathed, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to save the day. Long story short: she’s an absolute badass.
Honorable Mention: Calvin’s Mom (Calvin and Hobbes)
Mothers should always be admired, especially the stay-at-home type. It’s not because they teach their children life lessons and learn how to become fully functioning adults one day, but simply because they’ve had to deal with so much of our crap throughout our childhood. Calvin’s mom takes home the proverbial trophy for being the one person who tries her best to raise a troublemaking 1st grader who gives her constant headaches. Throughout the spectacular Bill Watterson comic strip, she does have moments where she loses her temper, but even through the bad times she still nurtures Calvin right.