Strong Female Protagonist (Web Comic)
What, you thought we only talked traditional comics? Hell no. We’ve talked webcomics before, most notably discussing the evolving themes of Sinfest over the past seventeen years. Go us. Go Sinfest. To close the week we’re going to return to the bread and butter of the mainstream comic, superheroes.
Superheroes take a lot of flak for the holes in their delivery. “If Reed Richards or Tony Stark are so good at science, why haven’t their inventions changed the world around them?” is a question that gets asked a lot. So do questions about things like property damage and non-powered criminals, about how vigilantes would fit into the justice system. They’re good questions that sometimes get a passing address but are most often ignored in favor of superheroes handle super crime, which no one else could stop.
Okay, that’s great, but we see the likes of Batman and Spider-man and others dealing with day-to-day life, too. Their presence would change the way the world works, or it should. Critics of Batman think he could do more good as Bruce Wayne, fixing economies and infrastructures (which he does) or setting up income equality legislation and scholarships (ditto).
Most attempts to take superheroes into a realistic setting become a sort of cynical dystopia at best (Watchmen, the Dark Knight Returns) at best or grimdark idiocy at worst (the Dark Knight Strikes Again, the Boys).
Strong Female Protagonist takes things in a very different direction.
The main character was Mega Girl, an invulnerable and super strong hero who worked with the government and a team, but she began to question if she was actually doing any good. She revealed her identity on live television, quit the team, and decided to go to school to figure out if there was some better way for her to do good in the world.
Her name is Alison Green and she’s questioning the good she does and the impact her actions have. She wants to believe the best of people but has trouble understanding the greed and selfishness and apathy around her. She’s going to college and trying to learn and trying to figure out the best way to help people.
Along the way, we’ve learned why super science hasn’t made the world better – corporations sign child super-geniuses to contracts and then sit on their inventions, and if you don’t believe that’s a thing you should take a look at the Avro Arrow, electric car research that was squashed in the eighties for big oil profits, or the disinformation about solar power that is still making the rounds.
This comic first got our attention when this started making the rounds:
There’s a lot to unpack there – social expectation, rape culture, confirmation bias… this is outstandingly good writing and characterization in two simple pages. This small sample had us reading through the rest of the comic over the next couple of days, and you can do that for free by clicking here.
We can’t recommend this comic enough. The writing is this good throughout, taking the time to think about the power introduced and the effects they would have on the individual with them and the world around them. Brennan Lee Mulligan is handling the words and pacing and you can tell that a lot of thought has gone into every last beat.
The art is detailed and cute and handles action well, with a couple of battles really driving home how powerful these heroes are. Artist Molly Ostertag starts with black and white and builds into color as the story goes on, but her strong inks and details expressions mean that you get a good sense of these people just from their body language.
Strong Female Protagonist also has a Kickstarter over here for a real-space collection of the first volume, and a donation page where you can support these two. You can find the latter by clicking here. The comic updates every Tuesday and Friday.
Look, a lot of people talk about mature comics, but this is what maturity looks like: this comic is thoughtful and powerful with deep characters and deeper themes.
It’s incredible work and you should read it. Do so by clicking here.