Actress and cartoonist; illustrated Ally Sloper (1867), a lowlife Englishman, written by her husband Charles Ross.
A cartoonist as early as the 1880s. Created the first comic strip drawn by a woman (“The Old Subscriber Calls”, 1896). Created the cherubic Kewpies (1905) and drew them in many forms (including a syndicated strip) for a quarter century.
Caricaturist; created The Angel Child (1902); defying the cute babies trend, her protagonist is neither cute nor angelic.
Artist and cartoonist; created Reggie and the Heavenly Twins (1902)— Reggie, being too short, never got anywhere with the twins— as well as the Wrangle Sisters, about two squabbling sisters.
Illustrator and pioneering American newspaper cartoonist; created features such as The Campbell Kids (1904), Dolly Dimples (1910), and The Pussycat Princess.
Her illos of active, modern girls (from about 1907) were so popular that the Ziegfield Follies included a line of “Brinkley Girls”. In 1918, created Golden Eyes, a girl whose dog finds a German spy in her back yard, leading to a series of adventures.
Illustrator, writer, and cartoonist; wrote Kaptin Kiddo (1909, drawn by her sister, Grace Drayton); created Jennie and Jack, also the Little Dog Jap.
Illustrator; created Kate and Karl, the Cranford Kids (1911), about old-timey children; daughter of Margaret.
Cartoonist (1911) and writer; resisting the trend of cute or pretty creations, her self-portraits look more like Happy Hooligan. Known mostly for single panel cartoons, but created the strip Girls Will Be Girls.
Created Flora Flirt (1913), who is fashionable but generally punished for being too interested in the boys.
Early newspaper cartoonist; created Cap Stubbs and Tippie (1918) and later Sinbad. Tippie and Sinbad were both dogs. She kept Tippie going for 48 years.
Created Ethel, Flapper Fanny (1924), Marianne. Her flappers were elegant and Art Deco, rather than the florid Art Nouveau types drawn by Brinkley.
Australian illustrator and writer; created Bib and Bub (1924), Australia's longest-running comic strip, as well as Tiggy Touchwood.
Cartoonist for the New Yorker from 1925-47, known for her plump society women. She and her partner James Reid Parker also did a monthly cartoon, The Dear Man, in Ladies' Home Journal.
Illustrator and cartoonist; created The Adventures of Judy (1926), about a flighty rich girl with a tendency to borrow her father's clothes.
Created Babs in Society (1927), Campus Capers, Miss Aladdin, etc.— stories about fashionable, independent-minded young women. Later took over the adventure strip Oh, Diana and turned it into a teenager strip.
Fashion designer; continued Flapper Fanny (1931); created Mopsy (1939), about a young urban woman not unlike herself; at one point it was syndicated in 300 papers. Mopsy joined the WAC during WWII.
Created Apple Mary (1934), a poor apple seller trying to get by in the Depression. If that wasn't enough, she has to raise her crippled grandson.
Fanny Young Cory
Illustrator for children's books in the early 1900s; best known for a syndicated girl's adventure strip, Little Miss Muffett (1935).
Marge Henderson Buell
Created several early strips, but her great success was Little Lulu, created in 1935, which moved as well to comic books and animated cartoons.
Pioneering black newspaper cartoonist; created Torchy Brown (about a fashionable girl who moves from the South to the North; 1937), Candy (featuring a very self-assured maid), Patty Jo and Ginger (featuring a very politically aware schoolgirl) and Torchy Brown: Heartbeats. For an essay on Ormes and her work, see Deborah Elizabeth Whaley's Black Woman in Sequence.
Assistant to Martha Orr; when the latter retired, co-created Mary Worth (1938), but got bored drawing talking heads, and passed the art to Ken Ernst. Also created Ayer Lane and Hugh Striver.
Created Vassar (1938) along with fellow cartoonist Jean Anderson, collecting cartoons about life at the women's college; best known for It's Better With Your Shoes Off, about Westerners adjusting to life in Japan. Overview here. She has a beautiful, assured, brushy style.
Created Luke and Duke, about two American doughboys during WWI. We're not in flapperdom any more.
Created Brenda Starr, glamorous reporter pursuing global adventures, from 1940 to 1980.
Worked on Jane Martin (1940), Camilla, Mysta of the Moon, Gale Allen and the Girl Squadron, all for Fiction Comics, which enabled female cartoonists— as its male artists had been drafted.
Escaped the Nazis, then worked on many of the same titles as Hopper. Created The Lost World (1940), a post-apocalyptic fantasy; Señorita Rio, and Werewolf Hunter. Later drew Kitty and Abbott and Costello.
Created one of the first female superheroines, Miss Fury (decked out in sexy black catsuit), as a comic strip (1941-52).
Commercial artist; drew Deathless Deer (1942; written by Alicia Patterson); the title character is an Egyptian princess who takes an immortality potion and wakes up in New York.
Blonde Bomber (1942), camerawoman who gets into wartime adventures, Girl Commandos, an early multicultural group that fought the Nazis, and Black Cat, a superheroine.
Muralist; first Native American on this list; her G.I. Gertie was a humorous strip about life in the WAC.
Another Fiction House alum; created Patsy Walker (1944) and Millie the Model.
Teena (1944) is about a teenage girl. Terry led the fight to bring women into the National Cartoonists Society. Later an animator for baseball scoreboards.
Drew Land of the Lost (1946; written by Isabel Hewson), an adaptation of Hewson's radio program about two children exploring an undersea kingdom.
Created Chlorine (1947), about a sassy secretary.
Drew Aquaman (1951) and Plastic Man, among others, for DC; originated Metamorpho; drew Brenda Starr from 1980-95.
Created teen-girl-oriented Bobby Sox, renamed Emmy Lou in 1951 when the sox had gone out of style.
Colorist for EC in the 1950s, and Marvel in the 60s; moved into art, starting with Dr. Strange; co-created Spider-Woman and Howard the Duck.
Created newspaper strip Karen; worked on DC's dwindling line of romance comics.
First published in the East Village Other, 1966. Created anthologies: It Ain't Me Babe, All Girl Thrills, then the long-lasting Wimmen's Comix (1971). Premier historian of women in comics; first female artist for Wonder Woman.
Worked with Robbins on It Ain't Me Babe; created the psychedelic Illuminations (1971); later moved into painting.
Aline Kominsky Crumb
Best known for her work with Robert Crumb, her husband; indeed, her frazzled self-portrait is as self-critical as his own. First published in Wimmin's Comix (1972); for some years in the 80s she was editor of Weirdo.
Joyce Farmer and Lyn Chevely
Put out all-female sex comics, Tits & Clits (1972). Farmer published Special Exits, about her parents' last years, in 2011.
Trots and Bonnie (1972) appeared in the National Lampoon, drawn in a deceptive schoolbook style but featuring pure-id stories of drugs, sex, and revolt. Among her other works are graphic novel adaptations of O. Henry and Mark Twain.
Contributed to Wimmen’s Comix; writer for DC; animation director. Created The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp (1973).
Come Out Comix (1973), first comic book about being a lesbian, and later Dyke Shorts.
If you grew up in the 70s, you received many of her cards (“Hippo Birdie Two Ewes”), sold from 1973 on. She's written an array of children's and humor books and had a career as a songwriter as well.
Underground cartoonist, published in Wimmen's Comix in the 1970s; created the lush visuals for Lost Girls, written by Alan Moore.
Created lesbian comic Dynamite Damsels (1976). Created Naughty Bits (1991), whose main character was Bitchy Bitch, as well as the fantasy graphic novel Winging It.
Aack! Cathy (1976) was a young woman dealing with the "four basic guilt groups"— work, love, food, and Mom.
British cartoonist with a New Yorkerish style; created a weekly strip (a parody of girls' adventure stories) in The Guardian from 1977. Her Gemma Bovery (1999) is an entertaining modernization of Emma Bovary; Tamara Drewe is an adaptation of Hardy.
For Better or For Worse (1978) is one of the most successful daily strips, appearing in over 2000 papers. (Canadian)
New Yorker cartoonist since 1978, the muse of a certain exasperated NYC helplessness. Check out her graphic novel Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, about aging parents.
Co-creator of the long-running Elfquest series (1978), which puts elves (really pychic space aliens) through thousands of years of history on an earthlike planet.
Ernie Pook's Comeek (1979) was found in many an alternative weekly, concentrating on a close analysis of teen girlhood. She's also written two illustrated novels, The Good Times are Killing Me and Cruddy.
Edited X-Men (1980); wrote X-Factor, New Mutants, Superman: The Man of Steel, and Steel.
Underground cartoonist, first published in Weirdo (1981). Most readily available in the collection Dori Stories.
Created Maxine (1981), elegantly drawn reflections on life as a single woman.
Created Sylvia (1981), “The unofficial cartoonist laureate of women’s studies programs around the country” [Audrey Bilger]; often features the title character musing about feminism, daily life, or the news.
Wrote Spider-Woman (1982), Longshot, Daredevil (where she was known for introducing social issues), Kid Eternity, and Catwoman.
Dykes to Watch Out For (1983) is the mainstay of lesbian comics and an acerbic running commentary on American life. Her memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother? are highly literate portrayals of a rather eccentric couple of parents.
Created A Distant Soil (1983), an ambitious and ongoing space opera; has also worked on a dizzying variety of DC and Marvel titles.
Her cartoons about lesbian life from the 1980s were collected in Rude Girls and Dangerous Women. Edited gay/lesian comics anthology Juicy Mother.
Created pre-teen superteam Power Pack (1984) and drew various other Marvel and DC titles; drew Brenda Starr from 1995.
Wrote Action Comics (1985), Catwoman, Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Wonder Woman, and 2000 AD, among other titles.
Created cartoony but adult Angel Love (1986), as well as adaptations of Barbie and Beauty and the Beast; wrote Betty and Veronica; did autobiographical Getting Married and Other Mistakes.
First noticed with Good Girls (1987), a parody of romance comics. Story Minute is a set of imaginative, stylized vignettes, often lightly fantastical, rarely going as you expect them to. Also created Simpsons comics, and Goodnight Irene.
Alternative artist first published in Weirdo in 1987; her trilogy You'll Never Know explores her father's hidden past in WWII.
Writer for the erotic furry comic Omaha the Cat Dancer (1987?).
Edited Real War Stories (1987) and other activist comics; co-wrote Our Cancer Year (1995), about husband Harvey Pekar's struggle with cancer.
Created The Desert Peach, about Rommel's gay brother Pfirsich (1988), and Stinz, featuring a society of centaurs living in a mountain valley in Germany.
Created the strips Nina's Adventures (1988) and Fluff; best known for her charming animated movie Sita Sings the Blues (2008).
Created Where I'm Coming From (1989), featuring Feifferesque talking heads— the first nationally syndicated comic strip by a black woman since Jackie Ormes.
Created Slutburger (1990) and Life of the Party; her vivid experimental style, influenced by cubism, made a great impact on Scott McCloud.
Creator of Hothead Paisan, Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist (1991). Well, hey, comics are actually a pretty good way to let off steam.
Essays and cartoons collected in What I Love About Lesbian Politics Is Arguing With People I Agree With (1991).
Various alternative works; won Inkpot Award in 1992. Best known character: Didi Glitz.
Artist, illustrator, and cartoonist, best known for Meat Cake (1992); also created graphic novels such as Frightful Fairytales and Gasoline.
La Perdida follows an American girl let loose in Mexico City. Her earlier book Artbabe (1992) reminded me a lot of Jaime Hernandez. She's also done a comic in collaboration with Ira Glass explaining how to put together a radio show.
Zero Hour (1992) centers on two girls sharing an apartment: the irrepressible Ant and the only slightly more responsible P.J. They're a lot of fun, especially for an old Mad reader: Leidy crams her panels to bursting with activity, and then writes more jokes outside.
Fairy Godmother is her most personal creation, and has been adapted to animation. She's probably best known to comics fans for illustrating Brief Lives (1992), and for writing/illustrating Sandman spinoffs Dead Boy Detectives and Li'l Endless. Also drew Wonder Woman and other DC titles.
Co-creator of Very Vicky (1993), a singularly odd comic featuring anachronistic sophisticate Vicky, her misfit friends, and God. Now a children's book illustrator.
Mostly a novelist, but wrote Doom Patrol from 1993-95; also wrote New Gods.
Known for Girlhero (1993), Watergate Sue, Artichoke tales, Queen of the Black Black.
[Australia] Created the series Platinum Grit (1993); Creates the gorgeous visuals for the sex webcomic Oglaf (2009?).
My favorite from the Action Girl artists, and definitely the best artist. Her stories of Susanoo the Brawler are hilarious; her series Charm School focuses on a lesbian romance at a school for teenage monsters. Her early Adventures of A-Girl! (1993) are cute and memorable.
Editor for Vertigo and Disney Adventures; instrumental in founding Friends of Lulu (1994).
Created Grit Bath and The Ticking— “French's perverse, malevolent, and creepy portrayal of childhood and the adult world is just amazing.” [Amazon reviewer]
Drew a wide variety in comic books, including Vampirella (1994), Painkiller Jane, Gargoyles. Drew and wrote Power Girl (with Jimmy Palmiotti, 2009); co-wrote Harley Quinn plus Harley Quinn Power Girl, about one of the unlikeliest team-ups ever.
Satirical syndicated cartoon (Berman) in various alt papers; collected in Why Dogs are Better than Men (1994).
That Kind of Girl is a lively and inventive piece of erotica; I'd love to see more of her writer protagonist Dez Diva or her irrepressible friend, cowgirl Ruby Justice. Other works include Diary of a Dominatrix (1994) and Tecopa Jane
Wrote two volumes of Skin Tight Orbit (1995), fantasy & sf erotica with an edge; much of it plays with virtual reality and other new sexual predicaments people in the far future may fall into. Also wrote Vamps and Starstruck.
Created syndicated gag strip Rhymes with Orange (1995).
Created Action Girl, both a manga-influenced teen superheroine and a 1990s comics anthology featuring female cartoonists (1995). Contributed to Superman and Batman animated series as well as to Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
Created Tough Love (1996), a story of two gay teenagers, as well as Dolltopia.
Illustrator and cartoonist; created gag stirp Bento Box.
Weird fiction writer; wrote The Dreaming (1996), a spinoff of Sandman, as well as Alabaster.
Carla Speed McNeil
Finder (1996) is a very ambitious and beautifully drawn look at a far future society; the main character is Jaeger Ayers, apparently Native American, a tracker and a sort of professional scapegoat.
Castle Waiting (1996) is a very well drawn medieval fantasy. Previously worked as an artist for DC and Image.
Her I Was Seven in '75 (1997) is a delightful evocation of childhood; her erotic comics are also worth a look. Also, the autobiographical Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir.
[New Zealand] Created God's Stuff (1997), mostly reflections on the Bible.
[Canadian] Liliane (1997) is near-autobiographical, centering on Liliane, a 'bi-dyke'. Fun and cartoony, though the material not infrequently gets heavy. Works as a children’s book illustrator.
Slowpoke (1998) is satirical political cartooning, reminiscent of Tom Tomorrow.
Chronicles of urban lesbian life— Bitter Girl (1998). Editor for DC and then for her own line Pageturner.
Created Jane's World (1998), the first nationally distributed lesbian-themed daily strip.
Worked as a medical illustrator; many alternative pieces collected in A Child's Life and Other Stories (1998); graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl dives into 1970s counterculture in SF.
Created a series of autobiographical comics, starting with Awkward (1999); also worked as a writer for The L Word.
Faith Erin Hicks
[Canadian] Demonology (1999) deals with a demon girl being raised among humans. Adventures of Superhero Girl is a blend of everyday life and superhero adventures (the twentysomething title character has trouble paying the rent and dealing with her more successful older brother); Friends With Boys is an autobiographical teenage story; The Nameless City is about a city that keeps getting conquered by new invaders.
Created Queen's Day (1999), about women on journeys, and Unterzakhn, set in the Lower East Side in the early 1900s.
Editor and cartoonist; created Narbonic (2000), about daily life in a (female) mad scientist's lab; wrote Smithson, Li'l Mell and Sergio, and Skin Horse.
Created Bite Me! (2000, about the hard time vampires had during the French Revolution), Family Man (a young academic joins a family-run university in 1768), and Outfoxed.
Co-wrote steampunk webcomic Girl Genius.
Small Favors (2002) is that remarkable thing, an entirely wholesome porno romp, with an all-female cast. She's worked on several Marvel titles, notably X-Men: First Class, and created Banana Sunday for children. Illustrates Bandette, about a charming teen girl thief.
Lulu Eightball (2002) Don't be fooled by the quiet illustration style, which hides a quirky and prickly sensibility.
Created The Boiling Point (2002?), mostly political cartoons.
[Canadian] Artist for Y: The Last Man (2002).
Created Belly Button (2002); created “Enid”'s drawings for the film Ghost World.
Her Oh Joy Sex Toy started out as graphic reviews of sex toys, but soon branched out to cover all sorts of subjects relating to sex. I don't think anyone else is quite as good at making male and female genitalia cute. Also see her autobiographical comic Dar: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary (2003).
Created Lucky (2003), about 20somethings living in NYC; The Voyeurs mixes “autobiography, surrealist magical realism, and spare stories of isolated urban creatives” [Shaenon Garrity].
Jenn Manley Lee
Created Dicebox, about two female factory workers in The Future.
Comics writer who has worked on The Simpsons, Deadpool, Birds of Prey (2003), Action Comics, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl. Her list of “Women in Refrigerators”— female comics who are injured or killed in comics as a plot device— put a name to a questionable trope.
Petra Waldron (author) and Jennifer Finch (artist)
Lesbian School Girl (2003), very nicely drawn erotica. Sadly, I can’t find any more info about either creator.
Drew Demo (2003) and later Conan; created East Coast Rising (about “punk rock pirates”); first woman to draw the main Batman title.
Created Girls With Slingshots (2004), mostly humorous comic on the life of twentysomethings.
Digger (2004?) stars a wombat, who goes through a patch of "bad earth" that leaves her loopy, gets chased by threatening hyenas, and surfaces in a temple of Ganesh, whose statue starts to talk to her. And that's only the first issue.
Salamander (2005) is a fantasy being befriended by a young girl. Web comic SOLO; adapted A Wrinkle in Time as a graphic novel; wrote Who Is AC?. Writer for Batgirl.
Wrote Albion (2005), in which old comics characters are imprisoned, and Wild Girl, about a girl who can talk to animals.
Created an alternate history webcomic, Templar, Arizona (2005); wrote Yes, Roya; edited Smut Peddler (erotic comics by women) and Sleep of Reason (horror comics).
Marisa Acocella Marchetto
Wrote Cancer Vixen (2006) about her battle with breast cancer, and Ann Tenna, about a columnist who tries to reform after a near-fatal car accident.
Created We Are On Our Own (2006), about surviving the Holocaust, and many other graphic novels, often on Jewish themes.
Black cartoonist; created Sand Storm (2006), about an Egyptian princess fighting for her right to rule.
Black cartoonist; created webcomic Joe! (2006), a humorous strip about a mischievious 10-year-old.
Children’s book illustrator; self-published autobiographical comics (2006).
Drew Ms. Marvel, X-Men, X-Men Fairy Tales (2006), X-23, Monstress— amazing and colorful works.
Black illustrator and storyboardist; created Millennia Wars (2006), about an endless colonial war between humans and elves.
G . Willow Wilson
Wrote Cairo (2007) and Air; Writer of Ms. Marvel, who is reinvented as Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American who gets superpowers and then has to hide them from her uptight parents.
Created The Hookah Girl, about being Palestinian-American, and Voyage to Panjikant, about Central Asians on the 7th century Silk Road.
[Australian] Created Hollow Fields (2007), about a young girl accientally enrolled at a school for mad scientists, where the teachers are cruel robots.
Australian; drew Birds of Prey, Earth 2, Secret Six, Wonder Woman.
[Canadian] Illustrator; created SuperMutant Magic Academy and (with her cousin Mariko Tamaki) Skim (2008) and This One Summer, about preteen girls.
Creator of the webcomic Hark! A Vagrant (2008), particularly known for its use of science and history.
Co-creator (with Luke Cormican, 2008) of Skadi, a barbarian whose noble quest is to defeat and then dine on every beast on the planet, as well as the dark Camp Wedonwantcha, about a camp where unwanted kids are left.
Funeral of the Heart (2008) is a set of fantasy stories, done entirely in scratchboard.
French Milk (2008) and An Age of License both focus on travel; also see Displacement, An Age of License, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen.
Illustrated Backstage (2008); created steampunk webcomic Puppet Makers; activist and journalist— autobiography Drawing Blood.
Does Hyperbole and a Half (2009) count as comics? It had better. Her stories are painfully funny, and her account of depression is the best inside account I've read.
Created The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (2009). Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out as gay, gets disowned and then drunk, and starts a 3500-mile road trip with TJ.
The Impostor's Daughter (2009) is cartoony and light-hearted, but tackles a heavy subject: dealing with a father who's colorful, but an entirely unreliable con man. She's also created a graphic novel about the Madoff scandal.
Novelist; wrote Dark Wolverine (2009), Black Widow, Astonishing X-Men; now writing epic fantasy Monstress.
Game and comic artist; created The Meek (2009), about a young girl who has to save the world, and the sf comic Mare Internum.
Black Canadian storyboard artist, illustrator, video game designer; created webcomic On the Edge, which say says is based on the question “'If the devil had to get a job, what would it be?' My answer was that he would be a therapist.” Also made the graphic novel Lover's Leap, about a 19th century suicide.
Actress and writer; conceived and co-wrote Frenemy of the State (2010), about Ariana, a socialite who is also a CIA operative— though as the title indicates, her relationship with her employers is complicated.
Created webcomic Unsounded, about the “daughter of the Lord of Thieves” and her undead companion.
Best known for horror graphic novels His Face All Red (2010), Through the Woods
(Canada) She has some comics which may make you think she can just do simple and cute, and then you notice her completely awesome full-color work. Edits The Anthology Project (2010).
Known for autobiographical graphic novels, Smile (2010) and Sisters; co-wrote X-Men: Misfits.
Created the teen-centered graphic novel Shadoweyes (2010); illustrated Jem and the Holograms.
Created webcomic Kate or Die (2010) and several Adventure Time graphic novels; writer for Hellcat.
Created webcomic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things (2010; about “dudes who are too macho to function in society”), and Platinum Black.
Published Make Me a Woman (2010), about growing up and navigating one's twenties, from a Jewish perspective.
Created Koko Be Good (2011)— “Wang’s swooping brushwork, capturing the characters’ limpid-eyed emotion and details of up-until-dawn city life with equal skill, makes this poetic coming-of-age story glow.” [Shaenon Garrity] Also does a webcomic, The White Snake.
In We Can Fix It! (2011), Jess lives in The Future, so she puts on a sexy green jumpsuit, borrows her boyfriend's time machine, and goes back to perv out on her younger selves, as well as attempt to keep them from making mistakes. Her Chester 5000, an "erotic robotic Victorian romance", began as a webcomic and has been published as a graphic novel (2011).
Comics artist who has worked on various titles, including Genius (2011) and Pilot.
Animation artist and cartoonist; created Anya's Ghost (2011), about a girl who befriends a ghost with issues.
Created Decrypting Rita, which is cyberpunk dialed up past 11. The beautiful coloring turns out to be coded to help navigate this very complex story.
[Canadian] Created Saga (2012), a sf/fantasy series; illustrated a Western fantasy, North 40.
Artist for Spera (2012); an expert at full-color adventure work.
Her webcomic Nimona (2012) features a supervillain's assistant— a rambunctious teen girl who's also a powerful shapeshifter. With Shannon Watters and Grace Ellis, did Lumberjanes, which “follows a group of five friends who attend Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, where they face supernatural creatures and creepy puzzles” [Bustle]
Drew Strong Female Progagonist (2012; written by Brennan Lee Mulligan; about a young woman who's given up the superheroing in order to study) and Painted Warrior (with Sharon Shinn; about a world suffering under occupation by aliens).
Illustrator, created webcomic O Human Star (2012), about a
robotics pioneer who comes back from the dead as a robot, and his relationship with his colleague and lover Brendan, and another robot clone of himself who’s turned out to be trans.
Black cartoonist with a manga-influenced style; Legacy of Light (2012) portrays a frustrated romance between an angel and a demon; Songbirds is a shonen-ai story of a frustrated gay romance.
Webcomic As The Crow Flies (2012), drawn in lovely colored pencils, follows a young queer black girl feeling very out of place at a camp filled with white Christian girls. Also see Stage Dreams (2019), about a trans girl and a bandit woman in the Old West who counter a Confederate plot and find the time to fall in love.
Created M.F.K. (2012), which starts, like any respectable epic, with sand farmers in the middle of nowhere. Nicely drawn, and doesn't reveal too much at once.
I'd buy these for the titles alone: I Think I'm in Friend Love With You (2013); Your Illustrated Guide to Being One With The Universe.
Kylie Summer Wu
Trans Girl Next Door (2013), extremely cute webcomic about being an Asian trans woman.
Screentests (2013) includes a story about trans actress Candy Darling and another about family abuse; Shadow Manifesto depicts street harassment and the emotional results. Heavy stuff, told with an expressionistic flair.
If This Be Sin (2013) explores queer women in music. "The stories are super sweet and hopeful, but also have a touching gloominess to them." [Sophie Campbell]
Drew Hawkeye (2013) and Black Canary.
Help Us! Great Warrior (2013): Great Warrior defeats all the monsters she attacks, so you'd better not complain that she looks like a green bean and loves candy. A cute sendup of Conan-style comics, started as a webcomic, now a rather beautiful print comic.
Animator and cartoonist; created Leave Me in La La Land (2013), about being young and queer in Los Angeles.
Cathy G. Johnson
Creator of Jeremiah (2013; which comicsbulletin calls a “Midwestern Gothic”) and Dear Amanda, about a romance between a cis butch and a trans woman.
Best known for the cartoony Sarah's Scribbles (2013), a comic "for barely-functioning people"; but she is also an excellent illustrator. Not to be missed: the adorable Fangs, about the romance between a vampire goth girl and an extremely mellow werewolf.
Wrote Lobo (2013), Lois Lane (2014), DC Comics Bombshells (2015— a reimagining of the DC universe in WWII where the superheroines come first), Josie and the Pussycats (2017).
Monster POP! features a college that's half-monster and half-human; the main character is a pansexual cyclops girl named George. The art style is cute enough to eat.
"My work tends to be either super upbeat and super queer, or kinda dark, introspective, and weird." Selfie and Grease Bats fall in the first category, Out of Hollow Water (2013) in the second.
Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel (2014) is a comic graphic novel about dating as a single mother.
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Bitch Planet (2014) features a revolt against white men who run a penal colony… do you think there's a message there? Has written various works mostly for Marvel; currently writing Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble. Wrote Pretty Deadly, about Death's daughter.
Created Operation Margarine (2014), Nurse Nurse, and the wicked but beautiful My Pretty Vampire.
[Canadian] Did charmingly drawn Cat Person (2014); storyboard artist for Adventure Time.
Shing Yin Khor
Ongoing webcomic: The Center for Otherworld Science (2014), which she tells us is about "a crytozoology institute with questionable ethics". But don't miss the story of trying to use a tribble as a masturbation device…
Tomboy (2014) is an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up as a girl with, as she says, “gender identity issues”.
Illustrator, animator, cartoonist. Sex Fantasy (2014) shows "human interactions gone awry with art that blends cartoon influences with Chris Ware".
Black illustrator and cartoonist; created magical girl webcomic Agents of the Realm (2014).
Has several comics; e.g. the adorable queer heroic romance “Princess Princess” makes a nice balance to the sad apocalyptic short “Don't Let Go”.
Supercakes (2014) is about girlfriends who also happen to be superheroes, or vice versa.
[Australia] Witchy follows (2014) a young witch named Nyneve in a kingdom run by witches, where your magic depends on how much hair you have.
Illustrator; writes webcomic Baopu (2014) for Autostraddle, about a “young queer emigrant”.
Artist for Marvel; drew Pretty Deadly (2014), Mirror.
Drew Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift and several issues of Lumberjanes; created Keepsakes (2014) and Lost Haven.
Created Travelogue (2014), about three friends traveling together in a magical world.
Cancer memoir, The Story of My Tits (2015).
Created Blown Away (2015), “a sci-fi noir comic book series about weather and friendship”.
Created Stutterhug, seriously adorable wordless comics mostly about animals looking for love.
Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Created Mooncakes, about two queer Chinese-American teens who also happen to be a witch and a werewolf.
Has created a bunch of comics, the best known being The Oven (2015), about a couple that wants a child in a dystopian world with scant resources.
Best known for her playful drawing of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2016); she's also worked on Howard the Duck and the Archie comics.
Created I'm Not Here (2017), about a somewhat messed-up Asian-American family, with a gorgeous borderless grayscale style.
Created Super Fun Sexy Times (2019), erotic comics featuring a very diverse selection of superheroes, in a very colorful near-borderless style.
Yolanda Vargas Dulché
Mexican writer and telenovelista; at her height her comics sold 25 million copies a month. Most of her comics featured a young black boy named Memín Pinguín (1947). (Unfortunately her artists chose a stereotyped style which would not be acceptable on this side of the border.)
Brazilian trans cartoonist, known for Piratas do Tietê (1983; the titular pirates restrict themselves to the river near São Paulo), and the satiric superhero Overman.
Spanish artist, known for erotic comics; illustated El Brillo de una Mirada (1990); co-created series Eva Médusa; drew Djinn (written by Jean Dufaux).
Argentine cartoonist; the major subject of Mujeres Alteradas (1993) is the everyday trials of being a woman in the modern middle class.
Brazilian artist, best known for drawing Holy Avenger (1999), a comic set in a medieval fantasy world associated with an RPG setting, Tormenta.
Cristina Durán Costell
Spanish illustator and cartoonist; created several comics with Miguel Ángel Giner, including Una posibilidad entre mil (2009).
Mia Rose Elbo
Becoming Me (2014), webcomic (in English) about Mia, a 20ish queer trans woman in Chile. Drawn in a lovely simple style, sometimes funny, sometimes wrenching.
Spanish illustrator with a gorgeous style; drew (with Xulia Vicente) Anna Dédalus Detective (2015).
Míriam Bonastre Tur
Spanish artist; created webcomic Hooky, about a pair of sister-and-brother wizards.
Creator of Moomintroll and Moomin Valley. Though well known as a series of children's books, the Moomins also appeared as a classic comic strip, starting in 1947.
Pioneering Italian cartoonist, known for the westerns Liberty Kid and Il Piccolo Ranger, the soap opera Fiordistella, and many other series, beginning with Tom Bill (1948).
Beloved in Germany as the editor and translator for Donald Duck and other Disney comics (1951).
One of the first French BD artists, starting with The Secret Journey of Hugo the Brat (1967). Created Grabot, Louise XIV, The Small Vegetable who Dreamed of Being a Panther.
Cellulite (1972) is about a frustrated princess in a parody Middle Ages; Les frustrés is a Feifferesque exploration of how French intellectuals think and relate. With Gotlib and Madryka, founded the comics magazine L'Écho des savanes.
Created Casque d'or (1976); artist for series Portraits souvenirs, Félina, Agence Hardy, etc.
German cartoonist; author of Immer ich (Always me), about the frustrations of a female teenager, Die paar Pfennige (Only a few cents), on wasting energy;, her autobiography Marie, es brennt! (Marie, it burns!), and many more.
Drew Tom-Tom et Nana, a comic about life in a restaurant, written by Jacqueline Cohen, as well as other books and comics for children.
Creator of about thirty albums; series include Andy Gang (1979) and Julie Bristol.
German illustrator and cartoonist, first published in feminist magazine EMMA (1977). Bestsellers include Feministischer Alltag, Männer, Weiber, Feminax und Walkürax (a parody of Astérix).
Parodic detective Harry Mickson (1982), Les Déblock, Laura et Ludo, Le démon de midi.
Created many albums, starting with Ringard! (1983); drew humor series Judette Camion; won Artemisia prize in 2031 for Charonne - Bou Kadir, dealing with the Algerian revolution.
A Québécoise artist who created a remarkable series (Mélody, 1985) about her life as an exotic dancer; her cute style disarms the often creepy behavior that surrounds her.
A Québécoise alternative artist-- mostly dream and slice-o-life stories, in a busy, hallucinatory B&W style; her book was Dirty Plotte (1988).
French cartoonist, with a particular flair for ancient Egypt. Created Mémoire de sable (1993), Sur les terres d'Horus, Khéti, fils du Nil, Les ombres du Styx.
[Norwegian] Created strip Piray (1996); an intriguing later title is Våre venner menneskene (Our Friends the Human Beings).
Dutch artist; wrote strips De Vriendinnen and De Man in de Straat (1996); autobiographical comic Als Je Je Niks Verbeeldt Dan Ben Je Niks (If You Don't Pretend You're Nothing).
Nemi (1997) is a Norwegian goth, whose chief interests are fantasy, drinks, and boys, thought the mundane boys she brings home sometimes run screaming later.
Arbrelune and Jour de pluie
Created Les Marsouines (1997), about a commune of lesbians, their amorous intrigues, and their explorations of lesbian feminist theory.
Children's series Un drôle d'ange gardien (1998); various adult albums, including Glenn Gould, une vie à contretemps, which won the Artemisia prize in 2016.
Dutch artist; autobiographical webcomic led to first collection Barbaraal Tot Op Het Bot (1998). “Her early comics mostly dealt with loud music, sex and drunkenness, but later on she used other themes like burnout, capitalism and fear of death.“ [Lambiek]
Marjane Satrapi (41#2)
Persepolis (2000) is a kid's eye view of the Iranian Revolution, which has been turned into a charming animated film.
Artist on Lulu Grenadine (2000), creator of Mastic, etc.
Created Les Phosfées (for children, 2000); won Artemisia prize in 2008 for Nos âmes sauvages.
[Austrian] cartoonist, created autobiographical comic strip Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens (2000), which won the Artemisia prize in 2011.
Swedish creator of autobiographical alternative comics, collected in Coco Platinum Total (2001). Never Goodnight, the story of a punk band started by three teenage girls, has been made into a movie.
Dutch artist; created Lyla and Maaike's Dagboekje (book form 2002).
Created children's series Lucie (2003), Les Papooses, Bob et Blop, and many other albums; won Artemisia prize in 2014 for Ainsi soit Benoîte Groult.
Creator of Nini Patalo (2003), Eddy Milveux, and many other albums; won Artemisia prize in 2009 for Esthétique et Filatures, drawn by Tanxxx.
Created Corps de rêve (2004), Boule de neige, artist for Premières fois, etc. Perhaps not fair to count her collaboration with Boulet, Joli Coco.
Writer of Aya (2005; artist: Clément Oubrerie), a depiction of life in middle-class Abidjan (in better days). Aya herself is a little too studious to be fun, but her friends and relatives supply the irresponsible fun.
Punk cartoonist; created Rock Zombie (2005) and her self-named series (2007); won Artemisia prize in 2009 for Esthétique et Filatures, written by Lisa Mandel.
Only female cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo (from 2005), who escaped being murdered because she was late the day of the attack. Illustrator for other magazines and children's books. Created several albums, such as Mes Hommes de letters, Savoir-vivre ou mourir, Moderne Olympia; illustrated many more, including the series Elza.
Creator of Moi je (2005), Les Mélomaniaks, and other albums.
Swedish cartoonist and activist; created series Hundra procent fett, as well as titles like Einsteins fru and Prins Charles Känsla; wrote Drift (drawn by Jan Bielecki), feminist stories of sex.
Artist on Le journal de Carmilla (2006), Un crayon dans le cœur, Les enquêtes surnaturelles de Mina; wrote and drew Cerise. Also cofounded a studio creating games for mobile phones.
Illustrator; created a dozen albums for children, including the series Gousse & Gigot (2006).
Lebanese artist writing in French; created Beyrouth-Catharsis (2006) and 38, Rue Youssef Semaani.
Creator of the series Anna et Froga (2007), about a girl and her animal friends, and a large number of other volumes, mostly aimed at children.
Dutch artist; created De Maagd en de Neger (2007), about her relationship with an African refugee, and Toen David zijn stem verloor, about cancer and death.
Known for her comic blog Ma vie est tout à fait fascinante and for her albums about Joséphine (2008), a thirty-year-old single woman; has illustrated albums written by Boulet and Joann Sfar.
Created webcomic Tu mourras moins bête (2008) and several other albums; Wikipedia says she is known for popular science comics.
Swedish cartoonist; created Det är bara lite AIDS and Med vänlig hälsning; her style features grotesque, vividly colored animals.
Writer; created erotic series Premières Fois (2008) and other works, including C’est pas toujours pratique d’être une créature fantastique.
Creator of Le Goût du paradis (2008), Coney Island Baby, Girls Don't Cry, Tonight, etc.
Illustrator, with a clean elegant line; her blog has generated several comic albums, starting with J'aurais adoré être ethnologue (2008).
Created Groenland Manhattan, which won the Goscinny prize, Ida (about a 19C female traveler), and Mauvais genre, based on the true story of a man who deserted in WWI and lived as a woman to escape the authorities.
Created L'Île au poulailler (2009), drew La Lionne; won Artemisia prize for 2010.
Founded imprint Delebile (2010); Fish is a graphically striking exploration of a child's grief.
Le bleu est une couleur chaude (Blue is the Warmest Color) (2010) is the heartbreaking story of a lesbian relationship, which has been made into a live-action film. Her next comic, Skandalon, explores the fall of a rock star.
Finnish-Swedish; created webcomics A Redtail's Dream (2011), about a young man and his shapeshifting dog, and Stand Still. Stay Silent, about post-apocalyptic Scandinavia. Both are available in English.
Dutch artist; wrote Elp de Cavia featuring a depressed guinea pig, Ik, God en mijn oma, about her relationship with her grandmother.
Her comic Mambo (2011) won the Artemisia prize in 2012.
Aurélie Neyret (Clo)
Drew children's series Les Carnets de Cerise (2012).
Italian artist; created Sacro/Profano (2013); worked on Vampirella; now draws DC Bombshells.
Irmina won the Artemisia prize in 2015.
Illustrator and BD creator with an ultra-cute style.
French illustrator with a gorgeous simple style.
Created Notes on a Thesis (2015), a hilarious account of the travails of writing a PhD in Paris. Will not make you want to write a PhD.
Writer and actress; wrote Mars Horizon (2017).
Pakistani, invented Gogi (1970) as a daily strip to comment on issues important to women.
Turkish artist, who moved into political cartoons ~ 1990.
Palestinian; first female political cartoonist for a daily newspaper (1979); winner of Arab Journalism Award in 2001.
Lebanese comics creator, animator, and scholar of comics. Contributed to From Beirut, about life in wartime.
see above as she writes in French.
Israeli cartoonist; edited Hebrew Mad, founded Actus Tragicus comics group (1995). Works include Exit Wounds, The Murder of the Terminal Patient, The Property.
A Turkish magazine of comics by and for women, started in 2001.
Cartoonist for Arab News (2007). "For Saudi Arabia's lone female cartoonist drawing is more than just satire, it's a duty" [CNN].
Egyptian political cartoonist, active since 2007; a sample here.
Tunisian cartoonist; her creation is Willis the cat.
One of the first female manga artists; created the newspaper strip Sazae-san, about a Japanese housewife, in 1946. It has also been adapted to anime.
Debuted with Paula's Tears (1968); best known for the series Gu-Gu Datte Neko de Aru. Her Wata no Kuni Hoshi (The Star of Cottonland) popularized the catgirl.
A star of shōjo, who started in 1969; most readily available in English is A Broken Dream. I particularly liked her short “Iguana Girl”. Some key works include The Heart of Thomas, Juichinin Iru!, Poe no Ichizoku, and Marginal.
“In the Sunroom” (1970) is perhaps the earliest shōjo story featuring gay boys. Best known for Toward the Terra (an sf series available in English) and Kaze to Ki no Uta.
Known for Shiroi Heya no Futari (1971, perhaps the first yuri (lesbian) shōjo, though it ends tragically), Hi Izuru Tokoro no Tenshi, and Terpsichora.
best known for Berusaiyu no bara (The Rose of Versailles, 1972), focusing on Marie Antoinette and her fictional bodyguard Oscar de Jarjayes— actually a woman raised as a man. She has dozens of other series.
Created Ēsu o Nerae! (Aim for the Ace!, 1973), about a girl who wants to be a tennis star.
First published in 1978. Amazingly prolific and approachable, she's responsible for Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku, Lum / Urusei Yatsura, Mermaid Saga, and Inu Yasha. Ranma himself, a boy who turns into a girl when splashed with cold water, could be a dissertation in himself. She is said to be the top selling female cartoonist in the world.
Created Yūkan Kurabu (Yūkan Club, 1982), and Pride (about an aspiring opera singer).
Created Banana Fish (1985, centering on a young gang leader), Kisshō Tenny, Yasha.
Created unconventional comics such as Pink (1989): “Yumi is an office lady by day, a call girl by night, and does it all to keep her pet crocodile fed.” [Shaenon Garrity] River's Edge looks at the emptiness of Japanese life in the bubble years.
Best known for Basara (1990), about a future post-apocalyptic Japan, and a young woman who leads a revolt against its oppressive ruler, complicated by the fact that she and the ruler have fallen in love (neither knowing the other's true position). Other series include 7 Seeds, Chicago, and Tomoe ga Yuku!. (Disappointingly, Chicago is not named after the city, but a bar in Tōkyō.)
Created Sailor Moon (1991), one of the best known and best selling shōjo series (subtype mahō shōjo, magical girls), and successful in anime as well. Features one of the first non-tragic lesbian couples in manga.
CLAMP studio (Satsuki Igarashi, Nanase Ohkawa, Tsubaki Nekoi, Mokona)
Mahou Kishi Reiāsu (Magic Knight Rayearth, 1993), in which three young girls are transported to another planet, Cephiro, learn to pilot giant robots, and attempt to find the girl responsible for maintaining Cephiro by prayer.
Red River (1995), about a Japanese teenager who is summoned to the ancient Hittite empire to be a human sacrifice. The story draws heavily on actual Hittite history.
Creator of Mizuiro Jidai (1996) , Naisho no Tsubomi, Hitohira no Koi ga Furu.
Creator of Shōjo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena, 1996); Utena attends a school whose focus is a yearly duel to possess the “Rose Bride”— another girl.
creator of The Moon and the Sandals (1996), Antique Bakery, Ōoku: The Inner Chambers.
Creator of I.O.N. (1997), Full Moon o Sagashite, Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura.
Creator of Phantom Dream, Tsubasa: Those with Wings, Songs to Make You Smile, Fruits Basket (the second best selling shōjo series; started 1998), Hoshi wa Utau, Liselotte and Witch's Forest.
Created Fullmetal Alchemist (2001; the title character has a metal body due to an alchemy accident) and Silver Spoon.
Malaysian artist with a luscious eye for watercolors. See especially her series Boris and Lalage (2001). Writer for Mirror, drawn by Emma Ríos.
Created Skip Beat! (2002), where a girl betrayed by a boy takes her revenge, by making it big in the entertainment industry.
Created Ouran High School Host Club (2002), about a girl who joins a club of gigolos, each of which is a satire of common shōjo tropes.
Known for exhaustive historical research and spectacular art; created Emma (2002), set in Victorian London, and Otoyomegatari, set in Central Asia.
Creator of Just My Luck (2003), The Loudest Whisper: Uwasa No Futari, Shinobu Kokoro: Hidden Heart, Cause of My Teacher.
Creator of Get Love!! (2003), Uwasa no Midori-kun!!, Suki Desu Suzuki-kun!!, Kobayashi ga Kawai Sugite Tsurai!!
Creator of Sumomomo Momomo (2004), about warring martial arts clans, and Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, which starts in a magic-filled medieval Middle East.
Created shōnen series D. Gray-Man (2004), about an attack on 19C England by monsters called Akuma.
Created Nabari no Ō (2004), a shōnen series about a depressed boy discovering his ninja powers.
Created Black Butler (2006), a shōnen series about a boy who fights crime in Victorian England with the help of a demonic butler.
Created Gunjo (2007), about a woman who asks a lesbian friend to kill her husband for her; Chinman (2009), Avare Senki (2011).
Created Pandora Hearts (2009): a young aristocratic boy is suddenly thrown into a prison for supernatural beings.
Created Blue Exorcist, a shōnen story about a teen boy who becomes an exorcist in hopes of defeating his father, Satan.
Korean; created webcomic Kubera (2010), about a girl who wants revenge for the destruction of her village.
Best known for Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish) (2010) and Kakukaku Shikajika. “Her work is introspective and thoughtful, with a spare but communicative and graphically bold style.” [Meredith Alden]
Created My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness (2016), an autobiographical manga, lauded for its intense honesty.
A lot of these comics are on my bookshelf. Sarah Dyer's Action Girl, Roz Warren's Dyke Strippers, and Ted Rall's Attitude 2 were early sources for exploration. Maurice Horn's The World Encyclopedia of Comics provided some information.
Trina Robbins has been the great chronicler of women in comics; her latest book is Pretty in Ink (2013). Without it the first decades of this list would be mighty bare. For black women cartoonists, Deborah Elizabeth Whaley's Black Women in Sequence (2016) was eye-opening.
Googling can do wonders, and I haven't kept track of all the sites I found. This post on Autostraddle and this one stood out in highlighting queer and trans women.
Alert readers who've suggested names: Boudewijn Rempt, Adrian Morgan, Dennis Paul Himes, Avery Katko, Hans-Werner Hatting, Narrative Priorities, Antonin Brault, Michael Barenberg, Constanze, Meredith Alden.