Thursday Comics Hangover: Strong women everywhere

Every comics fan knows Wednesday is new comics day, the glorious time of the week when brand-new comics arrive at shops around the country. Thursday Comics Hangover is a weekly column reviewing some of the new books that I pick up at Phoenix Comics and Games, my friendly neighborhood comic book store.

(Before we get started with the column this week, I just heard about this neat thing and I want to share it with you: The Ladies Comic Book Club, which is a comics book club for women, will be having their third meeting at Phoenix Comics tonight. They’ll be discussing the first two paperbacks of the rock-and-roll-and-magic series The Wicked and the Divine. If you’re a woman and you read comics, you should maybe join this Facebook group, because it’s a super-cool idea and I’m glad someone is doing it. Anyway. On with the show.)

This was a really wonderful week for new comics. Yesterday, I picked up second issues of the incredibly good anthology comic Island, the new Archie series from Fiona Staples and Mark Waid, and Ales Kot and Matt Taylor’s Wolf, as well as a new issue of Stray Bullets and the halfway point of the 12-issue limited series Giant Days, a vastly under-appreciated comic about young women in college.

When Giant Days comes out in a trade paperback collecting the series, I want you to promise me you’ll check it out. No comic book I’ve read this year — not even Lumberjanes, which I’ve enjoyed a great deal — has been so packed full of vibrant characterization. The friendships in this book feel real and complicated and fun. I’ve read a lot of autobiographical comics, but Giant Days in some ways feels just as honest as the best of them.

But I also finally got my hands on a copy of Bloody Pussy, a locally produced self-described “feminist rag,” and even on this standout of a week, it’s a standout. We’ll hopefully be running an in-depth review soon, but briefly: Pussy is a free one-shot tabloid newspaper packed with 12 single-page comics about women’s sexuality and bodily fluids and other topics that are usually labeled too unpleasant for polite conversation.

This is not a paper that wants to win you over; it wants to talk frankly about placentas and assholes and eye-gouging and Don Draper and other important things. It feels like the kind of spontaneous in-your-face creative endeavor that you imagine used to appear on the streets of Seattle all the time back in the Riot Grrrl days. Unless you’re an easily offended doofus, you should go track down a copy of Bloody Pussy immediately. This is the kind of brash artistic statement that will take on the stuff of legend in Northwest cartooning.