It’s time to shine a light on Gotham’s unsung heroines – the talented women who’ve brought Batman’s adventures to life on the page. Too often overlooked, these artists have etched out the Dark Knight’s universe with passion and unparalleled skill. In this article, we’re exploring “10 Must-Read Batman Comics Illustrated by Women”, celebrating the diverse storytelling styles and captivating artistry that they’ve brought to the world of comics. From the brooding streets of Gotham to the depth of Batman’s persona, these stories, penned and painted by women, are not to be missed. Whether a Batman veteran or comic book novice, you’re in for a treat. Prepare to see Gotham through a fresh set of eyes!
10 Must-Read Batman Comics Illustrated by Women
- Becky Cloonan – Ghost In The Machine
- Nicola Scott – The Crime Never Committed
- Jordie Bellaire – The Imposter
- Joëlle Jones – Dream Of Me
- Belén Ortega – Two Birds, One Throne
- Belén Ortega – Tim Drake: Sum Of Our Parts
- Jordie Bellaire – The Neighborhood
- Becky Cloonan, Jordie Bellaire – The Batman’s Design
- Jordie Bellaire – Future State: Dark Detective
- Joëlle Jones – Bride Or Burglar?
Becky Cloonan – Ghost In The Machine
Navigating through the rich tapestry of Batman comics, one cannot miss the influential role of women artists like Becky Cloonan, the first woman to illustrate a mainline series of the Dark Knight. In the New 52 reboot, Cloonan teamed up with Snyder to introduce a compelling new character, Harper Row, offering a fresh perspective on Gotham. Among the standout narratives is “Ghost in the Machine”, a palate-cleanser following the grandiose “Court of Owls” arc. More grounded, this intimate tale foregrounds Harper’s talents and provides a unique look at Gotham’s disadvantaged youth. A must-read for anyone exploring Batman’s universe, it underscores the exceptional contributions of women to the Batman canon.
Nicola Scott – The Crime Never Committed
Exploring the realm of Gotham City, “The Crime Never Committed” stands as an intriguing, underrated gem within Batman’s universe. Illustrated by Nicola Scott and written by Tom Taylor, this unique story unfolds in the reimagined “Legends of the Dark Knight” series. Though Scott is celebrated for her work on Wonder Woman with Greg Rucka, her contribution to Batman’s world is equally compelling. The narrative spins an engaging tale that challenges Batman and Robin to pre-emptively solve a crime. Scott’s visual flair brings a distinctive edge to the story, her captivating artwork enriching the larger Batman canon. A delightful departure from the norm, this standalone tale is a must-read for any Batman enthusiast, showcasing the remarkable talent of women artists in the comic industry.
Jordie Bellaire – The Imposter
Gotham’s Dark Knight has been brought to life by many, but few have done it as vividly as Jordie Bellaire in “Batman: The Imposter.” This alternate-timeline tale, written by Mattson Tomlin and co-illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, boasts Bellaire’s immersive colors that complete the noir experience. Her artistry, complementing Sorrentino’s pencils, captures the bleak and shadowy essence of Gotham, crucial to the comic’s tone. This DC Black Label gem centers on a young Batman hunting an imposter tainting his image – a captivating narrative further heightened by Bellaire’s coloring mastery.
Joëlle Jones – Dream Of Me
Another standout is “Batman: Rules of Engagement” where Joëlle Jones brilliantly illustrates the “Dream of Me” sub-arc, portraying the gripping confrontation between Bruce’s love interests, Talia al Ghul and Catwoman. Jones’ mastery is evident not only here but also in her run on Catwoman, which she both wrote and illustrated. Her fine linework and apt use of dark colors perfectly suit the noir-like ambiance of Gotham, making her a natural fit in Batman’s universe. This tale champions Selina Kyle as a triumphant character in her own right, fortifying her position as Bruce’s ideal romantic partner. Jones’ work truly showcases the unique perspectives and rich contributions women bring to the realm of Batman comics.
Belén Ortega – Two Birds, One Throne
Set amidst Batman’s absence, it stars Catwoman skilfully handling underworld mayhem. Ortega’s sleek character designs shine, while her depiction of Gotham, particularly in Selina Kyle’s endeavours and the Penguin’s intriguing villainous presence, add a fascinating new dimension to the Batman universe. This side story, eloquently crafted and visualized, is a testament to the impact of women artists on Batman comics. Dive in and witness Gotham through Ortega’s unique artistic lens.
Belén Ortega – Tim Drake: Sum Of Our Parts
Highlighting the creative prowess of women in the Batman universe, let’s dive into “Tim Drake: Sum of Our Parts” – an emotional self-discovery tale. Authored by Meghan Fitzmartin and illustrated by Belén Ortega, this arc breathes new life into Tim Drake, the often sidelined Robin. Featured in Batman: Urban Legends, Drake returns to Gotham to unravel a kidnapping mystery. Ortega’s fluid art brilliantly encapsulates Tim’s character, making her contribution truly noteworthy. The story itself is a thrill, but it’s Drake’s introspective journey that leaves a lasting impact.
Jordie Bellaire – The Neighborhood
“The Neighborhood” is a must-read which is Co-created by writer Mariko Tamaki, artist Dan Mora, and colorist Jordie Bellaire, this tale takes the Dark Knight to the heart of Gotham, sans his fortune. While Mora’s evocative pencil work garnered much acclaim, it is Bellaire’s ingenious use of color that truly amplifies the narrative’s depth. She masterfully utilizes color to set the scene, complementing Mora’s artistry. Their collaboration, although limited, leaves a lasting impression, enhancing Bruce Wayne’s connection with his city. This distinctive narrative arc, with its fresh perspective on Gotham’s vigilante, is a testament to the creative prowess of women in the comic industry.
Becky Cloonan, Jordie Bellaire – The Batman’s Design
‘Gotham Academy’ by Becky Cloonan, known for its charming depiction of Gotham’s younger inhabitants. Don’t miss ‘Detective Comics’ #854-863, where Laura Martin’s vibrant color work stands out, or ‘Batman: War Games’, featuring Joyce Chin’s unique artistic style. Special mention goes to the landmark ‘Detective Comics’ #1000 where Warren Ellis, Becky Cloonan, and Jordie Bellaire deliver ‘The Batman’s Design’. This grim short story, marked by Cloonan’s evocative pencils and Bellaire’s atmospheric colors, showcases Batman’s strategic prowess against his super-powered adversaries. Each comic promises to leave readers captivated by their unique interpretations of the Dark Knight’s world.
Jordie Bellaire – Future State: Dark Detective
“Batman: Gotham Knights” by Devin Grayson, “Detective Comics” featuring Laura Martin’s work, and “Harley Quinn” illustrated by Amanda Conner. Enjoy Becky Cloonan’s unique perspective in “Gotham Academy” and “Batman: War Games” with contributions by Joyce Chin. Experience the alluring covers of Stanley Lau in “Batgirl” and Cameron Stewart’s designs in “Catwoman”. Lastly, Jordie Bellaire’s vibrant colors breathe life into “Future State: Dark Detective”. This cyberpunk vision of Batman’s future, co-created with Dan Mora, is a visually striking journey, combining sleek penciling and a neon palette. These stories illustrate the power of women’s creativity in the comic universe.
Joëlle Jones – Bride Or Burglar?
Now let’s dive into Gotham’s underbelly with our last handpicked “Must-Read Batman Comics Illustrated by Women”. A highlight includes “Bride or Burglar?” by Joëlle Jones. Teaming up with Tom King after their impressive “Rules of Engagement”, this arc paints a riveting narrative of Batman’s proposal to Catwoman and his unexpected team-up with Wonder Woman. Jones’ noir-ish style, combined with Mikel Janín’s dynamic 3D artistry, crafts a visually and emotionally charged journey of Bruce and Selina’s deepening bond. Unmissable for any Batman aficionado.
Also Read: Top 10 Best Batman Comics of All Time