Tough Ladies #1

Today’s guest-post comes from my friend and colleague, Jeremy DeFatta, who will be joining us for a weekly feature here. He also contributes to Sourcerer. You can find out more about Jeremy on our contributors’ page.

This is the first installment of what I hope will be a companion series of posts to my work on Sourcerer tentatively titled “Tough Ladies.” Each week, I’ll focus on strong female comics characters as well as female comics writers and artists. Starting out, they will also be relevant in terms of comics releases for the weeks they appear. And for this first installment, I am going to focus on Kelly Sue Deconnick, Emma Rios, and Pretty Deadlya three-pack of a female-led comic book written and drawn by women.

Pretty Deadly image courtesy of PrettyDeadlyComic Tumblr
Pretty Deadly image courtesy of PrettyDeadlyComic Tumblr

Though she may not be quite as well known as her husband Matt Fraction (with whom she forms the current power couple of comics), Deconnick’s work on comics is some of the best out there currently. You probably know her name from her work at Marvel, where she has worked on Avengers Assemble (possibly making her the first woman to write an Avengers title—someone correct me in the comments if I’m mistaken here) and where she has invested her energies in reinventing Carol Danvers (formerly the cheesecake-heavy* Ms. Marvel) into Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel has been a treat thus far, with cosmic threats mixed with street-level superheroics and the struggles of interpersonal relationships that are (thankfully) devoid of sappy romantic melodrama. I especially recommend the run on the series that paired Deconnick with Emma Rios and worked as a precursor to a project they had been working on starting up for years—Pretty Deadly.

Pretty Deadly, published by Image Comics, is fantastic and beautiful to both read and look at, but difficult to describe. I can best pin down its genre as a supernatural fantasy/horror hybrid western. Basically, if you enjoy novels and comics in the same vein as Stephen King’s Dark Tower books and Jonathan Hickman’s East of West, you will likely also enjoy Pretty Deadly. Bear in mind, being an Image comic, it is fairly graphic—after all, the main character of the series is Death’s daughter. I can’t recommend this series highly enough, and I hope it lasts for years to come. Go check it out at your local comic shop! Issue #4 is out this week.

 That’s it for this week’s post, though I want to keep returning to Pretty Deadly as more and more of the story falls into place. Also, Deconnick and Rios are definitely worth keeping up with. You can follow Kelly Sue Deconnick on Twitter and Tumblr, and Emma Rios also keeps up a Twitter feed. Definitely check out the periodically updated Pretty Deadly Tumblr as well.

 Let me know your thoughts on this week’s post in the comments below, and also what and whom you might like to see me talk about in the future—I am keeping a list. For next week, I’m thinking about talking about the character of Stephanie Brown, former Batgirl, and how she will return to DC’s New 52 in writer Scott Snyder’s Batman Eternal weekly series coming soon.

 *This week’s comics jargon lesson: cheesecake. Cheesecake refers to drawings of women in comics that seem more like pinups than anything else. This use extends beyond, and likely predates, its use in comics criticism.



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  1. As always, my friend, well written. Not being as knowledgeable ad I could on comics, I am finding this and your Sourcerer postings quite informative.


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