It’s graduation season, and you know what that means: scouring bookstores and Hallmark outlets for positive books, cards, and collage picture frames as gifts for graduates, reminding them about the importance of making their dreams come true and succeeding in the real world.
But instead of grabbing that copy of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! every graduate inevitably receives, we’ve put together a list of comics and TV shows that’ll make perfect gifts for your favorite feminist graduate. Each one features characters kicking ass and taking names in their own way, and hopefully, make that transition from college-aged-kid to adult-type-person just a tiny bit easier.
1. Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, Shannon Watters)
This comic, guys. This freakin’ comic. I got to meet Noelle Stevenson, one of the writers of Lumberjanes, at New York Comic-Con last year, and I got a little bit flustered and forgot to tell her that Lumberjanes is a book that I want to save and give to my daughter at some point, to show her how rad and kickass ladies can be.
The series was originally supposed to just have an eight-issue run, but Molly, Mal, April, Ripley, Jo, Jen, and Rosie have been met with so much positivity that the series has been extended to run indefinitely. The first arc involves dinosaurs, Apollo and Artemis, a mysterious bear woman, and, most importantly, friendship to the max. So, really, what’s not to love?
2. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Ryan North and Erica Henderson)
In a world of super serious comics that take themselves too seriously, with crazy intense plot lines that leave no room for fun, sometimes you just need a book that’s…well, that’s nothing but fun, and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is just that. I mean, what’s more fun than a girl who has a squirrel named Tippy-Toe for a sidekick, used to live in the attic at the Avengers’ house, and is now going to school for computer science, all while trying to save the world from bad guys?
As an added bonus, Henderson has mentioned several times that one of her first priorities was to make Squirrel Girl (aka Doreen Green) look like she could actually take down a giant muscular bad guy in a fight, and that meant giving her a durable, dynamic costume and a stockier body type as opposed to the scantily clad, awkwardly disproportionate ladies that are usually prevalent in comics.
3. Inside Amy Schumer DVD
Amy Schumer isn’t afraid to call things like she sees them. Whether it’s assault in the military or men trying to figure out if she’s attractive enough to be on their TVs, Schumer is quickly taking the sketch comedy world by storm with Inside Amy Schumer, her hit sketch show on Comedy Central, which features poignant, cringe-worthily accurate portrayals of what it’s like to be a woman in media today.
Although she’s not as much of a household name as Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, or Mindy Kaling, Schumer’s fame is rising quickly, and she undoubtedly will join their ranks sooner rather than later. One of her most recent sketches deals with the supposed “expiration date” of women in entertainment, and features Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
4. Bob’s Burgers DVD
The Belcher family is home to pop culture’s newest feminist icon, Tina Belcher, but all of the characters in Loren Bouchard’s hit animated comedy are awesome in their own right. The plot of the show is simple enough–Bob Belcher, his wife Linda, and their three kids Tina, Gene, and Louise run a burger restaurant–but Bouchard and Co. manage to pack an impressive amount of jokes into each episode, all while never really insulting a character. Each of the Belcher kids have their own very unique personalities, but instead of trying to tamp them down, Linda nurtures and supports her kids with whatever they want to do, no matter how crazy.
Many articles have compared Bob’s Burgers’ treatment of Tina with Family Guy’s treatment of Meg in particular; both characters are at the same awkward teenage girl age, but while Meg is constantly berated and made fun of by her family, Tina is celebrated and supported. Bob’s Burgers proves that an animated comedy doesn’t need to make fun of people to be funny, and its rapidly expanding following is evidence that it’ll be around for a long time to come.
So, from all of us here at Girls in Capes, congrats to all you graduates! Whatever your future involves–writing, chemistry, teaching, acting, or something else you haven’t even considered yet, go out there and kick the real world in the ass.
Allison Racicot is the Audiobook Reviewer at Girls in Capes. She’s a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston, and has a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing. She spends too much time listening to podcasts and getting overly attached to fictional characters.