I love Ask MetaFilter. I really do. It’s an incredibly useful site and while sometimes fights do erupt, it’s smartly moderated. There is an awesome wealth of information to be had there.
But there are some things it does not do well. A user asks “Which graphic novels should I read?” and explains what she’s read recently — for example, she really liked How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden and thought Julia Wertz’s Drinking at the Movies was really funny for the most part. She liked Persepolis OK.
She wants to know what she should read next, specifying she’d prefer strong female characters and more funny than serious.
The first two recommendations she gets are The Sandman and Strangers in Paradise. I was actually surprised at how long it took someone to bring up Y: The Last Man.
Certainly, taken as a whole, there are some good recommendations in there for her mixed in with things like The Dark Knight Returns (and I’m biased, sure, but thank you kind user who pointed her to the Ignatz winners and nominees because that is a good starting point).
And no, The Sandman and Strangers in Paradise are not bad comics. They are, for the most part, good comics. They are comics I like. But they’re not the first comics I’d recommend, especially under circumstances like this. They aren’t specific to what this woman was asking for, to begin with, but mostly, they are incredibly lazy recommendations and basically say to me “I stopped paying attention to what comics women may like about 10 years ago because we only need those two.” (When I started Comicsgirl way back in the dawn of time in 1998, do you know what were some of the first comics I wrote about? Oh, that’s right: The Sandman and Strangers in Paradise.)
There are so many great comics out there right now for and/or by women. I don’t think you have to look very hard to find them (at least, I don’t — I have shelves full of them). I personally feel like the asker of the question already has a pretty good handle on some interesting comics in terms of that. I’m sure if the typical “comics for women” were of interest to her, she would’ve found them already. After all, that she’s picked up both Julia Wertz and Sarah Glidden makes me think she knows what she’s doing more than she thinks she does.
I just think if the usual answers is all someone has, not answering the question is always a valid option, too.
Strangers in Paradise image taken from Terry Moore’s site.