Strong Female Characters in Comics: Not that hard to create

Creating well-rounded female characters in comics isn’t hard. Just look around you for inspiration and if you can’t find real life representations, you need to expand your own circle.

Sanctuants, strong female superheroes in comics, legend of the mantamaji

The Sanctuants have the ability to conjure biogenic energy in their bodies. Almost wiped from the face of the Earth throughout the centuries, they currently live in secret among humans.

Diversity in comics is usually one of the main topics of the conversations I have when discussing creating the Legend of the Mantamaji with the press. And interestingly, the discussion of race tends to be shorter than the discussion of the portrayal of female characters in the series.

The reality is, creating strong, well-rounded, fully fleshed females isn’t any more difficult than creating any other type of character – and inspiration isn’t hard to find.

In my life and in my career, all the people that have been behind my advancement have been strong women.

When I first came to Los Angeles and started working on comedies, the creators and people in charge were women:

  • The Executive Producer who got me in the Directors Guild of America as an assistant director.
  • The Line Producer who was behind me getting my opportunity to direct.
Sydney Spencer female characters in comics, strong female characters, legend of the mantamaji

Detective Sydney Spencer, smart, tough with a mean right hook. She believes in the impossible possibility of supernatural happenings happening in her city and she’s going to get to the bottom of it.

They were all the same in that they were smart, strong and extremely talented. They were also mothers. I am lucky that, in my life, I have always been surrounded by women who were strong and who were hustlers. I have always seen women who were doing everything you traditionally saw men do and doing it well.

My mom is a life-long educator who still consults at John Carroll University in Cleveland in Multi-cultural Affairs. My wife owns her own thriving business. So when I created Sydney, Cornerstone and the other female characters in Legend of the Mantamaji, I was drawing on people I have seen, known, worked with or worked for.

Sanctuants from the Legend of the Mantamaji series are explicitly mentioned as equal to the male Mantamaji warriors. It’s an unusual call out among the comic industry, but I didn’t want any of the female leads to be any less than the main hero, just different. It makes the story’s history so much richer.

If I had to boil down three things I wanted to accomplish with the female characters in Legend of the Mantamaji, I have to say I wanted to create a new batch of heroes who are full, real characters; I wanted to make sure people were interested in their journey and I wanted to give women readers what they have been asking for and deserve from comic book creators – real representation.

strong female super villains in comics, legend of the mantamaji

Lisa Legardi AKA WRATH OF PLAGUE. Her day job she rules the airwaves in America with her own TV network. Her alter ego, Wrath of Plague, has the ability to shoot hundreds of deadly disease and plague-ridden daggers from her body.

That really shouldn’t be unusual. It shouldn’t be noteworthy to show women who have more going for them than being a love interest, a damsel in distress or a hero just waiting in the wings until someone needs help.

From our experience at the conventions and speaking with media pros and readers, people LOVE the Sanctuants and they love Sydney from the beginning to the end. They even want to see more of them. It’s the best response I could ask for and accomplishes all I wanted to do.