Real-life Heroes “Wonderful Women of the World” – Graphic Novel Review

Wonderful Women of the World

Wonderful Women of the World is a DC Comics young adult graphic novel edited by Laurie Halse Anderson, featuring a collection of profiles and stories about 23 influential women. This release coincides with Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary and features a lovely cover by Nicola Scott.

I received an advanced review copy of Wonderful Women of the World for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Wonderful Women of the World, while having an illustration of Wonder Woman on the cover, is a graphic novel about real women who have done some amazing and influential things rather than fictional superheroes. The collection also features all women and non-binary writers and artists with a wide range of storytelling and artistic styles. It’s something a little different than what we usually see from DC Comics, and I love it and hope to see similar from the publisher in the future.

Some of the women featured in this collection are Beyoncé, Malala Yousafzai, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Greta Thunberg, Judith Heumann, and Serena Williams. These women are real-world heroes from politics, science, pop culture, business, and activism. Each story is presented in a way that tells the reader who these women were/are, what they have gone through in life, and everything they have achieved and are working to achieve.

The collection is divided into five parts: Strength, Compassion, Justice, Truth, and Equality. “Part 1: Strength”, starts with a story about Serena Williams from creative team Danielle Page, Brittney Williams, Caitlin Quirk, and Gabriela Downie. The approach to the story features a few families teaching their children about how to be the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time). All the greats start in the same way: with the tools necessary along with belief. That belief is that you can get better and to always keep trying. Serena Williams became one of the greatest tennis players of all time. But it was not easy to get to where she did. It was important to her though, so she kept trying. As it says in the story, “Sometimes you need to be seen, so others can feel like they’re seen too.” This is definitely something that Serena Williams has accomplished.

A story that stuck out to me in “Part 2: Compassion”, is about Mari Copeny from creative team Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Cat Staggs, Sharee Miller, Silvana Brys, and Saida Temofonte. The story presented explores Mari’s life growing up in Flint, Michigan. When it was discovered that that drinking water was making people sick, she found ways to provide bottled water to her neighbors. She even wrote to President Obama about the situation in Flint, not expecting a response, but she got one. She continues to speak out and encourages others to do the same.

I don’t not want to give away too much, but I did want to mention one more woman whose story is shared in “Part 4: Truth”. This story is about Judith Heumann from creative team Marieke Nijkamp, Ashanti Forlson, and Janice Chiang. Judith fought for equal rights for disabled people in the United States. The story talks about how separate rights are not equal rights. Judith faced a lot of discrimination in life, starting with not being allowed to attend school because her wheelchair was seen as a fire hazard. So, she learned to fight the system young and to keep on fighting. Her work eventually led to the Americans with Disabilities Act being passed into law.

Wonderful Women of the World is intended for readers 12-17 years old. There are not really any specific warnings for this book, but some of the information included may be a little heavy for younger readers. Parents should be prepared to answer questions that their children may have. This is definitely a great and important book for all teens to read regardless of gender to learn more about some of the amazing women who have made a great impact in the world.

For people who would like to learn more about the women both written about in the collection and the creative people involved in making it, there is a resource section in the back of the book. There is also a section in the introduction that mentions how this graphic novel is an updated version of something that used to be included in the Wonder Woman comic from 1942-1954. The woman who created the project was Alice Marble, who was an editor a DC Comics. Personally, I think this is something that should still be featured in the Wonder Woman comic. DC Comics, please get on that!

I highly recommend Wonderful Women of the World to not only teens of all ages, but adults as well. This book is written in a way that does not feel young and could be enjoyed by a wide age range. Also, there’s so many women presented in this series, people will definitely learn about someone they have not heard of before, or at least learn something new about them. I certainly learned a lot! I do sincerely hope that DC Comics puts out more collections like this in the future. I think it is so important.

Wonderful Women of the World is available today from DC, comic book shops, local and online indie bookstores, and your local library and their digital apps.

Author: Jessica Rae

Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.

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