It's been a big couple of years for women in the comic book world, with Marvel Comics unveiling female versions of their previously male-dominated troop of heroes. Last month, a girl-powered Avengers cast was announced, including such superheroes as She-Hulk, Dazzler, and Medusa. It's a bound in the right direction for the industry, but there are scores of comic artists out there who work outside of the world-saving realm.
Illustrators such as Alison Bechdel (a recent MacArthur grant recipient) and Marjane Satrapi are using the medium to tell their own stories -- which, of course, can be as powerful as the action-packed pages of more traditional comics and graphic novels. For further girl-centric graphic reading, we've rounded up a few of our favorites -- focusing on those whose work takes on the form of a clear, engaging narrative. Take a look at nine graphic novelists, cartoonists and illustrators who are making waves in the field: