She is not only the hero Gotham deserves, but she is also the one it needs right now.
Clinton Hill illustrator Molly Ostertag and writer Brennan Lee Mulligan (who lives in another, lesser borough) could not find enough strong female protagonists that they liked in comics, movies, and television shows, so they decided to create one themselves. The title of the comic? “Strong Female Protagonist.”
The protagonist in question is Alison Green, a superhumanly powerful 19-year-old New York college student with an equally strong drive to do right by the world around her.
“She is a reaction to the term ‘strong female protagonist’ and how it gets used. It is usually a mysterious badass lady who is proficient at combat but a flat character,” said Mulligan. “The goal for us was to tell a story of a character who is strong in every sense of the word.”
The pair started publishing “Strong Female Protagonist” online three years ago, and have religiously updated their website with two new pages of the story every week since. Eventually, they had amassed the equivalent of four chapters and 220 pages, so they decided to turn it into a book.
“Each chapter is almost like one season of a television show,” said Mulligan. “They each have their own arc.”
On Nov. 20, Ostertag and Mulligan will host a launch party for the resulting tome at Park Slope’s Bergen Street Comics, where they will discuss their comic, the character, and their attempt to step up the feminism in the comics industry.
The duo funded the book through a campaign on Greenpoint crowd-funding website Kickstarter. They were seeking $8,000 to get the project off the ground, but ended up raising more than $60,000 from almost 2,000 fans of the webcomic.
But despite their success in the paper publishing world, Ostertag and Mulligan continue to post new pages of their comic free online every Tuesday and Friday.
“Right now, the webcomic world consists of people like us who are making stories that they want to see and cannot find anywhere, like feminist and queer comics,” said Ostertag. “We do not have plans to stop any time soon.”
Molly Ostertag and Brennan Lee Mulligan launch “Strong Female Protagonist” at Bergen Street Comics [470 Bergen St. between Flatbush and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 230–5600, www.berge