A woman decides to brave a comics store after learning there is more available to her than amazonians fighting bloodthirsty demons or the "Pow!" "Bang!" and "Zowie!" of traditional superheroes.

But what to pick up?

Friends of Lulu, a group dedicated to expanding the readership of comics to women and girls, provides a recommended reading list of comics and graphic novels in multiple categories on its Web site.

Some of the books are written or illustrated by women.

Amy Unbounded by Rachel Hartman should appeal to female readers of all ages, according to Lulu. It chronicles the adventures of a girl and her family in a medieval queendom.

The Sandman collections by Neil Gaiman are stories about the master of dreams, with many strong female characters.

Lulu also recommends Bone by Jeff Smith, which has an "everyman hero"; Electric Girl by Mike Brennan with "lots of interesting female characters"; Eternal Romance by Janet Hetherington, in which "romance meets gothic horror"; and Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson.

Kids should like Akiko by Mark Crilley, which describes the adventures of a 10-year-old girl on the planet Smoo; Patrick Rabbit, by Phil Yeh; and Patty Cake by Scott Roberts.

Libraries can also be good sources of girl-friendly comic books.

Rory Root of Comic Relief in Berkeley, Calif., has developed a working relationship with Bay-area librarians.

He said that he, and some of his librarian contacts, recommend the children's version of the Japanese comics style. They are "remarkable circulation builders," he said.

And some of the newest superhero-type comics are designed to draw in women and girl audiences.

GoGirl! by Trina Robbins is about a typical teen who discovers that her mother has a superheroine past. The teen discovers she has inherited her mom's ability to fly.

Besides Lulu, the Web zine Sequential Tart is another source for women-friendly comics and interviews with female comics creators.