It’s a girl, it’s a woman, it’s a comic book heroine

June 14th, 2011 Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Kelly, Non-Fiction, Pop Culture

I’ve always found comic books interesting as a reflection of the time period they were published in. Looking at heroines like Supergirl or Batgirl—and their roles within the comic books—brings up interesting insight into American culture and the role of women.

Supergirls focuses on well-known heroines like Wonder Woman, Invisible Woman, etc, while also looking at lesser known characters like the Phantom Lady, Black Cat, the Blonde Phantom, and the Black Canary, and more. It looks at various factors that affected female characters. For example, the Comic Code Authority greatly changed the way female characters were drawn and portrayed, leading to comics like Sheena, Queen of the Jungle ceasing production since the character was too racy for children.

I enjoyed Supergirls and would recommend it anyone interested in comic books, heroes and heroines, and the portrayal of women throughout the 20th century. I enjoyed learning the history of various characters. For example, I knew about Superman and Batman’s foundations, but knew very little about Wonder Woman’s Amazon/Greek Gods background. (And the background changed over time depending upon what was considered palatable to the general public.)

Illustrations would have been a helpful addition to this book, as I ended up googling some of the lesser known characters to see what they looked like. (Madrid did a good job explaining their appearance and costumes, but there’s no substitute for seeing the illustrations.) He maybe could have gone deeper into the cultural impact of the characters. But I thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it is: a history of superheroines.

Read by: Kelly

Title: Supergirls: Fashion, feminism, fantasy, and the history of comic book heroines
Author: Mike Madrid
Souce: Public Library
Read: June 2011




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