Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book: The Supergirls-Fashion, Feminism, & the History of Comic Book Heroines

The Supergirls-Fashion, Feminism, & the History of Comic Book Heroines by Mike Madrid

Summary: A history of the comic book heroine. From the early days of comic books to the present day. Encompassing background on the classic characters from Phantom lady to Storm and even lesser known or more cult status heroines.

Mike Madrid's book looks at the rough times these women had attempting to become equals to their male counterparts as well as being received by a mostly male audience. Along the way being straddled by lack of creative imagination and male chauvinism. The chapter on Wonder Woman's struggles greatly show that even one of the greatest female characters to ever be created suffered more than she succeeded.

Read about Marvel comics trouble, and failure, to produce a female hero on Wonder Womans level. How the infamous Seduction of the Innocent not only effected female characters but male superheroes own books in regards to female supporting cast.

Mike Madrid also looks at the style and fashion of these heroines and debates whether the outfits empower the wearer or are just designed to entice male readers.

Thoughts: Very in depth. So much information in a short, over 250 page book. Easily accessible. Sadly no artwork from any major character but I can imagine licensing costs.

I was stunned regarding Ms. marvel's publication history. These woman was suppose to be Marvels answer to Wonder Woman and she was stunted in her development by the various creators. Only now has the character gained any real movement but its been way too late to make her the female icon of the company.

Being a fan of Wonder Woman, the chapters and information regarding her was really enlightening. Also down right sad how they practically stilted her growth at every turn unable to figure out what to do with the character. Especially after the original creator died and the Seduction of the Innocent book. That said, I do kind of like white-pantsuit Wonder Woman.

The WWII heroines sound kind of cool.

Sad to see that the male writers shook of feminism for the most part with these girls until the 80s where new creators started bring more serious and thought provoking material to the books. Though there were a few shining spots ere and there. Like the treatemnt to Doom patrols Elasti-Girl. Confident and powerful.

The information on Legion of Super-Hero's female characters makes me interested in thsoe old stories. Some hank panky between the lines?

Damn good read.

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