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Female Superheroes

Female Superheroes

Female superheroes have been around for as long as any of us remember - the changes they've endured over the years as characters is not only astonishing, but impressive. Let's take a look at how these incredible women have made a permanent name for themselves in the comic book industry.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: May 8, 2018
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"A new journey to be started. A new promise to be fulfilled. A new page to be written. Go forth unto this waiting world with pen in hand, all you young scribes, the open book awaits. Be creative. Be adventurous. Be original. And above all else, be young. For youth is your greatest weapon, your greatest tool. Use it wisely."
- Wonder Woman (Issue #62) by George Perez
Female superheroes conjure a picture in our minds of beautiful, busty women. Skin-tight suits; sultry eyes; wild luscious hair; and a body that could make any man go weak in the knees - this is the stuff of comic books. Her superpowers draw awe and envy from those around her, where she's a force to reckon with. Female superheroes aren't a thing of yesteryear; they're very much a part of today, tomorrow, and an eternity to come.
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The Four Ages of Comic Book History
Golden Age
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This age marked the beginning of comic books like Archie Comics, as it made its way into the hearts of young children and teenagers worldwide. Comic books of the Golden Age had nothing of what fans are accustomed to today, where women were portrayed as either career-driven or lovestruck youngsters / adults who sometimes played the 'bad girl' (stuck-up heartbreakers) role. Costumes were later introduced by characters like Miss Fury who fought against national injustice. We then lay eyes on the famous Sheena who was a provocative yet ruthless character dubbed as Queen of the Jungle. The Golden Age is known fondly for the evolution of comic books with the introduction of the fearless, striking, and confident female superhero - Wonder Woman.
She brings to the pages of comic books a woman who knows what she wants, and how to get it. It was All-American Publications who brought life to Wonder Woman; another company called National Periodicals was part of the merger with All-American Publications that led to the birth of powerhouse, DC Comics. While male dominance was prevalent in DC Comics' issues, Wonder Woman was developed and soon included to break the convention of using all-male characters. This was the advent of headstrong, independent female superheroes where the ideals of 'prim and proper' were a thing of the past.
Silver Age
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DC Comics became stringent about using women that were given superficial physical traits (after the implementation of its own Editorial Policy Code), where representing them as main characters wasn't encouraged. It's a tad mind-boggling since Wonder Woman was created by DC Comics. Surprisingly, their editorial policy wanted to downplay the very idea of such a character (seeing that their readership consisted mainly of children). Maybe this was the age to experiment with 'real women'. They didn't place females in the limelight; men were given more focus while women played the role of supporting character.
A prime example would be journalist Lois Lane, who plays a primary yet non-superpower role alongside Superman aka Clark Kent. Marvel Comics (formerly known as Atlas Comics) then introduced their first superhero, Invisible Girl aka Susan Storm. Marvel Comics was poles apart from what DC Comics considered as appropriate and reader-friendly. While the former sunk its teeth into a storyboard that strictly dealt with a world crippled by societal prejudice, the latter was filled with crime-fighting old-fashioned superheroes that encapsulated the best of the 1940s.
Comic books in later years were labeled appropriately whether they were graphically adult-oriented or not. Major publications like Marvel, Archies, and DC found the Comics Code Authority a defunct system to adhere to. They parted ways with the CCA and individually came up with their own set of policies.
Bronze Age
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This was an age where feminism was at its highest, what with the women's liberation movement at the peak of its existence. Comic books introduced feminist characters that were strongly portrayed as man haters. Ms. Marvel for example, was thrust into a storyboard that highlighted just how much of a feminist she was, using the cover line "This Female Fights Back!" in a self-titled issue by Marvel Comics.
From heated sentiments around the nation to a whole new outlook on women by comic book publishers, Marvel Comics was the first to take an initiative to change things (and in a dramatic way, no less). They transformed their female characters into strong-willed, spirited, and dogmatic super-heroines. The 1970s saw a mercurial change in comic book history where female characters like Polaris, Storm, and Oracle to name a few, paved a way for other new radical super-heroines.
Modern Age
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It is no secret that women have been used as sex symbols to lure audiences into a web of predetermined wants. Comic books used subjects that were either debatable or controversial, using women as bait to gain popularity in an already thriving comic book market. Matters like lesbianism, women occupying a higher rank in workplaces, and single motherhood, were just some of the things that took hold of comic book themes in the early 21st century. Today, even as we flip through comic books printed for modern-day readers, it is no surprise to come across bold, outright representations of violence and sex.
In the 1990s, women were often depicted as helpless victims or killed off from the pages of comic books. Such a brash portrayal was brought to light in a website called Women in Refrigerators. Today these depictions have simmered down drastically, giving women their much-needed importance in comic books that was once ruled by testosterone.
Classic Comic Books of the Four Ages
americas best comics1
Image 1: Credit: Wikimedia Commons (PD)
americas best comics2
Image 2: Credit: Wikimedia Commons (PD)
black cat comics
Image 1: Credit: Crimsoncrusader (Public Domain Super Heroes)/from Wikimedia Commons (PD)
moon girl
Image 2: Credit: Alhasagianttongue at en.wikipedia/from Wikimedia Commons (PD)
crimes by women
Image 1: Credit: Wikimedia Commons (PD)
famous crimes
Image 2: Credit: Wikimedia Commons (PD)
planet crimes
Image 1: Credit: Chordboard (from material in my possession)/ via Wikimedia Commons (PD)
true bride to be romances
Image 2: Credit: Wikimedia Commons (PD)
wow comics
Image 1: Credit: Fawcett Comics/uploaded by Chordboard (art by Jack Binder)/via Wikimedia Commons (PD)
zoot comics
Image 2: Credit: Crimsoncrusader (Public Domain Super Heroes)/from Wikimedia Commons (PD)
sheena
Image 1: Credit: Bob Powell, Chordboard (Digital Comic Museum)/from Wikimedia Commons (PD)
rulah jungle goddess
Image 2: Credit: Wikimedia Commons (PD)
Index of Female Superheroes from Classic Comic Books
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y| Z
A
Aspen Mathews (Aspen Comics)
Arrowette (DC Comics)
Angel O'Day (DC Comics)
Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld (DC Comics)
Amanda Sefton (Marvel Comics)
Aleta Ogord (Marvel Comics)
Aurora (Marvel Comics)
Amber (Eclipse Comics)
Andromeda (Separate Characters from DC and Marvel Comics)
American Dream (Marvel Comics)
Artemis of Bana-Mighdall (DC Comics)
Aquagirl (DC Comics)
Arisia (DC Comics)
Angela (Image Comics)
Argent (DC Comics)
Anya Corazon (Marvel Comics)
Adrienne Frost (Marvel Comics)

Back
B
Bette Kane (DC Comics)
Binary (Marvel Comics)
Batwoman (DC Comics)
Batgirl (DC Comics
Blink (Marvel Comics)
Belphegor (DC Comics)
Black Widow (Timely Comics)
Big Barda (DC Comics)
Beautiful Dreamer (DC Comics)
Black Cat (Separate Characters from Harvey and Marvel Comics)
Blacklight (Marvel Comics)
Big Bertha (Marvel Comics)
Black Orchid (DC Comics)
Bella Donna (Marvel Comics)
Black Canary (DC Comics)
Burnout (Eclipse Comics)
Boodikka (DC Comics)
Brandy (Image Comics)
Bumblebee (DC Comics)
Bluestreak (Marvel Comics)
Bulleteer (DC Comics)
Boom Boom (Marvel Comics)
Blonde Phantom (Marvel Comics)
Buff (Marvel Comics)
Bulletgirl (DC Comics)

Back
C
Captain Marvel / Monica Rambeau (Marvel Comics)
Cecilia Reyes (Marvel Comics)
Chance (Marvel Comics)
Callisto (Marvel Comics)
Coagula (DC Comics)
Colleen Wing (Marvel Comics)
Crimson Fox (DC Comics)
Cinnamon (DC Comics)
Crystal (Marvel Comics)
Chastity (Chaos Comics)
Captain Confederacy (Marvel Comics)
Cimarron (Eclipse Comics)
Chase (DC Comics)
Clea (Marvel Comics)
Captain Universe (Marvel Comics)
Cerise (Marvel Comics)
Comet Queen (DC Comics)
Cyclone (DC Comics)
Colt (AC Comics)
Crimson Fox (DC Comics)
Celsius (DC Comics)
Cat Claw (Malibu Comics)
Cobweb (America's Best Comics)
Crane (Bon Comics)
Catwoman (DC Comics)
Crazy Jane (DC Comics)
Crimson Avenger III (DC Comics)

Back
D
Devi (Virgin Comics)
Dawn (Sirius Comics)
Donna Troy (DC Comics)
Dagger (Marvel Comics)
Diamondback (Marvel Comics)
Dazzler (Marvel Comics)
Doctor Midnight (DC Comics)
Dead Girl (Marvel Comics)
Darna (Mango Comics)
Dorothy Spinner (DC Comics)
Destiny (Marvel Comics)
Dust (Marvel Comics)
Dragonfly (AC Comics)
Dolphin (DC Comics)
Doctor Light (DC Comics)
Dusk (Marvel Comics)
Doctor Light (DC Comics)
Diamond Lil (Marvel Comics)
Dawnstar (DC Comics)
Darkstar (Marvel Comics)
Domino (Marvel Comics)
Debrii (Marvel Comics)
Duck-Girl (Bon Comics)
Dart (DC Comics)
Dove (DC Comics)
Deep Blue (DC Comics)
Doll Girl (DC Comics)
Dumb Bunny (DC Comics)
Dream Girl (DC Comics)

Back
E
Echo (Marvel Comics)
Elektra (Marvel Comics)
Emma Frost (Marvel Comics)
Elasti-Girl (DC Comics)

Back
F
Fever (DC Comics)
Fallen Angel (DC Comics)
Free Spirit (Marvel Comics)
Fire (DC Comics)
Faith (DC Comics)
Firestar (Marvel Comics)
Fathom (Aspen Comics)
Fathom (Comico Comics)
Forerunner (DC Comics)
Flash / Tangent (DC Comics)
Firebird (Marvel Comics)
Fury I (DC Comics)
Fury II (DC Comics)
Fleur-de-Lis (DC Comics)

Back
G
Gypsy (DC Comics)
Ghost (Dark Horse Comics)
Gamora (Marvel Comics)
Green Arrow (DC Comics)
Gertrude Yorkes (Marvel Comics)
Gloss (DC Comics)
Garganta (AC Comics)
Grace (DC Comics)
Gloss (DC Comics)
Ganymede (Marvel Comics)
Green Lantern (DC Comics)
Godiva (DC Comics)

Back
H
Huntara (Marvel Comics)
Hepzibah (Marvel Comics)
Hawkgirl (DC Comics)
Heather Hudson (Marvel Comics)
Hawkwoman (DC Comics)
Huntress (DC Comics)
Hellcat (Marvel Comics)
Hawk (Marvel Comics)
Halo (DC Comics)
Hawkeye (Marvel Comics)

Back
I
Isis (DC Comics)
Icemaiden (DC Comics)
Invisible Woman (Marvel Comics)
Indigo (DC Comics)
Insect Queen (DC Comics)
Infragirl (Image Comics)

J
Jubilee (Marvel Comics)
Jet (DC Comics)
Jack Phantom (America's Best Comics)
Jesse Quirk (DC Comics)
Jennifer Kale (Marvel Comics)
Judomaster III (DC Comics)
Jayna (DC Comics)
Jessica Jones (Marvel Comics)
Jocasta (Marvel Comics)
Joystick (Marvel Comics)
Jann of the Jungle (Marvel Comics)
Jolt (Marvel Comics)

K
Kismet (Marvel Comics)
Karatecha (Kiss Comics)
Misty Knight (Marvel Comics)
Katma Tui / Green Lantern (DC Comics)
Karolina Dean (Marvel Comics)
Kasumi / Batgirl (DC Comics)
Kole (DC Comics)
Kid Flash (DC Comics)
Katana (DC Comics)
Knockout (DC Comics)
Kristin (Comics Interview)
Kinetix (DC Comics)
Karma (Marvel Comics)

L
La Lunatica (Marvel Comics)
Little Mermaid (DC Comics)
Laurel Kent (DC Comics)
Lady Blackhawk (DC Comics)
Loria (DC Comics)
Liberty Belle (DC Comics)
Lady Death (Chaos Comics)
Lightspeed (Marvel Comics)
Looker (DC Comics)
Lightning Lass (DC Comics)

M
Marrow (Marvel Comics)
Magdalene (Marvel Comics)
Molly Hayes (Marvel Comics)
Madame .44 (DC Comics)
Maxima (DC Comics)
Manhunter (DC Comics)
Madame Xanadu (DC Comics)
Mary Marvel (DC Comics)
Magik (Marvel Comics)
M (Marvel Comics)
Marvel Girl (Marvel Comics)
Marrina (Marvel Comics)
Medusa (Marvel Comics)
Magma (Marvel Comics)
Meggan (Marvel Comics)
Mockingbird (Marvel Comics)
Merry, Girl of 1000 Gimmicks (DC Comics)
Monstress (DC Comics)
Miss America (Separate Characters from DC and Marvel Comics)
Mera (DC Comics)
Moonstone (Marvel Comics)
Ms. Mystic (Continuity Comics)
Motormouth (Marvel Comics)
Mirage (DC Comics)
Ms. Marvel (Marvel Comics)
Moondragon (Marvel Comics)
Marionette (Marvel Comics)
Maya (DC Comics)
Manitou Dawn (DC Comics)

N
Nightstar (DC Comics)
Natasha Irons (DC Comics)
Nico Minoru (Marvel Comics)
Negative Woman (DC Comics)
Nightshade (DC Comics)
Nocturne (Marvel Comics)
Namorita (Marvel Comics)
Night Girl (DC Comics)
Nikki (Marvel Comics)
Nemesis (Marvel Comics)
Nemesis II (Marvel Comics)
Namora (Marvel Comics)
Nightcat (Marvel Comics)
Nightveil (AC Comics)
Neon Queen (Image Comics)

O
Oracle (DC Comics)
Owlwoman (DC Comics)
Onyx (DC Comics)

P
Polaris / Overdrive (Marvel Comics)
Psylocke (Marvel Comics)
Phantom Girl / Apparition (DC Comics)
Power Girl (DC Comics)
Photon (Marvel Comics)
Princess Projectra / Sensor (DC Comics)
Phoenix (Marvel Comics)
Pantha (DC Comics)
Pixie (Marvel Comics)
Promethea (America's Best Comics)
Penance (Marvel Comics)
Poison Ivy (DC Comics)

O
Queen Hippolyta (DC Comics)

R
Rocket (DC Comics)
Raptor (Marvel Comics)
Rad (AC Comics)
Revanche (Marvel Comics)
Rhea Jones (DC Comics)
Rainbow (Eclipse Comics)
Rescue (Marvel Comics)
Rose and Thorn II (DC Comics)
Red Guardian (Marvel Comics)
Rainbow Brite (Hallmark Comics)
Raven (DC Comics)
Red Sonja (Marvel Comics)
Ronin (Marvel Comics)
Red Tornado (All American Comics)
Rogue (Marvel Comics)
Rampage (DC Comics)

S
Shadowcat (Marvel Comics)
Saturn Girl (DC Comics)
She-Dragon (Image Comics)
Secret (DC Comics)
Shamrock (Marvel Comics)
Satana Hellstrom (Marvel Comics)
Scarlet Witch (Marvel Comics)
Sage (Marvel Comics)
Scorpion (Marvel Comics)
Sabra (Marvel Comics)
She-Hulk (Marvel Comics)
Sepulchre (Marvel Comics)
Silver Sable (Marvel Comics)
She-Thing (Marvel Comics)
Silk Spectre (DC Comics)
She-Venom (Marvel Comics)
Sif (Marvel Comics)
Sersi (Marvel Comics)
Shining Knight (DC Comics)
Silverclaw (Marvel Comics)
Shanna the She-Devil (Marvel Comics)
Silver Fox (Marvel Comics)
Shikari (DC Comics)
Shadow Lass / Umbra (DC Comics)
Shrinking Violet (DC Comics)
Shadow Hunter (Virgin Comics)
Silhouette (Marvel Comics)
Snowbird (Marvel Comics)
Skids (Marvel Comics)
Spoiler (DC Comics)
Skyrocket (DC Comics)
Spider Girl (Separate Characters from DC and Marvel Comics)
Spider Woman (Marvel Comics)
Songbird (Marvel Comics)
Spitfire (Marvel Comics)
Speedy II (DC Comics)
Sun Girl (Marvel Comics)
Star-Spangled Kid (DC Comics)
Squirrel Girl (Marvel Comics)
Superwoman (DC Comics)
Supergirl (DC Comics)
Starfire (DC Comics)
Stepford Cuckoos (Marvel Comics)
Stardust (AC Comics)
Stunner (Marvel Comics)
Stacy X (Marvel Comics)
Spy Smasher (DC Comics)
Stature (Marvel Comics)

T
Traci 13 (DC Comics)
The White Witch (DC Comics)
Tara (Marvel Comics)
Tara Fremont (AC Comics)
The Cat (Marvel Comics)
Titaness (Mansion Comics)
The Wasp (Marvel Comics)
The Woman in Red (Standard Comics)
Thunder III (DC Comics)
Turbo (Marvel Comics)
Thor Girl (Marvel Comics)
Timeslip (Marvel Comics)
Tigra (Marvel Comics)
Troia (DC Comics)
Thundra (Marvel Comics)
Terra (DC Comics)
Tsunami (DC Comics)
Topaz (Marvel Comics)
Triplicate Girl / Duo Damsel, Triad (DC Comics)

U
- None So Far -

V
Vixen (DC Comics)
Valkyrie (Marvel Comics)
Vera Black / Sister Superior (DC Comics)
Venus (Marvel Comics)
Valda the Iron Maiden (DC Comics)
Vindicator (Marvel Comics)
Vigilante (DC Comics)

W
Wonder Girl (DC Comics)
Wonder Woman (DC Comics)
Wonder Tot (DC Comics)
Witchfire (Separate Characters from DC and Marvel Comics)
Wallflower (Marvel Comics)
Wind Dancer (Marvel Comics)
Wolfsbane (Marvel Comics)
Wild Thing (Marvel Comics)

X
XS (DC Comics)
X-23 (Marvel Comics)
Y
- None So Far -
Z
Zatanna (DC Comics)
From comic books to full-fledged movies, we've seen a remarkable shift in the industry that only has the best in store for fans worldwide. These female comic book characters stand for everything that symbolize the power of the fairer sex, where they were once underestimated but ultimately given their due worth.