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The Great Women Superheroes Hardcover – April, 1997

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The most famous female superhero is Wonder Woman, created in 1940 by a William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who also happened to invent the lie detector. But superheroines like the Blonde Phantom (1946); Ultra Violet (1947) and Miss Masque (1946) have long been forgotten. Trina Robbins (A Century of Women Cartoonists) resurrects the story behind these early characters and introduces a new generation of superheroines and their creators in The Great Women Superheroes (Kitchen Sink, $21.95, ISBN 0-87816-481-2; cloth $31.95 -482-0)
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

When was Wonder Woman created? Who is Miss Fury? What is Supergirl's disguise? Here comic illustrater and writer Robbins (A Century of Women Cartoonists, Kitchen Sink, 1993) answers these questions and a great many more. In this detailed history of female superheroes from the Forties through the Nineties, the author covers not only well-known classics like Wonder Woman but also includes more obscure comics. She chronicles comic-book heroines and their creators and also analyzes these characters from a feminist standpoint. Robbins explores the roots in the booming comic industry of the 1940s, when the new characters provided powerful role models for female readers. And she criticizes the "bad girl" comics of the 1990s, wherein scantily clothed pinups spend their adventures bathed in blood. Written in a witty, entertaining manner and filled with black-and-white illustrations, this book packs as much punch as the superheroines it chronicles. Not just for comic aficionados, this volume is highly recommended.?Erin Cassin, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Kitchen Sink Pr; First Edition edition (April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878164820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878164820
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,309,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Hunter on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Trina Robbins puts her years of both comic professionalism and comic fandom to effective use in her survey of The Great Women Super Heroes. She begins in the Golden Age and ends in the mid-90's and is quite thorough. The concentration of the book is on the heroines of the golden age which should be interesting for most readers as this will be the least familiar period to many of them (and readers of other comic book histories will be surprised that there were so many women heroes fighting the good fight). The section that is the most fun, though, is the discussion of the silver age and the recent period as the author allows herself a little more room for editorializing rather than simply surveying and Ms. Robbins opinions are always worth the wait. This area could even be expanded to into a book in its own right. The book is amply and appropriately illustrated. This is a great book for anyone interested in comic books and their checkered history of portraying women. But most of all it is a fun, breezy read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William H. Morgan on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Celebrating the distaff side of the superheroic fraternity, Trina Robbins' examination of the place of women superheroes in comics history is a fascinating and compelling read. Yes, the expected entries are here - a lengthy analysis of Wonder Woman, for example - but countless lesser-known heroines are enumerated and critiqued, from the sidekicks and helpmeets such as Supergirl and Batgirl to stand-alone adventuresses such as the Phantom Lady and Liberty Belle.

However, the book is more than merely a dry recital of history. Robbin's energetic and vivacious style emphasises not just that these characters are remembered, but why they are special, as powerful role models for girls and women in a medium too often dominated by teenage hetboy fantasies.

Robbin's informed and enthusiastic text places each figure, from the 1940's to the present day, into a social context, while never losing sight of the sense-of-wonder appeal that is at the core of the comics medium.

Copious illustrations liven up the text, and if a dash of colour would have helped the monochrome pages - well, there's always the next edition!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book a great deal, and recommend it to anyone who is interested in comic book history. I never knew that there were so many female super-characters around in the 1940s. However, I can't recommend it to anyone doing a serious research project. There are so many errors in the sections about the comics I know, that I don't know how much credence to give the rest. For example, a caption states that Supergirl debuted in Adventure Comics instead of Action Comics; the text refers to the force field powers of Jean Grey instead of Sue Storm; and the artist on the Tomboy strip is said to be Jack Kirby instead of Mort Meskin.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Comic books, like all other aspects of pop culture, reflect the attitudes and mores of society. Therefore, the changes in the female super heroes in the comic books over the years are what you would expect. In the physical sense they wear a lot less clothing, have (much) bigger breasts and their rears are more visible and attractive. Many of the early incarnations of the heroines were very stereotypically female, sometimes to the point of stupidity. Sue Storm, the only female member of the Fantastic Four, insists on shopping and regularly faints through effort. However, the worst case is one involving Batman, Robin and Batgirl. In the midst of a major brawl between the Batgroup and a gang of villains, Batgirl refuses to join the fight until she fixes a run in her tights. To a man (naturally) the criminals stop to ogle her leg, giving the dynamic duo an opportunity to knock them around. No wonder the level of female readership was so low.

Fortunately, everyone grew up in the liberation-tainted seventies and the female super heroes grew more powerful, less prone to act silly and gained in personality. Unfortunately, none ever seemed to catch on with the readership and the majority only had short runs.

This book, a combination of explanatory text with a large number of cartoons, takes you through approximately six decades of women heroes in the comics. You see all these changes, and quite frankly, despite my lifelong interest in comics, I had no idea that there had been so many females with super powers. I put this down to the short life as pen and ink so many of them had. Once again, I was reminded of the difficult time comic books had in the fifties.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a solid history of superheroines from the 30s to the 90s with particular attention to those lost years between the end of WWII and the launch of Marvel comics in the early 60s.

Obscure characters and creators are highlighted and given their due.

A worthwhile read for anyone interested in comic history.
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