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The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines Paperback – September 1, 2009
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American Library Association Amelia Bloomer Project Notable Book
The Supergirls is a long overdue tribute to the fabulous fighting females whose beauty and bravery brighten the pages of your favorite comics.”STAN LEE
A thoughtful, comprehensive history of women in comics . . . The Supergirls gleefully celebrates the medium itself, in all its goofy, glorious excess.” NPR Best Book To Share With Your Friends” citation
From the super heroines of today to Goddesses of Tomorrow,’ Madrid questions the position of women in the world of superhero fantasy, showing the parallels between society’s expectations and the depiction of American women in comic fiction.” American Library Association Amelia Bloomer Project Notable Book citation
Sharp and livelyand just obsessive enough about women who wear capes and boots to be cool but not creepy. [Madrid] clearly loves this stuff. And he's enough of a historian to be able to trace the ways in which the portrayal of sirens and supergirls has echoed society's ever-changing feelings about women and sex.” Entertainment Weekly
Weird and wonderful all the way through.” Portland Mercury
There comes a time in every comic book geek slash fashionista’s life when she must ask herself What do costumes and couture have in common?’ The Supergirls sets out to answer that question. . . . A quick read that skims over the history of publishing powerhouses Marvel and DC, making it informative enough and providing sufficient cultural context for those who may have no prior comic book knowledge.” WORN Fashion Journal (Canada)
Any comics or graphic novel library needs The Supergirls. It provides a cultural history of comic book heroines and asks whether their fantasy world has any connection to our own, offering a fine survey of different super-women in comic history and crime fighting. Any long-time comic book reader will relish this blend of scene re-creation and social analysis.” Midwest Book Review
Mike Madrid’s fast-moving, encyclopedic, and often funny Supergirls shows the author’s lifelong affection for these heroines on every page. He has a great feel for the genre and its history, with evident sensitivity to issues of female power and powerlessness. The section on the She-Hulk is not to be missed!” LARRY GONICK, author of Cartoon History of the Universe
Entertaining and informative, Supergirls is a breezy and thoroughly accessible history of the comic book heroine. A great resource!” MARC ANDREYKO, author of the DC Comics Manhunter series
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Top Customer Reviews
I do wish Madrid had been more specific in naming the creators and editors of the stories he referenced. Most citations simply lay the blame for mishandled characters at the feet of their publisher, but more often than not he doesn't even identify which publisher was responsible for a character's woes. Maybe it's just a by-product of earning my degree in history, but I felt this was relevant information that the reader shouldn't have to supplement on his or her own. After all, it was individual men and women who made the choices about the content of the issues that hit the stands; Madrid suggests by omission of their names that some faceless order simply decreed how things would go.
Also conspicuously absent are any insights from anyone within the industry. A spattering of quotes taken from previously published interviews appear, but it seems that either Madrid was uninterested in, or more likely unable to, interview anyone for the purpose of this book.Read more ›
VERY disapointed to see no illustrations in the book. It's one thing to talk about Wonder Woman going from Bermuda Shorts to a thong. . . better to see it.
And would have been nice to see drawings of some of the more obscure characters in the book too to refresh my memory.
First, although it presented itself as being arranged chronologically the authors jumps around a bit within sections, and I think it would have been more effective to organize it by character, and take each character through her different portrayals. At some points I just felt like it was a bit all over the place.
Second, I was troubled by the author's interpretations of many heroines powers. He places a lot of focus on the fact that many female characters have less "physical powers" - their powers tend to be based on manipulation of humans and objects - illusions, telekinesis, invisibility, etc. While some of these powers may not have initially been used to their full potential, I think it's problematic to assert that they are "lesser" powers or that a lack of physical strength makes the women unequal to their male counterparts. TYPICALLY, women are less physically strong than men, with greater verbal skills. It's important for female superheroes to have powers that women can relate to - having some physically strong heroines is certainly necessary since some women will relate to that. But many, if not most, women relate more to heroines whose powers are more based on manipulation and creation. Suggesting that these powers are inherently "less than" Superman's strength or Wolverine's indestructibility is inaccurate - just because the early writers didn't take full advantage of these powers doesn't mean they aren't valuable.
A lot of my favorite heroines were barely mentioned, if they were mentioned at all - I probably would have liked it a bit more if characters like Rogue and Black Widow had received more attention from the author.
Overall, this was a pretty good read, but I think I would like to read a similar book written by a woman, as a woman would clearly be in a better position to understand the implications of these characters.
Well said, Mr. Lee.
I'll keep this short. This book was awesome. It's a well researched (very well researched) look at the comic book heroines from Day 1 to present day and how they fit into popular culture. It goes through costume changes, ideal/moral changes, the sexual revolution, you name it.
Did you know Wonder Woman had a bondage period? That Invisible Woman had 2 miss-carriages that changed the way she saw herself as a superhero?
If you're a comic book fan you should read this book. It's a great exploration into the journey of the "Supergirls" we know today. If you aren't... read it anyway.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Of interest mostly to the specialist doing a study of pop culture and graphic art; more flawed than bad- but of course a lot of characters simply aren't covered at all and the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by thirdtwin
Love this book! Awesome to know about so many superheroines in a very critical, feminist way.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is one interesting book!It looks at cOmic book heroines thru the decades.Think Wonder Woman was the first superheroine to star in her own comic book?Think again! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Red 5
You need to already be a big fan of comics to follow this book. He brings up a lot, often with little explanation. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Regular Person
Great book, especially now that the new Supergirl tv series is out!Published 8 months ago by DaveSharon
I haven't been able to put this book down once I started reading it. Madrid's conversational writing style tells the story of how Super Girls evolved from the Girl Friends of... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ann Alexandrowicz
Did you know that Sheena, not Wonder Woman, was the first female superhero to have her own title - or that she actually predates Superman? Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jennifer Grey
I cannot overstate how much I love this book! Mike Madrid is a comic book fan after my own heart, and we both share a deep affection for superheroines, whose exploits and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by D