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The Supergirls: Fashion, feminism, fantasy, and the history of comic book heroines
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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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
From the Inside Flap
"Supergirls is a long overdue tribute to the fabulous fighting females whose beauty and bravery brighten the pages of your favorite comic."-Stan Lee
Top customer reviews
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keep up on what happened to my favorite characters - The Scarlet Witch,
Zatanna, Wonder Woman, Amythest to name a few. This book brings
back memories. . .the author gives the down and outs on our favorite
super heroines and how they were treated at the different comic companies
Image, DC, and Marvel are all featured here. He gives the history starting
with the forties to today revealing how certain characters were written (or
not) and how they changed with the times. . .Must buy and must read for
anyone who fondly remembers opening up a comic book and finding a favorite
female character that they loved! Also anyone who loves comics!
For a super heroine, life is just as tough. And this book explores how super heroine's have evolved from some of the weakest super powered characters to some of the strongest.
Beginning with the likes of the Blonde Phantom and continuing through the likes of Storm, Psylocke, Wonder Woman, Elektra, Manhunter, Black Canary, and many more, Mike Madrid explores the evolution of the super heroine. From the stereotypes faced by female super heroes, whether it's being over-sexualized (particularly during the 90s bad girl trend) or treated as being inferior to men or pining for a man to love her to the reasons the women would become crime fighters, Madrid explores how each decade brought changes in how females were presented in comic books. From meek wallflowers to strong women who were as brave and selfless as their male counterparts.
From the 40s to the present day 21st century, Madrid gives us a peek into what makes a super heroine tick. As female super heroes traveled the road to equality, they faced the same obstacles as real world women. If they felt a certain way, they were bitches. If they fought as hard as men, they were too masculine. If they got rescued by men or bowed to their will, they were weak. For a long time, being a super hero was seen as not something women should do. To the male creators that dominated the industry, having a female super hero was placing them outside of where they belonged: the home. But as kids who grew up during the women's liberation movement became the comic book creators, things changed. Women became stronger and central to the comic book universes they belonged to. Things were not perfect, but things were changing. And they continue to evolve as the years go by.
While the women of the real world still face a long road to equality, super heroine's are closer than they've ever been. Wonder Woman is featured in 3 different titles on a regular basis. Marvel publishes X-Men, featuring an all female cast. A cast that has proved that they are some of the strongest super heroes on the planet. The Invisible Woman is acknowledged to be the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four, but still balances her "career" with being a wife and mother. DC and Marvel Comics feature an array of talented female creators and have pushed for titles with female headliners, such as Bat-Woman and She-Hulk. These heroine's can only inspire the Millennials to become the best they can be and not let their gender deter them from their dreams.
If the comic book companies (and movie studios) fail in any way, it is that they have yet to come up with a decent movie where a female headlines. Elektra and Catwoman were notorious bombs. As was Supergirl. Wonder Woman has yet to have a movie and has struggled to find a place in the world outside a comic book. There is also a continuing trend where women are the targets of unrepentant violence, dubbed "Women in the Refrigerator Syndrome", although the characters often come out the other side stronger than ever. It is a trend that seems to be changing as more readers become vocal about the treatment of female characters.
If anything that is the flaw of the book, not exploring that part of comic books. It is interesting to see how many female heroes have been killed, maimed, tortured, and raped compared to the male heroes. It would have made an interesting chapter in this book.
If anything this book gives hope to the reader that as super heroine's get closer to equality, so do their real world counterparts.
"I lift cars, I can lift car door handles." -Wonder Woman
By Mike Madrid
If you've ever pondered the history of your favorite adventure heroine you'll love this book. Well researched and entertaining to read, Supergirls, chronicles the superheroine's influential role in pop culture and her impact on society's perception of women. The book takes a historical approach to the superheroine's image and persona from the early 1900s to present day. Superheroine's have been repressed, empowered, protected and exploited over the course of time and have reflected the morals and spirit of the era.
For example, in the 1940's when the world was at War the superheroine was fighting the Japanese and the Nazi's as patriotic soldiers and fighter pilots. At the war's end she retired her guns and became a more passive, yet romantic, partner for her superhero counterparts in the 1950s. When the Comic Authority Board later relaxed the rules for the depiction of women in comics she became an increasingly sexualized character. The women's movement and the sexual revolution gave the superheroine an independent yet sexually progressive viewpoint. And the 1980's reflected a hedonistic super-sexed party time.
Today, the superheroine calls her own shots, addresses global problems, in addition to defeating the bad guy for world harmony. She's no longer an appendage for the superhero but a fighting force in her own right. If you ever wondered about She-Hulk, Supergirl, Batwoman, Catwoman or Wonder Woman then this is the book for you. Educational and interesting, author Mike Madrid, does an excellent job in conveying the curious relationship between women, culture and the comic superheroine.