A detailed history of comicdom’s women in tights.
While many can name upward of 10 male superheroes, few can name women superheroes beyond the basic three: Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl. This updated edition of Madrid’s 2009 offering details the many caped crusaders on the distaff side. The author takes readers through the history of comic books in a straightforward fashion, starting in the golden age and outlining the national mood before delving into the minutiae of the first female vigilantes. The first few chapters are the book’s weakest, as the lengthy list of bygone crusaders grows repetitive, and the author has little to add in the form of commentary. The book picks up considerably when it moves into the 1950s and beyond: the author gets to examine characters still in the popular consciousness, exploring their evolutions as the feminist movement kicks up, fashions change, and national moods shift. The affection the author holds for these characters is infectious. The deep dive into Wonder Woman’s various origin stories and Captain Marvel’s bizarre pregnancy are highlights, as is a chapter dedicated entirely to the grim and gritty trend of the ’80s. The author briefly mentions screen adaptations, particularly Batgirl in the ’60s Batman show and the Wonder Woman show of the ’70s, but comic-book history is the primary focus.
An essential read for pop-culture enthusiasts, feminists, comic-book readers, and social justice warriors. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)