Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Review: The Supergirls

The complete title of this fun book is The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines.
With chapter titles like "The Queen & the Princess" (Sheena & Wonder Woman that is), "Girls Together (Outrageously)," and "SUPERGIRL & The Ballad of American Youth," you can tell that the author has considered things, and gone farther than an organized list.

One of author Mike Madrid's many interesting observations seems obvious, but it is insightful.  It's simply the observation that male heroes are often *something*MAN, while most adult heroines are still GIRLS, like The Invisible Girl, or Power Girl.

While some might interpret such things as intentional oppression by a demonic patriarchy, Madrid makes the more commonsense observation that, considering who ran the industry -- mostly guys who were in their 40s or 50s -- and their target audience -- boys six to fourteen years old -- then, it's not surprising that this naming "phenomenon" worked out that way.

Personally, having bought and read both of the recent Fletcher Hanks anthologies, I was hoping for more than a mere mention of Fantomah, the autocratic avenger of the Jungle-Born.  But that's just me.

There are fine chapter-head illos by Madrid, who is also an accomplished illustrator and modelmaker.  But you'll want to SEE some of the comics scenes described in the book, so for that, go to the Supergirls Visual Guide, online at http://www.heaven4heroes.com/heaven4heroes/Heaven4Heroes_SUPERGIRLS_Visual_Guide.html .

This is an interesting read, and part of the reason I liked it is that although Madrid makes many points both positive and negative, he isn't snarky about it.  I learned a lot about comic-book gals from the 1930s and 1940s that I didn't know before, and enjoyed myself.

You should buy it, you'll like it!

PS If, on the Supergirls Visual Guide page, you click on the HOME tab at the top, you can see a lot more of Mr Madrid's artwork!

1 comment:

Christmas gifts said...

The cover is sooo neat!

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