It’s A New Day For Female Superheroes

Gal Gadot as "Wonder Woman", to be seen in next year's "Batman v Superman"
Gal Gadot as “Wonder Woman”, to be seen in next year’s “Batman v Superman”

*There’s almost as much buzz about Wonder Woman’s first appearance in a theatrical film — in next spring’s Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice — as there is about the film itself (including Ben Affleck’s turn as the Caped Crusader). Along with Marvel’s upcoming Captain Marvel flick and CBS’ new Supergirl series debuting this fall, things are looking up for those looking for assertive, empowered women who are spandex’ed up to save the world. Some writers are referring to it as a “new day” for these female images.

While I’d completely concur that it’s LONG overdue, it’s not really a new day. Female images have been around, especially on television, for quite some time. When I was a kid, The Bionic Woman, Charlie’s Angels, and Wonder Woman herself were kicking butt and taking names on weekly episodic TV. In many cases, they out-thought and out-fought their male counterparts. (Who can forget Jaime Summers beating Bigfoot after Steve Austin almost got killed by him??).


And a decade before those ladies changed the face of primetime TV, Yvonne Craig’s “Batgirl” stood pointed toe-to-toe with Batman and Robin, and proved women were a force to be reckoned with.

That said, in the last couple of decades, women have taken a back seat to the guys in Hollywood’s world-saving department. On TV, shows like “Bird Of Prey” and the rebooted “Charlie’s Angels” & “The Bionic Woman” sputtered and died. Meanwhile,the “Last Son of Krypton” enjoyed a ten-year run on the WB’s “Smallville,” and lesser-known heroes like The Flash and Arrow attracted large viewing audiences.

With a fan base that’s now a full 47 percent female, the notion of comic book superheroes being almost exclusively male is as antiquated as an IBM Selectric on Lois Lane’s desk at The Daily Planet. According to Yahoo News!, publishers like DC and Marvel have answered the burgeoning demand with the creation of more female protagonists, (such as the new, African-American pre-teen superhero called Moongirl), and a new wave of female creators are creating a presence for new characters, while breathing new life into long-existing ones. From writers G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Sue DeConnick to artists like Babs Tarr, the comic book industry has never seemed as gender inclusive.

Is it a new “golden age” for the female superhero? Time will tell. But for me, as much as I can’t wait to see Henry Cavill’s second turn as Superman in next spring’s movie, I’ll be at the midnight premiere on March 26th because I want to be among the first to see Wonder Woman kick some serious ass in IMAX!

Michael P Coleman is a freelance writer with a grave, undiagnosed and untreated Superman fixation. If you don’t believe it, just check out his Twitter page.

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