Publication year: 2017
Format: print
Publisher: Quirk Books
Page count: 240

From the 1930s to 2010s, this book offers a variety of heroines from the US comics. Most of them are actually pretty obscure and haven’t been reprinted, which is a shame because they sound fascinating. The book is arranged by decades and each decade has a short essay about what was going in the US comics industry at the time. Each heroine has about a page of text and most have pictures, too.

I was expecting a lot more superheroes but they are a distinct minority. Instead the book is filled with early science heroines, intrepid journalists, and private detectives. This was good! It would have been great if their stories were readily available. Maybe the writer wants to shy away from more popular characters but it’s quite frustrating to read about a potentially fascinating character and not be able to read her adventures. Also, I’m not so sure how influential the character was, even when they were published, if they appear in only a couple of issues.

I was at first baffled by the absence of heroines like Modesty Blaise and Laureline, until I realized that only characters from US and Canada are in the book. Also, the book has far more DC superheroines than from Marvel. Over here in Finland, Marvel comics were, and still are, published far more than DC.

There are even a few characters who start out as exploited pin-ups but end up having adventures of their own, which was great. Overall, I enjoyed visiting these heroines and it was great to see that interesting female characters have always been part of comics, even a small part.