Source: Quirk Books – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Edition: Hardcover, 240 Pages
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
A woman’s place is saving the universe.
Think comic books can t feature strong female protagonists? Think again! In The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen you ll meet the most fascinating exemplars of the powerful, compelling, entertaining, and heroic female characters who ve populated comic books from the very beginning. This spectacular sisterhood includes costumed crimebusters like Miss Fury, super-spies like Tiffany Sinn, sci-fi pioneers like Gale Allen, and even kid troublemakers like Little Lulu. With vintage art, publication details, a decade-by-decade survey of industry trends and women s roles in comics, and spotlights on iconic favorites like Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel, The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen proves that not only do strong female protagonists belong in comics, they ve always been there.”
It’s pretty easy to assume that comic books are a man’s game. When you think about the big name heroes out there a lot of them are men, some of the most vocal fans are men, the majority of the comic book companies are run by men. From the outside looking in it can be pretty sparse looking, but women have been a part of the industry since it’s beginning both in the creative chairs and on the pages. The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a book that serves to highlight some notable characters throughout the decades.
Superheroes are some of the few instances where I enjoy the ‘extra credit’ research I tend to do on the internet. I like the weird origins stories and the not so popular side characters that time has desperately tried to forget, but I also like finding new favorites from older eras. Sisterhood delivers on both points. There are a lot of characters packed into this book, spanning from the 1930’s to the current decade we get a wide variety of women who have appeared in comic books. Each entry comes complete with a notable quote, their first appearance, creator, and small summary; underneath all of that, we get a longer summary of their adventures and their impact (or lack thereof). This isn’t a book that paints all of the characters in a positive light and Nicholson is quick to point out flaws in the stories and the characters themselves. It’s important to note that not all of the women in this book are in fact superwomen, some are normal women in more contemporary stories like romance or straightforward mysteries. I personally didn’t find this to be a problem though as I’m rather uninformed on those genres of comics and I genuinely enjoyed learning more about them.
Nicholson doesn’t shy away from the more risque comics either, and several main characters from sex comics are also featured which I honestly didn’t know had as big of a market as they did in the time periods they show up in.
I’m really looking forward to trying to find some of these comics on my own. A lot of these comics are ones that I would have sort of glossed over and moved on, pegging them for something I wouldn’t like, but I actually wouldn’t mind trying out an old romance comic or seeing what the old T&A comics were actually like (versus the way I picture them). If you enjoy reading comics, especially those with prominent female characters, this is definitely a book to check out! There are plenty of genres to choose from and a lot of information given, so I feel that everyone is bound to find one or two that they want to learn more about.