Rise of the female superhero

Katie Couric
Global Anchor

This story is being featured as part of our “Yahoo Best Stories of 2015” series. It was originally published on August 12, 2015  

By Brian Prowse-Gany

Ever since Superman first burst onto the printed page in 1938, superheroes have become a staple of American storytelling — from comic books and TV shows to blockbuster movies and video games — conquering evil and injustice throughout.

But when you hear the word “superhero,” you probably picture a strapping costumed man swooping in to save the day. However, a new generation of artists and writers are changing that image, responding to the ever-growing number of female fans who want to see their gender reflected in these heroic tales.

From Ms. Marvel to Batgirl, more and more female heroes are breaking through in a big way, redefining the gender roles that, for years, depicted women simply as “damsels in distress.”

With a fan base that’s now 47 percent female, the notion of comic book superheroes being a boys club is now a thing of the past. Publishers like Marvel, DC and Image have answered the demand for more female protagonists, and behind the pages, a new wave of female creators are giving these characters the presence they never had. From writers G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Sue DeConnick to artists like Babs Tarr, the comic book industry has never seemed so diverse.

As many eagerly wait for Hollywood to catch up to comicdom with upcoming films like “Captain Marvel” and “Wonder Woman,” and television shows like “Supergirl,” these comic book creators are ringing in a new golden age for the female superhero, and the world of crime fighting will never be the same.