Women characters in comic books is a journal feature: news note for Women’s History Month

Posted by on March 12, 2014 in 60-Second History Lesson | Comments Off

MissFuryTimelyA special issue of a future issue of the Journal of Fandom Studies will focus on comic book women in response to an increased interest in representations of women in comic books and the general explosion of comic studies over the last decade. The best-known comic book heroes historically have been men. However, fan communities throughout the world have rebelled against this tradition.

Wonder Woman has never gone out of style. Gloria Steinem is one such fan. Others have been introduced through the Lynda Carter television show or her most recent comic book appearances. Some of Wonder Woman’s peers from the 1940s, such as Miss Fury and Nelvana of the Northern Lights, have recently reemerged in print due to crowd funding efforts. Interest in such female comic book characters is not purely nostalgic; instead, it speaks to the ways in which fans have reinterpreted their cultural relevancy.

New fan communities are responsible for the revival of Ms. Marvel, who will now appear as a Muslim teenager. She will be the first comic book character to represent contemporary intersections of gender, ethnicity, and religion. In spite of these cultural trends, there’s little scholarly research about fan responses to comic book women. Existing research tends to focus upon gender stereotypes within texts and has not addressed what these heroines have represented to actual fans, both past and present.

The journal plans a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. For more information: Dr. Caryn E. Neumann (neumance@miamioh.edu), Lecturer, Dept of Integrative Studies and Affiliate, Dept of History, Miami University of Ohio.

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