Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics

Overview

ComicsAlliance and ComicsBlend Best Comic Book of the Year
BUST Magazine “Lit Pick” Recommendation
Certified Cool™ in PREVIEWS: The Comic Shop’s Catalog

“Mike Madrid gives these forgotten superheroines their due. These ‘lost’ heroines are now found—to the delight of comic book lovers everywhere.” —STAN LEE

Wonder Woman, Mary Marvel, and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle ruled the ...

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Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics

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Overview

ComicsAlliance and ComicsBlend Best Comic Book of the Year
BUST Magazine “Lit Pick” Recommendation
Certified Cool™ in PREVIEWS: The Comic Shop’s Catalog

“Mike Madrid gives these forgotten superheroines their due. These ‘lost’ heroines are now found—to the delight of comic book lovers everywhere.” —STAN LEE

Wonder Woman, Mary Marvel, and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle ruled the pages of comic books in the 1940s, but many other heroines of the WWII era have been forgotten. Through twenty-eight full reproductions of vintage Golden Age comics, Divas, Dames & Daredevils reintroduces their ingenious abilities to mete out justice to Nazis, aliens, and evildoers of all kinds.

Each spine-tingling chapter opens with Mike Madrid’s insightful commentary about heroines at the dawn of the comic book industry and reveals a universe populated by extraordinary women—superheroes, reporters, galactic warriors, daring detectives, and ace fighter pilots—who protected America and the world with wit and guile.

In these pages, fans will also meet heroines with striking similarities to more modern superheroes, including The Spider Queen, who deployed web shooters twenty years before Spider Man, and Marga the Panther Woman, whose feral instincts and sharp claws tore up the bad guys long before Wolverine. These women may have been overlooked in the annals of history, but their influence on popular culture, and the heroes we’re passionate about today, is unmistakable.

Mike Madrid is the author of Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics and The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, an NPR “Best Book To Share With Your Friends” and American Library Association Amelia Bloomer Project Notable Book. Madrid, a San Francisco native and lifelong fan of comic books and popular culture, also appears in the documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/19/2013
Madrid’s second book (following The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines) is a comprehensively annotated collection of forgotten female comic book characters from the era of Golden Age comics. Each of the book’s four sections has an introduction, and a black-and-white comics story for each of the nearly 30 heroines featured. Covering everyone from Black Venus to Mysta of the Moon, the reprinted comics are sometimes magnificent and sometimes silly (and sometimes both), but they provide fantastic documentation of how many female characters were created during this era—some with surprisingly progressive personalities and stories to boot. The author’s passion for heroines and fascination with those who have been left behind are palpable. The volume touches briefly on how many women were creating these female-focused stories and whether that was an important factor in the progressive nature of the characters. Unfortunately, it’s an idea raised but not explored—while wholly enjoyable as an impressive, detailed collection shining a light on heroines long ago neglected, the volume is a bit lacking in analysis, which feels like a missed opportunity. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
ComicsAlliance and ComicsBlend Best Comic Book of the Year
BUST Magazine “Lit Pick” Recommendation
Certified Cool™ in PREVIEWS: The Comic Shop’s Catalog

“Mike Madrid is doing God’s work. . . . Divas, Dames & Daredevils makes accessible a lost, heady land of female adventure—one drowned out by the nicer, more traditionally feminine ladies of the silver age and postwar American culture at large. This is an essential book for the comics historian, the feminist fan, even the curious outsider.” —ComicsAlliance

“A perfect balance of historical context, brief biography, and chances to see these forgotten protagonists in action. . . . Madrid’s love for the subject matter comes through loud and clear, and his engaging, conversational language is as readable as the truly dazzling comics. He has endeavored to unearth the forgotten, and what he found is ultimately unforgettable.” —BUST Magazine

“[A] wide-ranging showcase. . . . Thrillingly strange narratives.” —Women’s Review of Books

“Serious and astute . . . Madrid’s research, choices and annotations hold the entire book together, elaborating on history and establishing the zeitgeist perfectly . . . Highly recommended for comics fans and historians alike, these ‘rarely anthologized’ stories are excellent for giving girls of any age positive comic book role models to look up to.” —PopMatters

“A compelling discussion of comic heroines of the 1940s that are no longer lost to time thanks to this fascinating read.” —GeekMom

“An invaluable reference for those researching the history of comics, Divas, Dames, and Daredevils is also a welcome addition to those focused on the history of portrayals of women in popular culture. . . . Mike Madrid has opened Pandora’s Box, but one hopes he is not done examining the contents. Divas, Dames, and Daredevils is a fantastic introduction to the portrayal of women in comics, and the greatest delight is to be found in his inclusion of the actual comics.” —New York Journal of Books

“As the mother of several daughters, I’m always on the lookout for books with strong female characters. . . . These forgotten [heroines] hold valuable insights into what is possible, and desirable, for our future.” —San Francisco & Sacramento Book Reviews

“In an age when fans take to social media to save comic books starring female heroes it’s amazing to think back to a time when strong women packed the pages of comics. . . . Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics is an entertaining, insightful, fun salute to these courageous women from the past. You feel like a friend at the comics shop is sharing a whole new world to you. You’ll want to share this pop history collection, too.” —ComicsBlend

“This is an invaluable tool to comic historians . . . It’s also a fascinating, in-depth exploration of a small but important chapter in the history of female characters (and creators) in comics. It was a time when ‘girls’ were high-flying, bold daredevils, who raced headfirst into danger with nary a care for their own welfare, leading entire armies against the forces of destruction. During a period when female-led books are under increased pressure and scrutiny . . . it’s the perfect time to look back at some of the daring dames from the dawn of the artform.” —ScienceFiction.com

“Thorough and enjoyable . . . if you are interested in comic history or in the history of women in pop culture I recommend this book.” —DC Women Kicking Ass

“Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of how women have been portrayed in comics.” —Comics Worth Reading

“Not only do we get to learn more about some really incredible female characters, we get to experience the thrill of reading their comics! . . . [Divas, Dames & Daredevils] is so well done I can only hope that Madrid is at least entertaining the idea of doing similar books for Silver and Bronze Age comics.” —Sequential Tart

“What Madrid has accomplished is the rescuing of women who have otherwise been forgotten in the world of comics. . . . This book gives you something that no others have . . . the opportunity to read the actual stories in which these women appeared. For anyone who is interested in Golden Age comics, women in Golden Age comics, and women in comics, this is a great book to have in your library.” —DestroyTheCyborg!

“Academics are—let me correct that—some academics are becoming aware of the fact that popular culture defines reality for many people. . . . Madrid shows that we were well on our way to equality of the sexes when the haircut and horn-rim crowd of the clean-cut 1950s insisted a return to Stone Age ethics in the treatment of women was appropriate. . . . Madrid’s book presents a story from several of the animated heroines of the days before censorship tamed the feminine mystique. More than that, he clearly shows how women—even ordinary women—were once deemed incredible and awe-inspiring.” —Sects and Violence in the Ancient World

“Exciting and fraught with danger . . . Madrid presents the cream of a very ripe crop of empowered comic book heroines and introduces them quite eloquently, accentuating readers’ enjoyment of the stories themselves but also making readers aware of why the stories matter so much regardless of the era in which they are read.” —Library Journal

“Mike Madrid (The Supergirls) has sought out these extremely obscure comic book heroines, found representative stories, and annotated each of the almost 30 characters, as well as ferreted out (some) information about the women creators who slid back into anonymity when their characters did—when the male artists returned from WWII. A nice tribute to a forgotten era of comics.” —KC CARLSON, Westfield Comics blog

“Mike Madrid gives these forgotten superheroines their due. These ‘lost’ heroines are now found—to the delight of comic book lovers everywhere.” —STAN LEE

“In one beautifully designed collection, [Mike Madrid] reprints the blood-and-thunder stories of twenty-eight Golden Age comic book heroines. . . . Lovers of comics and strong women everywhere thank you, Mike Madrid!” —TRINA ROBBINS, author of Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896–2013

“Madrid’s meticulous and passionate research provides a window into a seemingly lost herstory of patriotism, bravery, and progressive ways of thinking about female agency and adventure. This collection, and the engaging context provided throughout, ensure that these divas, dames, and daredevils will not be forgotten.” —JENNIFER K. STULLER, author of Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology

From the Publisher

Certified Cool™ in PREVIEWS: The Comic Shop’s Catalog
BUST Magazine “Lit Pick” Recommendation

“A perfect balance of historical context, brief biography, and chances to see these forgotten protagonists in action. . . . Madrid’s love for the subject matter comes through loud and clear, and his engaging, conversational language is as readable as the truly dazzling comics. He has endeavored to unearth the forgotten, and what he found is ultimately unforgettable.” —BUST Magazine

“Serious and astute . . . Madrid’s research, choices and annotations hold the entire book together, elaborating on history and establishing the zeitgeist perfectly . . . Highly recommended for comics fans and historians alike, these ‘rarely anthologized’ stories are excellent for giving girls of any age positive comic book role models to look up to.” —PopMatters

“An invaluable reference for those researching the history of comics, Divas, Dames, and Daredevils is also a welcome addition to those focused on the history of portrayals of women in popular culture. . . . Mike Madrid has opened Pandora’s Box, but one hopes he is not done examining the contents. Divas, Dames, and Daredevils is a fantastic introduction to the portrayal of women in comics, and the greatest delight is to be found in his inclusion of the actual comics.” —New York Journal of Books

“In an age when fans take to social media to save comic books starring female heroes it’s amazing to think back to a time when strong women packed the pages of comics. . . . Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics is an entertaining, insightful, fun salute to these courageous women from the past. You feel like a friend at the comics shop is sharing a whole new world to you. You’ll want to share this pop history collection, too.” —ComicsBlend

“This is an invaluable tool to comic historians . . . It’s also a fascinating, in-depth exploration of a small but important chapter in the history of female characters (and creators) in comics. It was a time when ‘girls’ were high-flying, bold daredevils, who raced headfirst into danger with nary a care for their own welfare, leading entire armies against the forces of destruction. During a period when female-led books are under increased pressure and scrutiny . . . it’s the perfect time to look back at some of the daring dames from the dawn of the artform.” —ScienceFiction.com

“Thorough and enjoyable . . . if you are interested in comic history or in the history of women in pop culture I recommend this book.” —DC Women Kicking Ass

“Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of how women have been portrayed in comics.” —Comics Worth Reading

“Not only do we get to learn more about some really incredible female characters, we get to experience the thrill of reading their comics! . . . [Divas, Dames & Daredevils] is so well done I can only hope that Madrid is at least entertaining the idea of doing similar books for Silver and Bronze Age comics.” —Sequential Tart

“What Madrid has accomplished is the rescuing of women who have otherwise been forgotten in the world of comics. . . . This book gives you something that no others have . . . the opportunity to read the actual stories in which these women appeared. For anyone who is interested in Golden Age comics, women in Golden Age comics, and women in comics, this is a great book to have in your library.” —DestroyTheCyborg!

“Academics are—let me correct that—some academics are becoming aware of the fact that popular culture defines reality for many people. . . . Madrid shows that we were well on our way to equality of the sexes when the haircut and horn-rim crowd of the clean-cut 1950s insisted a return to Stone Age ethics in the treatment of women was appropriate. . . . Madrid’s book presents a story from several of the animated heroines of the days before censorship tamed the feminine mystique. More than that, he clearly shows how women—even ordinary women—were once deemed incredible and awe-inspiring.” —Sects and Violence in the Ancient World

“Exciting and fraught with danger . . . Madrid presents the cream of a very ripe crop of empowered comic book heroines and introduces them quite eloquently, accentuating readers’ enjoyment of the stories themselves but also making readers aware of why the stories matter so much regardless of the era in which they are read.” —Library Journal

“Mike Madrid (The Supergirls) has sought out these extremely obscure comic book heroines, found representative stories, and annotated each of the almost 30 characters, as well as ferreted out (some) information about the women creators who slid back into anonymity when their characters did—when the male artists returned from WWII. A nice tribute to a forgotten era of comics.” —KC CARLSON, Westfield Comics blog

“Mike Madrid gives these forgotten superheroines their due. These ‘lost’ heroines are now found—to the delight of comic book lovers everywhere.” —STAN LEE

“In one beautifully designed collection, [Mike Madrid] reprints the blood-and-thunder stories of twenty-eight Golden Age comic book heroines. . . . Lovers of comics and strong women everywhere thank you, Mike Madrid!” —TRINA ROBBINS, author of Pretty in Ink: Women Cartoonists 1896–2013

“Madrid’s meticulous and passionate research provides a window into a seemingly lost herstory of patriotism, bravery, and progressive ways of thinking about female agency and adventure. This collection, and the engaging context provided throughout, ensure that these divas, dames, and daredevils will not be forgotten.” —JENNIFER K. STULLER, author of Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology

Library Journal
Madrid (The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines) is a scholar of comic book lore, especially that pertaining to the roles of women throughout the medium’s 80-year history. Here Madrid relates his entry into comic fandom in the 1970s and the characters that drew him in. During the Seventies, comics from the Golden Age (pre–1950s) and Silver Age (1950–70) were collected in anthologies that Madrid picked up and pored over. In the Silver Age, superheroes were stripped of anything remotely exciting or provocative and relegated to flashy role models of the status quo. However, the Golden Age, as chronicled by Madrid, was exciting and fraught with danger. Even more interesting to him was that alongside the male comic book heroes were strong female characters that exhibited the hallmark traits promoted during the women’s liberation movement happening concurrently with Madrid’s reading of the books set 40 years earlier. This work collects some of his favorites from many genres including war comics and includes masked vigilantes, mythic warriors, and occult mystery women.

Verdict Madrid presents the cream of a very ripe crop of empowered comic book heroines and introduces them quite eloquently, accentuating readers’ enjoyment of the stories themselves but also making readers aware of why the stories matter so much regardless of the era in which they are read. A valuable reference book of comics history, recommended for graphic novels collections.—Alger C. Newberry III, Genesee Dist. Lib., Flint, MI
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935259237
  • Publisher: Exterminating Angel Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 451,835
  • Lexile: GN620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Madrid is the author of Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics (forthcoming from Exterminating Angel Press in October 2013) and The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, an NPR “Best Book To Share With Your Friends” and American Library Association Amelia Bloomer Project Notable Book. Madrid, a San Francisco native and lifelong fan of comic books and popular culture, also appears in the documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.

Foreword contributor Maria Elena Buszek, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Colorado Denver and author of Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture. Her writing has appeared in the Art Journal, Archives of American Art Journal, TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies, Bust magazine, and elsewhere.

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