Fact: not every little girl wants to grow up to be a princess. Some girls want to grow up and create your favorite superheroes.

The comic book industry has gone from being a fringe, rarely talked about hobby, to the beating heart of pop culture. And since the beginning, the overwhelming vast majority of comic book enthusiasts have been men.  That’s not to say that women haven’t been part of the comic book industry from the beginning.

Brinkley Girl superheroesBrinkley Girl
One of the pioneers of women in comics was Nell Brinkley who created the iconic Brinkley Girl.  At the age of 16 she was already illustrating covers for children’s books.  When she was 21, William Randolph Hearst recognized her abilities and hired her. She worked as a large scale illustrator with the Journal-American and later the Ziegfeld Follies used her Brinkley Girls as part of their image.

Ramona Frandon Cover SuperfriendsRamona Frandon Super Friends Cover
Another pioneer whose career stretches from the Golden Age to the Bronze Age is Ramona Fradon. She began her career with DC Comics in 1950.  Her first regular assignment was Adventure Comics illustrating Aquaman.  She helped co-create Metamorpho whose popularity in The Brave and The Bold spun off its own series.  She also worked on Superman, Batman, Plastic Man, Super Friends and the Fantastic Four.

Saga Issue #1 coverNorth 40 Issue #6 cover
In the Modern Age women have begun to find a more prominent place in comics.  Fiona Staples is a perfect example.  She is considered one of the best artists working in the comic book industry today. And with one look at her work, it’s easy to see why.  She has won numerous awards for her work including the Eisner Award for Best New Series Saga. She was also nominated for the Joe Shuster Award for Cover Artist for Life with Archie #24B.

Angela: Asgard's Assassin Issue #1 coverDC Bombshells Issue #1 cover
One of Staples contemporaries in the industry is Marguerite Bennett.  She has written for Marvel and DC Comics among others.  While at Marvel she worked on Angela: Asgard’s Assassin. She is currently working on DC Bombshells, a series based on an alternate history timeline where the women of the DC universe help fight in the Second World War. While in college she has attended a course in comic book writing by Scott Snyder.  He was impressed with her work and later the two co-wrote the Batman Annual #2.

The comic book industry is a big force in entertainment right now.  With all it’s influence and popularity comes growth. And with that growth more room for women to take a more prominent role in its future.

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