Thursday, October 21, 2010


Before this list is done I do expect to give ample representation to the world of manga, which in the past 40 years *may* have eclipsed American comics in terms of the "supergirls on top" theme I've been examining here. (The U.S. comics-scene is still far ahead of Eurocomics, though.) While early representation of female heroes in American comics may be have been in part a marketing ploy, the rise of heroines was not incongruent with the meritocratic aspects of American culture.

In contrast, there would seem to be no meritocratic currents in Japanese culture, and so the explosion of pop-cultural heroines from the 70s (Cutey Honey) through the present seems less a part of traditional Japanese culture and may be more of an adaptation to the commercial world of the 20th century.

In any case, the illustration here-- actually from the anime series for DRAGONBALL rather than the originating 1980s manga-- depicts a scene from a whamma-slamma battle between male character Vegeta (established as one of the serial's resident badasses since DRAGONBALL entered its "adult phase") and "Eighteen," a female android who outdoes Vegeta in the super-kung-fu department and kicks his ass to holy hell. On the whole, DRAGONBALL never utilized super-females nearly as much as super-males, but of the few female contenders, Android Eighteen is possibly the most formidable.

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