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

By Mike Madrid, Foreword by Maria Elena Buszek, PhD

*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


“Provide[s] 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. . . . Wholly enjoyable as an impressive, detailed collection shining a light on heroines long ago neglected.” —Publishers Weekly

“Exciting and fraught with danger. . . Madrid presents the cream of a very ripe crop of empowered comic book heroines.” —Library Journal

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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 

Wonder Woman, Mary Marvel, and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle ruled the pages of comic books in the 1940s. But many 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 commen- tary about heroines at the dawn of the comic book industry and reveals a uni- verse 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. Includes a foreword by Maria Elena Buszek, PhD.

Mike Madrid is the author of 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.

A fully illustrated and thrilling look back at the lost supergirls of Golden Age comics.

240 pp
B&W illustrations throughout
Trade Paper US $16.95 | CAN $18.50
ISBN: 978-1-935259-23-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-935259-24-4

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