Forgoten superheroines
who should be remembered

In 1938, the publication of Superman set off an explosion of costumed heroes in comics. Many of them were heroines, including Wonder Woman, Mary Marvel, and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. But like their male counterparts, lots of heroine titles from the 1940s and 50s lost traction with readers, causing their publishers to go out of business.

The Block Genome’s Forgotten Superheroines Collection brings back 24 who stand out for their bizarre powers and campy outfits. And some—daring female reporters, detectives and lawyers—even took on evildoers without super powers, armed only with guile and wit. Though overlooked by history, their influence on popular culture remains in today’s superheroes. There is definitely something appealing about rescuing a superheroine from obscurity. Señorita Rio, anyone?  Credits

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Title

Edition

Woman in Red

88

Description

When the police commissioner is baffled by a crime, he sends in Detective Peggy Allen, the Woman in Red. Clad in a sweeping scarlet cloak and mask, she was a scourge of the underworld. She made her debut in 1940, and is believed to be the first female costumed crime fighter of comics.

Title

Edition

Fantomah

88

Description

With seemingly godlike abilities, the mysterious Fantomah was the self-appointed protector of the African jungle. Debuting in 1940, she was the first woman in comics with superhuman powers. Fantomah transformed from a blonde beauty into a terrifying skull-faced fury to safeguard her kingdom.

Title

Edition

Mysta of the Moon

88

Description

Born in a future where libraries and universities had been destroyed by Mars, God of War, Mysta lives on the moon and is keeper of all lost knowledge, which was downloaded into her mind by Dr. Kort. Introduced in 1945, she kept science and culture alive, and battled evil to protect Earth.

Title

Edition

Miss Fury

88

Description

When wealthy socialite Marla Drake wore an African panther skin to a costume party, she never intended to become Miss Fury. Created by female cartoonist Tarpé Mills in 1941, Miss Fury was often a reluctant crime fighter who preferred her role as the single mother of an adopted son.

Title

Edition

Lady Luck

88

Description

Lady Luck may have worn a green dress, hat and veil, but she was one of the toughest enemies of evil-doers in comic books. Beginning in 1940, debutante Brenda Banks used jiu jitsu skills and deadeye marksmanship in a one-woman crusade against crime and injustice as Lady Luck.

Title

Edition

Madam Fatal

88

Description

In 1940, retired actor and “famous female impersonator” Richard Stanton searched for his kidnapped daughter disguised as an old woman. He failed, but continued to fight crime as Madam Fatal. Wearing a red suit, sensible shoes and wielding a cane, she was the first crossdressing crime fighter in comics.

Title

Edition

Spider Widow

88

Description

Unlike other crime fighting beauties in comics, the wealthy and lovely Dianne Grayton donned a hideous witch mask to foil the plots of criminals and enemy agents as Spider Widow. Known as the “Grandmother of Terror,” she commanded an army of deadly black widow spiders to thwart evildoers.

Title

Edition

South Sea Girl

88

Description

Alani was the ruler of the Vanishing Isles, a chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. She defended her mysterious kingdom from threats from the outside world, including atomic bomb tests. South Sea Girl was one of the first heroic women of color to appear in comic books.

Title

Edition

Jill Trent

88

Description

The only thing that brilliant Jill Trent liked more than working in her laboratory was solving crimes. Armed with inventions like x-ray glasses and indestructible cloth, Jill and her lab assistant (and possibly girlfriend) Daisy used science to unravel mysteries that baffled the men of the police force.

Title

Edition

Wildfire

88

Description

Orphaned as a child by a forest fire, Carol Vance was given mastery over flames by the God of Fire. As a young woman she used these gifts to become Wildfire, fiery nemesis of evildoers. She was one of the most powerful female heroes in early comic books and lives in the memory of fans.

Title

Edition

Starlight

88

Description

Starlight could hunt and shoot an arrow as well as any Huron man, maybe better. After she saved her people from deadly invaders, the chief of the Hurons granted her wish to become a warrior like the men. Trailblazing Starlight was the first Native American female hero of comic books.

Title

Edition

Señorita Rio

88

Description

After her fiancée was killed in the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Hollywood star Rita Farrar faked her own death and reinvented herself as the ravishing spy Señorita Rio. An expert fighter, Señorita Rio dedicated her new life to battling deadly Axis agents operating throughout South America.

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