Is This the Year of the Female Superhero?


Just this week, I stumbled across a TV rerun of the original Wonder Woman—demure professional by day, corset-clad savior of the universe between work assignments. Not long before that, I caught up with a Big Bang Theory episode in which the women cast members first experience the joys of comic books and super heroes – previously the domain of the men in their lives.

And now it looks like the entertainment world has discovered that young girls and superheroes—especially female superheroes—are the newest super force.

This fall marks the TV debut of Supergirl, based on the DC Comics costumed superhero who is the biological cousin to Superman and one of the last surviving Kryptonians.  The character is taken in by the Danvers family as a young teen after being sent away from Krypton. A disaster encountered at age 24 motivates her to embrace her powers after previously hiding them, and set off on her journey of heroism!

Also with a fall launch in mind, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Mattel have partnered to introduce DC Super Hero Girls, the first teen versions of DC Comics’ most famous female icons such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and more. Targeted to girls 6-12, DC Super Hero Girls will play out across multiple entertainment content platforms and product categories to create an immersive world—including, in 2016, toys.

Much of this focus is in response to the demands of a growing female audience—47% of comic books fans are women, according to Comics Beat.

Clearly, there is a new trend, and the thinking behind it is two-fold:

First, that these female costumed characters who can hold their own with the best of their male counterparts will serve as strong and relatable role models for young girls, creating confidence in their ability to accomplish anything they choose—just like a superhero.

And second – dare we say it – that expanding the universe of superheroes to appeal to girls as well as boys can just about double the market for these characters.

In any case, here’s what’s most important: There will be a new Wonder Woman movie in 2017 (the first superhero movie, out of almost 50, to be directed by a woman.) Hand us those capes, please. We – and our daughters — are ready.