Batman. Superman. Spiderman. There’s no denying that when we think of superheroes, our minds conjure up a vision of a man in a cape, swooping in to save his city. But what about the female heroes? From Batgirl to Wonder Woman, we know they’re out there – and it’s way past time for superheroines to get their fair share of the glory. Luckily, the rest of the world seems to agree. From television to books, it seems like superheroines have been popping up everywhere recently.
Take Arrow, for example. The CW show about the classic DC Comics hero, Green Arrow, started as a crusade by one masked man. But since it first aired in 2012, the show has grown to include an entire universe of connected shows and characters. The newest spinoff, Legends of Tomorrow, names Caity Lotz as one of its top stars. The show won’t air until next year, but fans are speculating that Lotz will be playing a shoot-off of her Arrow character as the White Canary.
And Lotz isn’t the only superheroine to get top billing—Ciara Renee is also joining Legends of Tomorrow as Hawkgirl. Plus, CBS recently picked up Supergirl, starring Melissa Benoist. Expect superheroines to be, quite literally, flying onto your television sets next year.
Even on Arrow itself, the women are starting to get their due in a way they haven’t before. After a season of training and self-discovery, Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) is now fighting with the best of them as the Black Canary. Though it’s too soon to tell, Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland) seems poised to take up the mantel of Green Arrow’s sidekick now that Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) has left the show. In the latest episode, Tatsu Yamashiro (Rila Fukushima) expertly wielded her sword as popular superheroine Katana. And even assassin Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law) and computer genius Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) have been kicking some serious ass in their own ways. For the first time ever, the women on Arrow are outnumbering—and out-fighting—the men.
TV isn’t the only place where DC Comics are contributing to the buzz around superheroines. In 2016, they’re launching a line of toys, books, and apparel specifically aimed at young girls, called DC Super Hero Girls. According to the official announcement, the initiative is designed to “build character and confidence, and empower girls to find their true potential.”
Super Hero Girls will imagine the teen lives of DC Comic’s most iconic female characters, including Wonder Woman, Superwoman, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Katana. Mattel is slated to design toys around the heroes, with Random House publishing a series of novels and The Lego Group creating building sets to engage young girls in creative play.
With its new project, DC is recognizing that by targeting and empowering girls, they have the potential to create fans for life. This might also be the thinking behind a new YA novel from Switch Press called Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond (May 2015, Switch Press).
The book tells the story of Army brat Lois, who decides to take on the bullies at her school with the help of a mysterious boy who goes by his online handle, SmallvilleGuy (I’ll give you one guess as to who that is!). And while Lois may not technically be a superheroine, this new novel gives her a chance to step into the limelight as the hero —rather than simply the love interest for a certain man of steel.
With all these female heroes running around, it’s easy to see that superheroines are on the rise. So for now we might still imagine a masked man when we think of superheroes. But it’s only a matter of time before the women fight their way to the head of the line.