“Fangirls and fanboys around the world are descending on San Diego this week for the annual Comic-Con event to celebrate their favorite pop culture icons.
Female fans this year continue to kill geek stereotypes of male-dominted fandom, as nearly half of the convention floor is expected to be monopolized by women, according to estimates from a recent Eventbrite study. This gender parity was a long time coming, and much like social progress in real life, superhero diversity didn’t happen in a single bound.
Until the modern superhero movie boom, American comics existed almost entirely in newsprint. In many ways, our larger-than-life comic-book superheroes have been reflections of who we are and aspire to be: tormented souls, outcasts trying to save the world that doesn’t accept them. But regardless of their internal struggles, externally they’ve never really been an accurate representation of America.
The last few years, the major publishing houses, DC and Marvel, have been praised for adding some new diversity to the superhero world. Readers have been introduced to a black Captain America, a black Latino Spider-Man, and aMuslim woman with her own series. But it’s still odd that in 2015 a major female superhero makes headlines.
We looked back through the comic book archives to see when each social milestone was printed in pulp. A few caveats: Many of the first minority heroeswere actually racist stereotypes—we didn’t include those. We also only focused on Marvel and DC (even though DC only makes it on the timeline once), because several of the smaller publications had more liberty to take risks…”