Although it’s difficult to claim a company that’s existed for over eighty years should be touted for recognizing and including half the population, DC certainly got the ball rolling when it came to representing women. After introducing the First Lady of Comics, Lois Lane, in ACTION COMICS #1 back in 1938; a mere three years later the first and possibly most iconic superheroine, Wonder Woman, made her debut.

Since then DC’s roster of female heroes has grown exponentially. Granted, it’d be fair to say they haven’t all been portrayed perfectly over the years. Still, there’s a treasure trove of powerful icons within DC’s pages, and we here at the DC section of Comicsverse have gathered together some of our favorites in honor of Women’s History Month. From crazed clowns to space cops, there’s a hero on this list for everyone!

Mera

By Aaron Young

Women
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Mera is one of DC’s most prolific, yet still underrated characters. Having first appeared in AQUAMAN #11 in 1963, Mera has been a consistent force in DC’s roster for over fifty years. Initially deemed “Aquawoman” to Arthur Curry’s Aquaman, Mera has taken up a much more important and complex role in the DC universe as of late.

Firstly, Mera isn’t dependent on her significant other Aquaman. In fact, she’s very much his equal and, in some ways, his superior. Having trained in her native kingdom of Xebel from a young age, her combat skills are next to none. Mera also possesses the awesome ability of Aquakinesis (ability to manipulate water), which Aquaman typically lacks.

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Mera is an example of a character who stays true to her convictions while also compromising for the people she loves. Mera was never very high on humanity but she could see Arthur’s love of the dry-air roaming people and, because of this, she grew to tolerate then enjoy the non-Atlantean company.

She even has friends on land, like the members of the Justice League. Mera also isn’t afraid to differ from her husband and to take action where he falters. She’s decisive and rigid when necessary but Mera also possesses a soft and caring side. She’s unyieldingly strong whilst also relatably emotional and vulnerable. This is why Mera is the Queen of Atlantis we both need and deserve.

Dinah Lance (AKA Black Canary)

By Sean Urke

Women
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

For my contribution to the list of DC women who rock, in honor Women’s History Month, I wanted to showcase Black Canary. Her creation goes back to the 1940s, first appearing in THE FLASH. With her iconic fishnet stockings and bold attitude, she quickly rose to prominence.

She’s commonly seen alongside Green Arrow, but don’t make the mistake of thinking she doesn’t deserve her own recognition. Dinah’s a strong-willed character and has a determination that outmatches most everyone in the DCU. She’s shown to be respected amongst her colleges has been a member of the Justice Society, Justice League, and the Birds of Prey.

A Team Divided in BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #20

During her tenure in the JLA, she was nominated to chairwoman, leading others like Superman and Wonder Woman into battle.  Her power is a distinct “Canary Cry,” which emits glass shattering sound waves; however, her most dangerous ability is her fighting capabilities.

Black Canary is one of the greatest hand-to-hand combatants the DC Universe has to offer, being skilled enough to outmatch the likes of Batman and Lady Shiva. Her popularity has translated to several cartoons and live action adaptations. She’s a character that literally and metaphorically kicks a ton of ass.

Rachel Roth (AKA Raven)

By Eric Nierstedt

Women
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In 1980, Marv Wolfman and George Perez relaunched the TEEN TITANS. The series abolished the kid-friendly aspect of the original 60’s comic and broadened the team by adding new, diverse characters. One of the most endearing members was the mystic half-demon, Raven.

Raven stands as one of DC’s most unique characters. The daughter of the demon overlord Trigon, Raven struggles against her dark heritage while also using the powers it affords her. I found Raven’s conflict fascinating since I’m drawn to dark characters trying to do good.

I also found Raven’s struggle compelling as a metaphor for children trying to escape the legacy of their parents. It makes her more human and relatable despite her demonic nature. Fans can see themselves in Raven’s desire to be her own person despite her need to control herself.

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It’s no wonder Raven has had appearances in multiple TEEN TITANS iterations. She’s a demon that’s all too human.

Koriand’r (AKA Starfire)

By AJ Zender

Women
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The New 52 was an interesting time for DC. On the one hand, several of its key heroes gained new life from the universe-wide reboot. On the other, some characters were completely lost in translation. The most grievous of these transgressions came in the reimagining of beloved Teen Titan Starfire.

A staple of the original comics, Koriand’r became one the team’s most iconic members after the sudden popularity of the TEEN TITANS animated series. It came as shock to fans when, after 2011, Starfire turned into an overly sexualized bikini model with little to no personality.

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Many of the new fans to the medium never got to experience the incredible facets of Starfire’s character until DC’s Rebirth hit. Suddenly, readers got to see the character that has inspired so much love. You see, despite some poor costuming choices, Starfire’s early appearances were a combination of pure strength and unabashed kindness. She grew up to become a fierce defender of all she cared for, and she fought solely for the sake of her friends and her new home. This innocent guardian proved to young readers the power of the female spirit.

Fast forward to the present day, and Starfire has come incredibly far. After the fall of the New 52, this powerful woman has become the leader of her former team. Under her leadership, the Teen Titans are a well-oiled fighting machine, but more importantly, they haven’t forgotten their humanity.

While Damian Wayne’s stint as a leader made the team a fighting unit, Starfire has managed to make the team a family. Through her kindness and a bit of stubbornness, Starfire has risen through the ranks to become one of DC’s most memorable characters of all time.

Harleen Quinzel (AKA Harley Quinn)

By Nicole Herviou

Women
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Harley Quinn is one of the most badass women in the DC Universe, and in comics in general. First off, she’s a highly intelligent figure in DC Comics (she’s a doctor after all.) Second, she always looks out for her fellow woman. Whether it be Ivy and Selina in Gotham City Sirens or her Gang of Harleys, she’s always willing to stick up for her sisters and (literally) go to bat for them. Third, she’s a queer, sex-positive woman, and that representation is pretty damn important.

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Most importantly to me personally, she’s a survivor of abuse. Many of the things Harley does are colored by her history of mistreatment by the Joker (although it’s a big part of her, it still doesn’t define her. There’s a difference). That history makes her even stronger than she already was, and it gives her an important perspective.

Harley got her power back when that “relationship” ended, and she hasn’t given it up again since. She’s upbeat and positive because she knows she can live through hell — she’s already done that — and come out the other side, so no hurdle is too big for her. Her journey helped me through my own experience with abuse, and I know I’m not the only one.

Jessica Cruz (AKA Green Lantern)

By Ward Williams

Women
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

While humanity’s Green Lanterns are iconic for having the willpower to overcome fear, that’s not the same thing as being fearless. After his father’s death, Hal Jordan distances himself from others in fear of losing them too. Guy Gardner’s abusive dad instilled him with the fear of never wanting to appear weak.

As both a veteran and space cop, John Stewart struggles with the fear of alienation by other people. Kyle Rayner feels fear and doubts over whether or not he can live up the expectations placed upon him. Simon Baz deals with the external fears of others (Islamophobia) and his own internal ones (that he isn’t strong enough to keep his loved ones safe).

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If you’re noticing a pattern aside from the thematic one, it’s that the human side of the Corps is essentially a boy’s club. There’s really only been one other female Green Lantern, Jennie Hayden (aka Jade). However, her metahuman powers and association with the Justice Society means she’s largely unaffiliated with the other Lanterns. In this sense, Jessica Cruz is a fantastic addition to Green Lantern’s numbers.

Along with being the first Green Lantern who’s also a WOC, she’s someone who struggles with severe anxiety. While every Lantern has fears to overcome, Jessica has to struggle through every single day while terrified out of her mind. It’s not only the logical place to take the theme of this heroic identity, it’s incredibly inspiring to boot.

It’s often hard for new characters to stand out in this genre. The fact that Jessica adds a unique twist to the idea of a Green Lantern, while also representing an often-underrepresented group, makes her one of the most important heroines in DC’s stable.

Diana Prince (AKA Wonder Woman)

By Maite Molina

Women
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Diana Prince, better known as Wonder Woman, is by far one of the most powerful and recognizable superheroes across the world. Since her comic book debut in 1941, she has left a legacy of inspiration for generations of women. Creator Charles Moulton drew upon many feminist figures to establish the iconic Amazonian princess.

Among them was Margaret Sanger, a 20th-century birth control activist. Thus, Wonder Woman not only exhibits strength through her superhuman abilities and Lasso of Truth. Her own creation was established through the lives of women who served as heroes in their own era.

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Despite her incredible powers and keenness for battle, Diana is often noted for her compassion. Sure, she has taken on notorious villains such as Ares and Darkseid, but her empathetic nature is what truly defines her as a hero.

It has been 78 years since Wonder Woman’s debut, and her ability to inspire her readers has yet to falter.

Happy Women’s History Month!

As we all remember the heroic women in our lives, both on the page and in real life, we here at ComicsVerse hope that this Women’s History Month has been particularly inspiring and memorable.

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