DC Comics Covergirls a Thing of Beauty, Flaws and All

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DC Comics Covergirls by Louise Simonson, cover by Adam Hughes

Being a comic book trivia geek, I love books featuring comic book trivia. Being blessed/cursed with a Y-chromosome and a heteronormative perspective, I also happen to love comic books that feature female artwork on the cover. Good girl, bad girl, it doesn't matter.

So how could I pass up the opportunity to review Louise Simonson's DC COMICS COVERGIRLS, a collection of some of the best of the best featuring DC Comics (or is it DC Entertainment these days?) heroines, villainesses, and supporting characters? The answer, of course, is that I couldn't, especially when it's as big as a coffee table and sporting a gorgeous Adam Hughes' cover.

Now, I'm being a little over-the-top on purpose with my introduction, so I should probably clarify to the offended that this is certainly not a book brimming with sexy poses and prurience -- although there is some of that in there, and it's rightly, if mildly, pointed out by the author. What the book truly is, however, is a standing tribute to the roles of women as characters in comic books (written by a woman in comics who is sometimes a bit of a character herself -- we love you Weezy). That the industry has been dominated by males in the art department for the majority of that time, building the foundation for the good girl / bad girl style can't be helped; and even so some of those trends have continued even with the inclusion of female artists like Amanda Conner.

Large chunks of the book are devoted, unsurprisingly, to the brighter stars of the DC constellation -- Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl are seen through different eras and various incarnations. And while the factoids for some issues were, at times, factually miffed (a quote from Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 is attributed to the Wonder Woman of Earth-Prime to the Wonder Woman of Earth-3 -- neither Earth ever having had a Wonder Woman), or not quite on target (the cover for Superman/Batman #24 is described as showing Superwoman as an alternate Supergirl, Batwoman an alternate Batgirl, and Superlad an alternate Superboy, rather than that it was a world where all the heroes were of distaff genders, making Superlad the alternate Supergirl), the majority of the descriptions were on target and informative -- to the point that it may send you out to seek some of the stories talked about herein, if you've not already seen them.

While we get a pretty decent condensed history of characters like Wonder Woman, Lois Lane and other notables, the book doesn't leave out some of the characters who didn't headline their own books. There are interesting entries on characters like Zatanna, Black Orchid, some Legion members -- even Vertigo figures like Tulip (PREACHER) and Abigail Arcane (SWAMP THING).

Kicked off with an informative piece by Adam Hughes (using text to paint a self-portrait this time), DC COMICS COVERGIRLS is a thing of beauty on several levels.

4.0 / 5.0