July 2014 Book Club Selection:
Author/Editor: Mike Madrid
Purchased: Chicago Comics, Chicago, IL
First of all, let’s get it out of the way: presenting black and white reproductions of comics that were originally printed in color is always a let-down for the reader. This is (one of the reasons) why I infinitely prefer the DC Archive Editions over Marvel’s. But, printing in color is exponentially more expensive, and, especially for older comics, can involve additional costly, time-consuming restoration processes.
So, we’ll forgive Divas, Dames and Daredevils the black and white. The text is readable and the images are relatively clear, so other than niggling at this reader’s specific aesthetic preference, the collection has committed no great sin. The images included in this post are courtesy of ComicVine.Com, and therefore are in glorious, original color.
The biggest selling point for Divas, Dames, and Daredevils lies, in fact, not in its images (for best quality of art and diversity of selection re: females in comics, Pretty In Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 is a better choice) but rather in its contextual sections that move smoothly through a dense amount of history and philosophy.
With sections like “Women at War” and “20th Century Goddesses” punctuating the book, readers get a healthy dose of character biographies for the fabulous ladies included in the volume — all of whom each only have room for one appearance.
It is in these mini-bios that you can find obscure trivia with which to gently rib those comic lovers who swear by male superheroes alone (like the fact that Spider Queen and The Spider Widow not only predated Spider-Man’s release by more than twenty years, but have sneakily similar powers to the male web slinger).
So grab Divas, Dames and Daredevils to bone up on your female-centric Golden Age history and loan it liberally to all friends who would enjoy the badass-ery of catchphrases like these: