HEIDI MACDONALD responds
Heidi MacDonald has been a mover and shaker in Friends of Lulu, and wrote some terrific, painfully-insightful opinion pieces for Fantagraphics, most notably in "The Comics Journal." She has also, enviably, been the editor of "Disney Adventures" magazine, one of the best sources for kid's comics ever--as well as the Cartoon Network tie-ins at DC. She's been working to make comics better and more accessible for a long time. That's pretty cool. Thanks, Heidi! (GS)
Your list is impressive, but I have to say, in all honesty, if you composed a list of MALE superheroes who had been killed, maimed or otherwise dispossessed, it would be just as long. (Superman's death, Batman's broken back, the many X-men tragedies, etc.)
However, you've circled the nail without quite hitting it. Female heroes ARE consistently DEVALUED and their heroism UNDERMINED. Look at Wonder Woman, f'rinstance. As much as I love Brian Bolland, every cover of the book has her in bondage, about to be injured, or in some jeopardy of one kind or another. Triumphant cover images are few and far between. It's very rare to find a female superhero in comics who is consistently presented as a heroic figure, unselfconsciously. (My new role models are the POWERPUFF GIRLS!) Without going into the reasons for this, I do think this is part of the reason that female superheroes often don't succeed, and comics don't have more women readers.