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Femmes Formidables looks at powerful, fictional women in history

Ardala Valmar and Kane

Gene Phillips’ Femmes Formidables blog began in 2010 (under another name) as a method of documenting the counter-argument to an assertion that in certain areas of pop culture, “women can never have their own agency.” To disprove that notion, Phillips started cataloging powerful, female characters from fiction. After doing that for a while, he switched things up by highlighting 50 comic book fights in which women got the better of men and then let the blog alone for all of last year.

Last month, though, Phillips relaunched the blog with a focus on the historical “study of the image of the powerful female in popular (and maybe other) cultures.” After a brief history covering 1886-1928, Phillips begins his historical overview in 1929 with Wilma Deering’s first appearance in comics. As of this writing, he’s up to 1941 and the first appearance of Wonder Woman.

Whatever Phillips’ motivation for starting the blog, it’s an excellent starting point for anyone looking to dig deeper into the study of powerful women in fiction.

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Thanks very much for the publicity, Michael. I’m making slow but definite progress. I plan to represent each year with a new femme formidable (most current, BLACK CANARY) and then, once I get up to 2011, I’ll go back and start over with new entries for each year possible.

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