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A Chronological Look at 13 Classic Comic Heroines

Shannon Donnelly over at the The Daily Beast recently put together a list of the greatest female action heroes of the small screen. As these women all owe something to comic book heroines who’ve been fighting both physical and political battles on the page since Fletcher Hanks’ Fantomah was born back in 1940, we’ve decided to round up 12 essential characters who’ve contributed the most to the cause.

A brief disclaimer: Please consider that when many of these comics were created, they were exclusively aimed at men. Boys. Teenage boys. So yeah, grain of salt. And if we missed your favorite heroine, add to our list in the comments.

Disclaimer out of the way, our first heroine is quite the awesome figure. Created by William Moulton Marston in 1941 as a response to the dearth of strong female characters, Wonder Woman has it all. Her mythology goes back to the Greeks — she’s an Amazon. Her powers start simply (flight, speed, strength, etc.) but she can also commune with animals and use her lasso to force people to tell the truth and her bracelets are indestructible because they’re made from Athena’s shield. You get it. She rules. As feminist icons go, WW is on par with Rosie the Riveter.