In a 2008 publisher’s survey found that 90 percent of comic book fans and readers were male. Though female readership may be growing, it is clearly growing slowly. Even clearer is the fact that the writers and illustrators of these comics are still catering to the much bigger segment of their reader base. Nowhere is this more evident than in the depiction of the female superhero. As the years have gone by, their lips, buttocks and breasts have gotten larger and shapelier, while their costumes have gotten tighter and more revealing.
Despite progress that has arguably been made since the iconic Wonder Woman made her debut in 1941, her female crime fighting successors remain sexualized, commodified and exploited. This brings me back to readership briefly; is the predominantly male audience to blame for this portrayal of the female superhero, or are female readers still scarce because they find little to identify with or latch onto within the genre? Why, for the most part, have female superheroes remained sexualized and secondary? It is my intent to explore this problem within the genre by examining both the comics currently being published both with female leads and female secondary characters, as well as some of the aspects of the subculture of the comic world itself. These female characters are meant to titillate and sell products, they are not meant to give female readers a character that they can identify with or look up to. I will argue that this problem still exists, and has grown exponentially, because above all else the comic world is a world of commodity proliferation, and, to be blunt, sex sells.