The First Female Superhero, and 3 Other Major Comic Milestones You Probably Didn’t Know

Comic books have a long history of progressiveness. Though there have been many hiccups over the years, writers have always tried to be on the forefront of inclusiveness and representation. But how well do you truly know the history of diversity in comics?

The First Female Superhero

Easy! That’s Wonder Woman! Who else?

Though the Amazon warrior is often credited as the first female superhero, the honor actually goes to…


Fantomah debuted in February of 1940, about two years before Wonder Woman. She possessed abilities like flight, super strength, shapeshifting, and transfiguration of objects and people. She appeared in comics from 1940 through 1944.

The First Costumed Female Superhero

Okay, okay, THIS one has to be Wonder Woman… Right?

Actually, not this time, either. In August of 1940, Timely Comics (Marvel’s original name) introduced the Black Widow.


This isn’t Natalia Romanova, though. The original Black Widow was a woman named Claire Voyant, and has a whole host of powers, including clairvoyance, mediumship, flight, super strength, and immunity to death. Her most recent appearance was in the last issue of a limited series called The Twelve, back in 2008.

The First Black Superhero

Once again, this seems like an easy one. Most people recognize Black Panther, who made his debut in 1966, as the first superhero of African descent. But 19 years prior, in 1947, an all-African American creative team was already pushing the boundaries.


Lion Man debuted in the one and only issue of All-Negro Comics. He was an American born, college educated genius, who also possessed superhuman senses and peak human physical abilities. Lion Man was created by Orrin C. Evans, known for his pioneering work as the first African-American journalist in a mainstream paper, and George J. Evans, Jr.

The First Female Muslim Superhero

Kamala Khan has been getting a lot of attention for being the first female Muslim character to headline her own series. But she’s not the first female Muslim in mainstream comics.

In December 2002, while prejudice against Muslims remained at an all-time high, Marvel introduced a brand new mutant: Sooraya Qadir, also known as Dust.


Prior to the introduction of Kamala Khan, Dust was the most well-known and positively portrayed Muslim in comics, and drew a strong line between the peaceful majority of Muslims and violent factions like the Taliban. Though other characters, like Monet St. Croix, have been revealed as Muslim, Dust was the first to proclaim it openly.

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Avid comics and video game enthusiast and aspiring comics writer.