Strong fully clad female superhero?
August 18, 2011 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Does a strong kick-butt non-scantily clad female superhero exist?

I like superheroes. I like superheroes that kick ass. That lay on the violent side of things. My favourite used to be Midnighter. I have a crush on homicidal Batman.

I'd like to find a female equivalent.

If that's not possible I'd just like to find a female superhero that wears a somewhat normal outfit and doesn't rely on magic or goddesses for powers.

Treat me like a babe in the woods as I've only really read a few Wonder Woman comics, a few story lines of Batgirl, the latest lesbian Batwoman and nothing really on the Marvel side of things. If there is some amazing independent I'm missing out on, please let me know.
posted by kanata to Media & Arts (36 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
If you know the Midnighter, I'd certainly hope you're familiar with Jenny Sparks - female, dresses like a normal human, prone to frying her enemies in lightning. Though, admittedly, I assume that's exactly what you were trying to avoid with "doesn't rely on magic."
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:25 PM on August 18, 2011

The female lead in Planetary fits your bill. And of course Buffy's in the comics now.
posted by gerryblog at 8:26 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Does it need to be a comic book character? If not, Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill.
posted by phunniemee at 8:27 PM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]

Samus Aran
posted by Benjy at 8:44 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Frank Miller's Martha Washington
posted by cazoo at 8:47 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Grandma Ben from Bone? OK, maybe not.

Miho from Sin City?

David Mack's Kabuki would fit the bill.

If you venture into video games, Commander Shephard from Mass Effect...
posted by zompist at 8:47 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

OH MY GOD I came here to say Hothead Paisan too, though if you're picky you won't think it's the right type of comic. sometimes I'll say that my cat is "playing the chello" and everyone will be, like, what?
posted by pullayup at 8:48 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Bride.
posted by Jairus at 8:48 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Alias (the comic, not the TV show) is right up your alley.
posted by Oktober at 8:49 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Does Scantily Clad include skin tight bodysuits? I'd kind of assume yes, except that kind of costume transcends the sex of the character. For example Rogue traditionally is always fully clothed (since her super power sucks other hero's powers via touch. Though frequently in the body suit.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:55 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding Alias.
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:56 PM on August 18, 2011

It's only a 12 issue run, but the ladies of Nextwave predominantly fit the bill.
posted by FakePalindrome at 9:10 PM on August 18, 2011

Zero girl! Created by the same amazing comic artist as Julie Winters, teenage Amy battles evil squares with the help of her magical circles and her fluid-leaking feet! And she looks and acts like a normal (if roughly punky) teenage girl, awkwardness, crush on her much older teacher, and all (I'd find the relationship a bit exploitative, if it weren't inspired by Sam Kieth's own May-December romance . . . where he was the May). She's awesome, really, really awesome, and I had my hair dyed like hers through freshman year of college because I loved her so.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:50 PM on August 18, 2011

Emma Peel is now in comic form. God - Diana Rigg as Emma Peel was a complete teen aged obsession of mine. No super powers except crazy karate skills, brain like einstein, and a wit sharper than a razor.
posted by helmutdog at 9:52 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

TVTropes: "The Most Common Super Power"

Basically, even if a female super hero isn't scantily clad, her costume will be skin tight.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:02 PM on August 18, 2011

Ah, I forgot about Hothead Paisan. I used to have the complete set kicking around somewhere. She fits the bill but I'm hoping to find something new that I haven't read.

Hmm..Emma Peel. That's intriguing. Diana Rigg as her was one of my first crushes that left my heart all a twitter and me all confused to my sexuality as a pre-teen. I'll look into those.
posted by kanata at 10:04 PM on August 18, 2011

The Middleman (I watched the TV show, but it seems identical to the comic) has an awesome heroine, generally clad in a rather tacky suit.

All the other comics I can think of have either boringly clothed or superheroines, but not both. (Though if you like the not graphic, something like City of Bones or Soulless might be up your alley -- the descriptions of the heroines is in between ordinary and, uh, strong rather than pretty features.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:25 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Rogue. Kitty Page also is not scantily clad. There's also Supergirl and She-Hulk. X-Men's Jean Grey is not scantily clad. Aurora from Alpha Flight wears a bodysuit.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:46 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Buffy Summers.

Her powers are supernatural/mystical in origin, but in practice she's a brute force fighter.

You may find the TVTropes page Not Wearing Tights useful.
posted by PercyByssheShelley at 10:46 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Many of the Spartans from Halo are women, including Kat from Reach and the Nicole-458 character from DOA4.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:18 PM on August 18, 2011

I'm going to second Jessica Jones from Alias. I'm not sure catsuits count as "not scantily clad" since they're still designed to titillate. And She-Hulk (with a main character trait of "I like to be naked") and Supergirl ("Miniskirt McTitsALot") are probably not good examples of not-scantily clad superheroines.

Tank Girl is awesome.
posted by schroedinger at 11:19 PM on August 18, 2011

My first thought was also Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Super-hero in jeans and a t-shirt.

Zoe from Firefly is also a kick-ass, fully-clothed heroine, though my favourite female from Firefly is Kaylee, the sweet and brilliant engineer.

Though both come from TV, Buffy is now a comic character.
posted by jb at 11:27 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Some of the girl heroes in Megan Kelso's comic book, Girl Hero, are Animata, Bottlecap, and Yolanda, three superpowered factory workers fomenting revolution against the corporate rulers of a near-future dystopia.

(Link goes to an article on female cartoonists from the 1990's.)

If you can find copies of Girl Hero, it's totally worth a read.
posted by corey flood at 11:34 PM on August 18, 2011

Squirrel Girl is fairly demurely clad, and also accepted by Marvel Comics to be their most powerfull hero
posted by sarastro at 11:44 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

You might want to try Manhunter (secret identity Kate Spencer).
posted by methroach at 12:10 AM on August 19, 2011

Crazy Jane from Morrison's version of Doom Patrol?
posted by Iosephus at 5:35 AM on August 19, 2011

Julie from The Maxx. Jenny Everywhere. Arya Stark!
posted by ifjuly at 5:42 AM on August 19, 2011

In more-or-less descending order of violence:

Tulip O'Hare from Preacher (miniseries)
Tank Girl
Kathy from The Mask (only in a few issues)
The Question/Renee Montoya
Big Barda
Pretty much all the female characters in Runaways
Ramona and Knives from Scott Pilgrim (miniseries)
posted by zombieflanders at 6:32 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding FakePalindrome's recommendation of Warre Ellis/Stuart Immonen's Nextwave. Three kickass female heroes, including the team leader. (All three are excellent, but Elsa Bloodstone owns my heart.) Pic here.

I'm also very partial to Spitfire, whom I met in the pages of Paul Cornell's excellent Captain Britain and MI:13. Super-speed, cut-glass British diction and the courage to match. The series's other heroine, Faiza Hussein, is also fully clothed but less kick-ass and more big-hearted. Captain Britain was cancelled too soon, but that means there are only 3 trade paperbacks to pick up.

On preview: Big Barda for sure!
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:57 AM on August 19, 2011

Sara Pezzini keeps most of her clothes on in the TV series for Witchblade. Her midriff is perpetually bare (except when she was in armor, refreshingly), but it was 2000... I think the Pope was wearing a cropped shirt at that point.

On the other hand, the comic appears to be all about extremely small strategically-placed eensy weensy bits of metal, and huge, improbable bosoms.

(The first season of the TV show is surprisingly good and I recommend it. The second season is disappointing dreck.)
posted by BrashTech at 7:17 AM on August 19, 2011

I can't decide if Christine Spar in Matt Wagner's Devil's Legacy counts as scantily clad or not. There's definitely a sexual element to the Pander Brothers' art, but I'm not sure I'd call it exploitative.

It's maybe not accurate to call Christine a hero, though.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:31 AM on August 19, 2011

The (second) Question from DC's comics is a strong female character who is always modestly clothed.
posted by highfidelity at 7:50 AM on August 19, 2011

Been said above, but here's a bit more about:

1. Alias. It's collected as a large omnibus hardcover and also a set of paperbacks. Brian Michael Bendis created her in the early 00s but she was designed as a character who's "always" been there in Marvel's history. As Alias starts she's an emotionally damaged ex-superhero who's now a private investigator. The series shows you what messed her up so badly and sets her on a path to a better life. It has a short sequel called The Pulse that's a bit more standard superhero fare and then she appears regularly in Bendis's New Avengers.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not much needs to be said, probably. The whole TV series is streaming on Netflix and "season 8" finished as a comic book this year, to be continued in season 9 starting in a few weeks.

3. The Question. She wears a trench coat and fedora. Originally a noir type mystery man, he was replaced by Renee Montoya in 2006 in DC Comics's 52. Montoya was created on Batman the Animated Series as a Gotham City cop and was fleshed out by writer Greg Rucka who revealed her to be gay. She appears in the excellent series Gotham Central by Rucka and Ed Brubaker which is about the Gotham City Police Department. She's one of several minor characters who are the starts of 52 and in that book takes over the identity of The Question. Since then she's been in Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood, Final Crisis Revelations, and in what's collected as The Question: Pipeline. Of those I'd recommend Gotham Central first and then 52.

4. Batwoman. She wears a tight batsuit but I wouldn't call it skimpy. She's also gay and is an ex of The Question. She appeared first in 52 (above) and eventually, once DC got the guts to put a lesbian in a starring role, in Detective Comics, collected in book form as Batwoman: Elegy. She'll star in her own book, Batwoman as part of DC's big relaunch in September. The art of those stories is by J.H. Williams III who's one of the best in the business. Stunning stuff.
posted by davextreme at 9:18 AM on August 19, 2011

If it's not too far afield, Avatar Korra?
posted by marakesh at 11:13 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Battle Angel Alita is a cyborg martial artist who kicks ridiculous amounts of ass and gets hyperviolent at some times. She's all cyborg except for her head, so the worst you usually get is jumpsuits/catsuits or female-shaped armor plated "nudity".

That said, a lot of the secondary female characters get hypersexualized.

On the other hand, by the time you get to the second series ("Last Order") you've got a lot of female characters with fascinating emotional landscapes and serious agency, so I'm willing to go with it.
posted by yeloson at 12:03 AM on August 20, 2011

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