This is a cruel question! I don’t have any favorites (except a certain Amazon princess), but here are five that spring to mind:
5. Venus — This was a truly weird series published by Marvel back when it was Timely or Atlas Comics. Venus was a goddess of love who got bored of ruling her own planet, so she came to Earth and got a job at a fashion magazine. As the series went on, the stories got progressively darker until it completely transformed from a light romance-comedy book to a full-fledged horror-fantasy book. It only lasted about 19 issues but it was weird and wonderful.
4. Ma Hunkel, the original Red Tornado — Credited by many as the first female superhero — though that’s debatable — Ma Hunkel was a heavyset loudmouth middle-aged mother of two who put a pot on her head and gave the bad guys what-for.
3. Futura — Longtime followers might recall when I posted Futura every Friday for several months. She was the star of an epic space-travelling odyssey in Planet Comics in the late 1940s — starting off as a cheesecakey victim but quickly evolving into a fierce, take-no-prisoners, civilization-toppling warrior, gaining her own freedom and freeing several others to boot.
2. Lois Lane — It would be a while before this badass came into her own, and the ’50s and ’60s were definitely not kind to her. But in the beginning she was a regular “His Girl Friday” — plucky, confident, competent, news-driven. Just look at all the fucks she gives on her first date with Clark Kent:
1. Wonder Woman — There is simply no other Golden Age comic book that is as consistently imaginative, bizarre, empowering and all-around delightful as William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter’s Wonder Woman. Space kangaroos! Purple healing rays! Mental radios! Lost civilizations! War laugh mania! Amazon reform prison! Practically every issue is mind-blowing, and designed to be empowering for young girls to boot — and in the 1940s no less! (Sure, Marston had his bondage fetish, but even that was rooted in a logic of empowerment.) THERE IS NOTHING BETTER IN COMICS I’M SORRY.