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Teen scientist finds more comic book heroines are ‘super’

Teen finds more graphic heroines are super Student Science


All over the Internet, you can find articles explaining the physics behind Thor’s hammer or what real-life X-Men might be like. But one teen scientist decided to apply science to comics. Her research probed how women are portrayed in comics. And over time, women in the Marvel comic books are more often portrayed as equal to men, she now demonstrates.

Katherine Murphy, 17, showed off her findings at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a competition created by Society for Science & the Public and sponsored by Intel. 


The maximum score that any one comic could earn was 35. After reading 788 comics from 68 different Marvel titles, Katherine showed that over time, women have become more powerful, are involved in more important issues and get more cover art. While the average score in the 1960s was 12.2, by 2014 it had nearly doubled to 22.5.

Katherine hypothesizes that one reason those scores might be rising could have to do with who is developing and reading these books. “Marvel has more women writing for it, more women drawing for it and more women reading [comics],” she explains. Female readers want to see women represented equally, the teen says, so comics publishers have been delivering that.   

Stashed in: Women, Heroes!, Marvel!

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22.5 out of 35 means there's still room for improvement. 

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