1 of 2
Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel, Francois Duhamel
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.

Thanks to mega-hits like “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3” — a pair of films that together grossed more than $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales — American cinema is in the midst of a historically successful run of comic-book adaptations.

But despite such stratospheric success, studio executives remain reluctant to green-light comic-book adaptations in which the protagonist is female.

“It's a golden era of superhero films where ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ can rule the box office for weeks and months,” Brian Truitt wrote Monday for USA Today. “Yet while many of these movies feature women from comics in significant and integral roles — Scarlett Johansson's Russian spy Black Widow in ‘Avengers’ and … Anne Hathaway's antiheroic Catwoman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ — flicks centered on superheroines are nowhere to be found.”

Any objective conversation about which female superhero deserves her own movie would necessarily include Wonder Woman; earlier this month foxnews.com asked, “Why doesn’t Hollywood want a Wonder Woman film?”

“The instantly recognizable red, white and blue costume-donning brunette remains one of the most successful comic characters of all time,” Hollie McKay reported for Fox News. “Not only did Wonder Woman manage to survive the superhero crash of the 1950’s when many comics went belly up, she still manages to sell more than $1 million a year in comic book sales, and ranks within the top 30 titles per month. So what gives? … Some say it’s misogyny that is stopping her release, others claim it's laziness, but DC Comics writer Grant Morrison said people ‘have just convinced themselves’ that she’s too hard to develop.”

In a sidebar to his main story for USA Today about the disparity in superhero gender on the silver screen, Truitt wrote about “Agent Carter” — a 15-minute mini-film attached to the Blu Ray/DVD release of “Iron Man 3” in which one of the supporting female characters from “Captain America: The First Avenger” gets her chance to take center stage.

1 comment on this story

“British actress Hayley Atwell's role as the World War II-era government agent and love interest (Peggy Carter) in 2011's ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ didn't allow for many fight scenes,” Truitt reported. “But she is definitely a woman of action in ‘Agent Carter.’ … Peggy breaks the glass ceiling on the job, and the character does the same in the world of superheroes. While Marvel has been proactive in creating key female characters for its big-screen world — most notably Scarlett Johansson's Avengers super-spy Black Widow — ‘Agent Carter’ showcases one who takes the lead of a story.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com