THE WOMAN IN RED
FIRST FEMALE SUPERHERO
THRILLING COMICS #2
Created by writer Richard E. Hughes and artist George Mandel, she first appeared in Thrilling Comics #2 (March 1940), published by Nedor Comics.
The Woman in Red is the secret identity of policewoman Peggy Allen. Frustrated by the limitations of her job, Peggy creates a secret identity. As the Woman in Red, she wears a red, floor-length coat, hood, and mask.
Comics historian Trina Robbins has claimed that the Woman in Red is the first female costumed superhero, preceding such better known characters as Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, and Mary Marvel, though the non-costumed Fantomah (see below) debuted one month earlier in Jungle Comics #2.
While the Woman in Red never made a cover appearance, she continued to appear regularly in issues of Thrilling Comics. Her last Golden Age appearance was in issue #46 (February 1945).
Cover pencils and inks by Will Eisner.
FIRST FEMALE SUPERHERO
(not in a costume, although there is a good case to make that her blue skin is her costume...)
Created by the one and only Fletcher Hanks under the swashbuckling pen name of Barclay Flagg.
It is as deranged as as wonky as one could wish for...
Fantomah's origin is explained in Jungle Comics #27 (March 1942), in which it is revealed that Fantomah is an ancient Egyptian princess, revived to protect the jungle.
Fantomah's heritage gives her many supernatural powers, making her somewhat similar to magical creatures like the Spectre. When Fantomah uses her powers, her normally beautiful face turns into a blue skull (though her curly blonde hair remains unchanged). Later stories play down Fantomah's supernatural powers, and she began to resemble the more popular Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
Fantomah exhibited a large number of magical abilities, generally as required by the story's plot. Among others, she demonstrated the ability to fly, transform objects into different objects,levitate other objects,cause humans to mutate into other forms,and so on. Generally, whenever Fantomah used her powers, she would change her face from a normal human woman to a blue-skinned skull-like visage.
The Woman in Red was later revived by writer Alan Moore for America's Best Comics.
Fantomah made a more recent appearance in Hack/Slash #29-32, with a return appearance in #5 (2011), written by Tim Seeley.