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The Smurfette Principle / Comic Books

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  • When The Avengers started in 1963, The Wasp was the only female of the five original members. All the original members left in 1965, but there was still only one female out of the nine-person team; the Scarlet Witch.
  • The story "The Big Chill" by Alan Moore is centered around the nine immortal beings still alive as the universe draws to an end. Only one of them, a vampire, is female.
  • As of the Flashpoint reboot, Batgirl Barbara Gordon often serves as this in Batfamily stories such as Death of the Family and The Trial of Batwoman. Whilst there are still other female members, stories like these use a six-man group comprised of Batman, the four Robins, and Batgirl. The fact that she's the only woman in the cave or at the table really does stand out. Especially noticeable when compared to the end of the Pre-Flashpoint era, which had several more female heroes involved in Bruce's plans for Batman Inc.
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  • Catstronauts has Pom Pom as the only female member of the team.
  • Heller is the only female in Hunter's Hellcats; although having even one female in a WWII combat unit is highly unusual.
  • Fantastic Four: The Invisible Woman, Sue Storm, is typically the only woman, outside of times where the team benches Ben Grimm for whatever reason and he's replaced by Medusa, She-Hulk, or others. Sue acted as both a Team Mom and Cool Big Sis in the family (the fact she's literally the big sister of Johnny Storm/Human Torch fuels this).
  • The Flash: During the Wally West era, the Flash Family was pretty well-developed and expansive, where besides The Hero Wally/The Modern-Age Flash, there was Old Master Max Mercury, Team Dad Jay Garrick/Golden Age Flash, Annoying Younger Sibling Bart Allen/Impulse, and Jesse Chambers/Jesse Quick, the only girl in the team. Jesse's gender wasn't used to make her distinguished from the others at least, as she was also the only one with a career outside of superheroing, was a Workaholic, acted as a Cool Big Sis, and was a Deadpan Snarker introverted nerd. She was also the only one to have powers outside of Super Speed, as she could also have short bursts of Flight and Super Strength, which compensated for the fact she wasn't quite as fast as Wally.
    • Also somewhat subverted, as while Jesse was the only female speedster in the group, Wally's long-term girlfriend and partner, Linda Park, was often involved in the story too. During Terminal Velocity and Dead Heat, she even acted as the Badass Normal of their group, and she and Jesse developed a decently close friendship.
  • Justice League of America:
    • When the comic started in 1960, Wonder Woman character Diana was the only female member of the seven founders. It took almost a decade before Black Canary character Dinah Drake became the second female member (and that was only after Wonder Woman had resigned; it would take several more years before there was more than one woman on the team).
    • When the team was given a new origin for Post-Crisis with JLA: Year One, made the conscious choice to leave out the Trinity, Wonder Woman was replaced by Black Canary (specifically, Dinah Lance, daughter of the original), but remained the only girl. It was mitigated by the fact the team was smaller, and the fact she was the only woman was explored and deconstructed; Dinah regularly voiced that the boys seem to treat her as a damsel they need to protect, and the fact she's also the youngest and least experienced didn't help with her developing insecurities about her place on the team, not helped by Hal Jordan alternating between hitting on her and making light fun of her.
    • When the comic was rebooted as part of New 52, Cyborg was made founder in order to get racial diversity, but Diana was again as the only woman on the seven-character team.
    • When the comic was adapted to television, Justice League explicitly replaced Hawkman with Hawkgirl in the founding 7 to utilize Two Girls to a Team instead of The Smurfette Principle.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Mina Harker/Murray is the Smurfette in the otherwise all-male League, and chosen to be the League's leader. Alan Moore said he titled it "Gentlemen" to reflect the sexist tendencies of Victorian times.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes storyline The Great Darkness Saga has Darkseid's Servants of Darkness. Five members, and only one of them is female.
  • Platinum was the only female member of the six Metal Men. Tin later created Nameless, who didn't really do much other than act as his girlfriend. Right before the Cerebus Syndrome Retool, Doc Magnus created Distaff Counterparts of the team, but they were one-off characters. The team finally gained a bona-fide second female member, Copper, in 2007.
  • The Newsboy Legion of DC Comics has gone through several iterations but only includes one girl, Roberta "Bobby" Harper, the grand-niece of the original Guardian (Jim Harper) and the legal ward of his modern clone. She's also second cousin to Roy Harper (Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal).
  • In Scott Pilgrim, one of Ramona's 7 Evil Exes is actually a girl. Justified by the fact Ramona is mostly heterosexual and only became bisexual during her "phase", so it's actually a surprise the group even includes a girl to begin with.
  • The Trope Namer comes from The Smurfs.
    • Peyo (their creator) caught some flak by admitting Smurfette was not intended to be a real heroic character at all, describing her in mostly childish ways. Originally, the Smurfs were all male (or possibly asexual). One cartoon explained that smurfs did not reproduce the way most creatures did; a stork magically delivered them as infants on nights when there was a blue moon. Thus, gender was a moot point. Smurfette's Origin Story was shown in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon show. She was created by Gargamel to disrupt the lives of the Smurfs. (However, in the conclusion of that origin story, she rescued them single-handedly.)
    • Later, another female Smurf, the younger and more tomboyish Sassette, was created by similar means as Smurfette, except "less clay" seems to equal "younger". She is usually accompanied by three boy smurfs of roughly the same "age", and the four are collectively reffered to as "Smurflings".
    • The penultimate season added Nanny Smurf, who confusingly seems to have been a natural female Smurf, from Papa Smurf and Grandpa Smurf's generation.
    • The second movie expands Smurfette's story, claiming that Smurfette was originally something called a "Naughty" before Papa Smurf's spell, created as a Distaff Counterpart of Smurfs in general (not truly evil, but incredibly mischievous). In the actual movie, Gargamel creates two more of these creatures named Vexy and Hackus - one male, one female - in order to discover how to use Papa Smurf's spell to turn them into true Smurfs. Gargamel's actual goal is to use a device to extract "smurf essence" from not only the real Smurfs, but from Vexy and Hackus as well once the spell is cast, considering them Unwitting Pawns. The two eventually turn against him and are taken in by the actual Smurfs.
  • Supergirl: In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, out of all imps gunning for making the titular heroine's life miserable, Ms. Bigglestone is the only female.
  • In the first incarnation of the Teen Titans there wasn't even one. They were looking for a token girl and they saw that a character called "Wonder Girl" had already been published (under the Protagonist Title Wonder Girl), so they decided to use her. Somehow they (not to mention their editors!) missed the fact that "Wonder Girl" was actually just Diana as a teenager for something like four or five years real time. She was finally given the first of way too many origin stories in an attempt to fix this mistake. And thus began a grand and glorious tradition of no one having any idea who she is or where she came from.
  • The only woman in Tintin who has any major parts is Bianca Castafiore, and she only appears in six out of 23 books. Herge states the Titin was a boy's adventure series, thus leading to the lack of females.
  • Silk Spectre II from Watchmen is the only female super-hero of the second generation, while the WWII era group originally had two female members (Silk Spectre I and The Silhouette), but the latter was kicked out when it became known she was a lesbian. (As at least two males were known among the same group to be closeted homosexuals, the commentary on sexism is definitely intentional.)
  • X-Men
    • The launch in 1963 had Jean Grey as the only female member.
    • Polaris, the second female to join the team, didn't join until 1969, although she has had a sporadic history with the team.
    • When the "New X-Men" started in 1975, Storm was the only female member. Since Chris Claremont was writing, she wasn't alone for long.
    • Eventually, the X-Men became quite possibly the heaviest aversion of this trope in the entire genre. At some points in their history, female characters actually outnumbered the males.
    • The original incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants had Scarlet Witch as its only female member.
  • Invoked in Youngblood: Judgment Day, where Glory is keen to the idea of re-forming the Allies of Justice because she enjoys being the only woman in a team of men — it's implied that it makes her feel like she's the one in charge.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • The original line-up of The Ultimates is the same one of the Avengers, mentioned above. But she was not alone for long, as Black Widow and Scarlet Witch joined after the first arc.
    • Monica Chang was the only woman on the Avengers/Ultimates team after the Red Wasp left and before Giant Woman (Cassie Lang) joined.
    • Ultimate FF: Sue is the only woman of the team. At one point, when Tony and Sam are unconcious and she's the only one still standing, she thinks that she should have organized an Amazon Brigade instead.


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