I think our professor may have mentioned this site in passing earlier this term, but anyways, here is a character list of women in comics that have been either killed, raped, as well as other ways in which a character may have been marginalized/and or villanized. Interestingly enough, when women in comics come back to life they often do not enjoy the same strengths they once had. There is a response on the website titled Dead Men Defrosting which talks about how many men in comics have died as well but they are more likely to come back to life and enjoy a full recovery (i.e. Batman recovering fully from a broken back) http://lby3.com/wir/women.html
It should be noted that the site acknowledges that not all women in comic books have been subjected to abuse, turned evil or killed. This website also includes some interesting responses including this one which I think is neat: http://lby3.com/wir/r-jmace.html
What I find interesting about this trope is that it reveals plot development that may be reliant on violence against women. This list represents something more than the classic damsel in distress storyline and illustrations portraying women as hypersexualized objects because it represents not only heinous acts of violence against women but also includes how sometimes characters abilities may be hindered from an accident which leaves the adjacent men in the comic stronger.
Comics Bulletin suggests that women have been used as exclamation points in comics. This may be best represented in Gwen Stacy’s death in The Amazing Spiderman #121-122. As a lot of you are probably familiar with, The Green Goblin throws Gwen Stacy (Peter Parker’s girlfriend) off of a bridge, Spiderman catches her with his web but she dies from whiplash. Her death seems to be unnecessary. Although this example isn’t an obvious sign of abuse it does represent how women in comics can be treated as very much a peripheral object in a plot. Stacy’s death is used as a plot tool to motivate the protagonist.
Another supporting character with no super powers could be Karen Page from Daredevil. She is saved by Matt Murdoch (Daredevil) after being addicted to porn and heroin. Eventually she leaves him (again) because she feels she is too dependent on him, however, she is tricked into believing she has HIV (by Mysterio), returns to Murdoch to reveal her ‘disease’ and is killed by Bullseye during a battle between the Daredevil and Bullseye. All in all this character was villanized in several ways leading up to her death, most notably when she sells the Daredevils identity to a villain in order to acquire heroin.
Ms. Marvel provides an example in which a superhero is completely marginalized by this trope. She is raped by Marcus Danvers through mind control in the Avengers #200, impregnated and eventually decides to move away and live with this man. Ms. Marvel was considered to be a strong and independent character prior to this issue, yet not only did she lose these qualities, but the writing facilitated such a shift because other Avengers remain idle.
I am actually not familiar with many of the characters on the list although I would like to hear any other input… The author of the site also suggests that the widespread abuse of women in comics has slowed down since people started talking about this trope.