DC has a long and storied history of sensational female heroes. From Golden Age icons like Ma Hunkel—the publisher's first female superhero—and Wonder Woman to Silver Age creations like Barbara Gordon and Black Canary, all the way through Bronze Age stars like Nubia and Vixen. Basically, being a badass woman is nothing new to the pages of DC Comics. But in 2003, something new did emerge as Gail Simone took over Birds of Prey title with issue #56. The first woman to write the heroic all-woman team, Simone's run has become a true fan fave in the twenty years since it debuted. This Women's History Month, we're looking back at the bombastic book, its powerful roster and why Simone's time on Birds of Prey is still so beloved.

Superhero team-ups are one of the most exciting things about reading cape comics, but before Birds of Prey, readers had struggled to find partnerships focused on female heroes. The series' original pairing of Dinah Lance's Black Canary and Barbara Gordon's Oracle was a powerful one. But when writer Simone took over alongside artist Ed Benes, the pair introduced Huntress to the team—following the lead of the recent TV series of the same name—cementing the Birds of Prey in the annals of DC Comics history.

From their very first issue, Benes and Simone brought a slick, sassy sexiness to the trio, with Benes’ larger-than-life art feeling more like the best of DC's animated offerings than the DC comic book house style at the time. Simone matched Benes’ vision at every turn with quippy, quotable dialogue that's just as aware of optics and the female lens as its fishnet-legged heroines are.

Throughout her fifty-plus issues on the book, Simone introduced multiple team members, most famously crafting a foursome out of her original trio when she brought Lady Blackhawk into the fold. Other memorable additions include Big Barda—who doesn't love to see more of the New God?—and Simone's most well-known co-creation, Misfit. The characters hint at the kind of fun-filled take on superheroics that Birds of Prey offers. While there's darkness and violence aplenty, there's also bonding, banter and friendship. It's that heart and character that always shines through making Birds of Prey feel different from many of its contemporaries.

Though the book is filled with vibrant women, it would take thirty issues for a woman to join Simone as penciller, with the addition of Adriana Melo for a fun short story. Her playful style was a perfect fit for Simone's well-rounded representation of female friendship and street level heroics. The issue showcases the talents of the creative team with a delightfully fun party that saw the Birds come together to celebrate an important birthday. There was another treat for Birds of Prey fans in that monumental issue, as Batman: The Animated Series icon Bruce Timm jumped on for a dynamic short story that brought his unique stylings to the super-powered trio.

It wasn't until Simone’s final issues that the book would pick up its first regular female artist, as Nicola Scott came onboard to draw the last nine issues of Simone's run, starting with the landmark Birds of Prey #100. The artistic team-up would come to be seen as one of two defining Birds of Prey collaborations along with Simone and Benes' original take on the girls.

Birds of Prey didn't just cement the team as DC stalwarts, but also made Simone into a comic book superstar. She would go on to write massive titles like Action Comics and Wonder Woman before returning to Barbara Gordon in her self-titled New 52 Batgirl series. One of the most well-known contemporary comics writers outside of the stories that she's written, Simone's sense of humor, accessibility and advocacy for the medium have made her a force for change and good within the industry.

So, if you're looking for a great book to read this Women's History Month—or any month—there's never been a better time to revisit Simone's time on Birds of Prey.

You can read Gail Simone's Birds of Prey in its entirely on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE now.

Rosie Knight is an award-winning journalist and author who loves Swamp Thing, the DC Cosmic and writing about those and more here at DC.com. You can listen to her waxing lyrical about comics, movies and more each week as she co-hosts Crooked Media's pop-culture podcast, X-Ray Vision.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Rosie Knight and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.