“As we move into an era in which women are finally beginning to lead their own comic book movies more frequently, there can be no better time to examine the curious gem that is Barbarella. Seen today as a somewhat kitschy cult movie, in its time, Barbarella: Queen Of The Galaxy was something very different indeed.
To truly appreciate 1968’s Barbarella, we must first look at its context. It is based upon the French comic book of the same name, written by Jean-Claude Forest, which was published from 1962 to 1964. It centres on the titular heroine, who travels through space, having futuristic adventures. But, timing is everything, and Barbarella is a fascinating example of the way in which comic books are reflections of the era in which they were created.
If Wonder Woman and Captain America are heroes borne of World War II, Iron Man is a reflection of Cold War anxiety, and The Incredible Hulk is a reflection of concerns about the dawn of the nuclear age, then Barbarella is all about the sexual revolution. This is reflected within the pages of her comic book and, when we allow this context to inform the viewing of the movie adaptation in question, Barbarella becomes a fascinating and immediate depiction of the way in which the then new attitudes toward female sexuality clashed with the old…”